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SEMA Council & Network News: TORA Member Spotlight – SNUGTOP

Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO)
Manufacturers' Rep Network (MRN)
Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) Professional Restylers Organization (PRO)
Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN)
Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) Wheel & Tire Council (WTC)
Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Young Executives Network (YEN)

Strengthen Your Company Through Community

No matter what niche you're in—rods, restoration, racing, restyling, reps, trucks or wheels and tires—there's a SEMA council or professional network that's right for your company. SEMA councils and networks offer members a variety of niche-specific programs and activities designed to provide educational and networking opportunities while promoting their particular market segment.

Visit TORA's website. 
SNUGTOP manufactures truck caps and tonneau covers for consumers, truck enthusiasts and businesses in the United States and worldwide.

TORA Member Spotlight – SNUGTOP

Harmut Schroeder, president, SNUGTOP, based in Long Beach, California, shared some information about the company, and how it benefits from TORA membership.

What does your company do?

SNUGTOP manufactures truck caps and tonneau covers for consumers, truck enthusiasts and businesses in the United States and worldwide.

How many years have you been in business?

The company has been in business for 55 years, and I have been in the truck cap business for 25 years.

What is your company history?

The company was founded in 1959 and was originally called the Custom Fiberglass Manufacturing Company. The company started out building hardtops for European sports cars. SNUGTOP has become one of the leading manufacturers of truck caps and tonneau covers and is one of the oldest manufacturers in the industry.

How many employees does your company have?


Why are you an TORA member?

We were initially a member of the Truck Cap Industry Alliance (TCIA), then the Truck Cap & Accessory Alliance (TCAA) and joined TORA in 2000. SNUGTOP joined with a desire to support the industry through membership, board involvement and leadership. TORA’s emphasis on educating its members and communicating industry trends and innovations are some of the many noteworthy causes that make membership valuable.

Anything exciting you see happening in the truck market?

I’ve seen a resurgence of the pickup truck the last couple of years and it’s exciting to see GM, Toyota, Dodge and Ford introduce new pickups to the market. That is great news for accessory dealers, restylers and manufacturers, and will offer many opportunities for growth and profits.

Nominations Open for Truck and Off-Road Alliance Select Committee

By Amanda Gubbins

Nominations for the Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) Select Committee are currently open. SEMA members can nominate themselves or another individual to fill an open seat. As professionals in the diesel, Jeep, lowered, raised and off-road categories, these volunteers know the pulse of the industry and are well-equipped to guide the direction of the council to offer value to the entire membership.

Having served in many capacities during his time as a SEMA volunteer, George Lathouris of Keystone Automotive Operations has a great deal of experience and advice to share with those considering taking that next step of running for a seat. Lathouris ran for a seat when other members who had served on the Select Committee extended a personal invitation.

“My decision to become involved came from a desire to give back to an industry that has given so much to me,” Lathouris recalled.

Lathouris led several task forces focused on industry events, communications and providing resources for lift kit laws and truck bed measurements before becoming chair of the council from 2011–2012. Through his years of experience, Lathouris continued to grow as a professional. He was also honored as SEMA’s 2013 Person of the Year.

“It is so humbling; I can’t begin to tell you what it means. I just describe it as surreal. I guess I did some of the right things by the industry—trying to get people involved at whatever level they could, coaching, sharing business experience. I always tried to teach others how to approach business and live with integrity, because it’s not always as much about making the next deal as it is about doing the right thing.”

Lathouris encourages anyone who is hesitant to take that next step, “If you are looking to give back and get something in return, this is a great place to do that. If you want to do a little bit more and make connections, it’s the best place to start.”

He also counsels new volunteers to be patient in their efforts, “Rome wasn’t built in a day and little things do matter, even if they seem like small tasks. Great things happen over time.”

Members who would like to run for a Select Committee seat or suggest another individual can submit nominations online. All nominees must be employees of SEMA-member companies that belong to the council. Nominations must be received by 5:00 p.m. (PDT), Friday, March 21, 2014.

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Visit ARMO's website.

Restoration Parts Registration Open for Hot Products Showcase

Registration is now open for the Automotive Restoration Market Organization’s (ARMO) Hot Products Showcase, which will take place April 23–26, 2014, at Spring Carlisle in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

This event is an opportunity for council members to display one or more products in front of one of the single-largest gatherings of automotive restoration enthusiasts in the world.

In addition to having products on display in the Hot Products tent, a professional photographer will photograph each one. The photos will be available to manufacturers and will also be used in a slideshow at the ARMO booth and reception at the SEMA Show. A gallery on the ARMO webpage also houses each of the photos, along with a product description for those unable to attend the event. This publicity is available to ARMO members for only the cost of shipping the product entries to the Carlisle Fairgrounds.

Product entries must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be the product of an ARMO member-company.
  • Must be available for sale (market-ready) by the opening of the Showcase, April 23.
  • Must demonstrate unique/innovative technology and/or be a benefit to the restoration industry.

Members can register products by filling out the online application. All applications must be received by April 18, 2014. Not an ARMO member? Join today to gain access to this event and other council benefits.

Restoration Professionals Gather for Networking at the Hot Products Showcase

ARMO will host a networking mixer in the Hot Products Tent at the Showcase, Thursday, April 24, from 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. The mixer will be a chance for members to grab a drink and spend some time interacting one-on-one with council leadership and fellow ARMO members. The council leadership believes this event holds enormous potential for new ideas and partnerships to be formed as members network with new and old industry friends. RSVP to save your spot.

Make Your Voice Heard at the ARMO Industry Discussion

This year, the council will also hold an industry discussion, Friday, April 25, from 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. at the Hot Products Tent. The session will allow members and others interested in joining the council to voice their concerns, ask questions and offer input to the group. For members who would like to be a part of shaping future projects and events, this will be a chance to make their voices heard. Send in your RSVP today.

For more information about any of these events, contact Council Director Jim Skelly.

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Visit YEN's website  
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SEMA’s Young Executives Network (YEN) will send 10 network members on the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour this summer.

SEMA Takes 10 Young Executives on the Hot Rod Power Tour

By Lindsay Hubley

SEMA’s Young Executives Network (YEN) will send 10 network members on the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour this summer as ambassadors for the industry and the network. These YENsters will represent different niches in the specialty-equipment market as they interact with tour attendees and visit schools along the seven-city, seven-day journey to share about their careers with the next generation of industry executives. The participants will also take the tour online through the YEN Facebook page, Twitter and other social media outlets.

With a dedication for cultivating young talent in the industry, YEN provides educational and networking opportunities for employees of SEMA-member companies who are under the age of 40. The Hot Rod Power Tour attracts more than 5,000 vehicles. YEN’s leadership believes the Power Tour is a way to engage these professionals and create consumer awareness by educating young enthusiasts about the diversity of the industry, and highlighting the variety of automotive career paths available in the specialty-equipment market.

"The YEN Power Tour is about more than hitting the road in your musclecar or hot rod; it's about forging relationships and making connections,” said YEN Chair Dan Kahn. “There are literally thousands of job opportunities in the automotive aftermarket for young people across the nation—we want to tell that story and show that in our high-performance family, young people aren't afraid to get their hands dirty."

Participants in the YEN Power Tour will be awarded a prize package, including hotel accommodations for the trip, airfare, complimentary meals, a gas allowance, an iON Air Pro Wi-Fi Lite, free entry into the tour, gifts from the tour and sponsors, premier parking at each stop and a variety of SEMA swag items.

Learn more and apply today to join the YEN Power Tour as a participant. Applications will be accepted through April 11, 2014. All members of YEN are eligible to apply. Not yet a member? Join today.

YEN members are invited to register their musclecars for the Street Machine and Muscle Car Nationals in Pomona, California.
Young Executives Invited to Participate in the Street Machine and Muscle Car Nationals

By SEMA Editors

Young executives in the specialty-equipment market are invited to register their musclecars for the Street Machine and Muscle Car Nationals, and the first 25 applicants can receive free admission for themselves, their vehicle and a guest.

The event will take place March 22–23, 2014, at Fairplex in Pomona, California, and will feature a collection of high-performance musclecars, pro-touring cars and street machines for a weekend of festivities focused on vintage vehicles.

At the event, participants will be able to take a spin in their own musclecars on the Autocross timed obstacle course, enjoy cruising lanes, smoke tires in the burnout contests and more. Participants will be required to place their vehicle in the designated outdoor “YEN Corral” both days for the duration of the event; however, vehicles will not be required to remain on the grounds overnight.

Showgoers will enjoy a Miss Street Machine Nationals Contest, pro car builders, seeing their custom creations on display, live music and games, products, demos and displays in the Performance Midway. The weekend will give members of SEMA’s Young Executives Network (YEN) an opportunity to meet and network in a relaxed and fun environment.

Applicants must be YEN members for consideration. The network is free for employees of SEMA-member companies who are under the age of 40. If you have not yet joined the network, sign up today before sending in your application.

For additional information about this event, visit or contact Bryan Harrison, senior manager of networks.

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