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SEMA Council & Network News: Meet YEN's 2014 Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour Participants

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.

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Introducing YEN's 2014 Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour Participants

By Amanda Gubbins

From June 6–13, 2014, 10 Young Executives Network (YEN) members will embark on the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour to promote the network and highlight the variety of career choices available to young professionals in the specialty-equipment market. Five of these individuals will drive their own vehicles on the tour, and all are young leaders to watch. A brief introduction to each participant is below, with more information on the YEN Power Tour homepage.

Amy Fitzgerald

Amy Fitzgerald – Co-owner, Cool Hand Customs

Amy Fitzgerald’s lifelong passion for cars has helped her business expand from working on motorcycles to managing a broad range of projects on new and vintage automobiles and trucks in their fullsize shop and showroom in Middleton, Wisconsin. In the world of custom vehicles, she is used to being one of the only women in the room, but that doesn’t bother her at all. Fitzgerald’s ’57 Chevy Bel Air will be one of the five YEN vehicles on the Power Tour.

Ian Lehn

Ian Lehn – President, BOOSTane

A lifelong gearhead, Ian Lehn has been around cars, boats and engines since the time he could walk. During his final year in school, Lehn recognized problems associated with high-performance engines. It was here that he saw an opportunity. Through months of research and development, the concept of an affordable alternative to racing fuel finally took shape. Since then, BOOSTane has undergone seven years of formulation and testing in engines of all types.

Scott Lowe

Scott Lowe – President, High Xpectations

Scott Lowe has been involved in SEMA since 1999 and a YEN member since 2001. Together with a close group of friends, Lowe started High Xpectations in 1998 in the Metro Detroit area and relocated to Los Angeles five years ago to expand the business. He looks forward to contributing his time to help raise awareness for the Power Tour, SEMA and YEN, as well as creating many wonderful memories with newfound friends along the way.

Paul Makarucha

Paul Makarucha – Marketing Engineer, Blipshift

An auto enthusiast since birth, Paul Makarucha has been wrenching on anything he can get his hands on for as long as he can remember. He didn’t find his way into a kart until well past the prime age of skills development. Nonetheless, Makarucha found a way into motorsports by various other means. Last year, he stumbled upon an ad for a new automotive T-shirt company——which was seeking a marketing professional. He still drives shifter karts competitively and all sorts of fast-moving track toys whenever he can.

Brit Mansell

Brit Mansell – Director of E-Commerce, COMP Performance Group; "Chief Thinkerupper," Octane Media

Brit Mansell has been able to maintain a lifelong connection to motorsports while growing his passion for the art of selling and marketing through the Internet. Still competing as an off-road racer, Mansell has the unique ability to immediately make a connection with most motorsports/performance enthusiasts as well as the ability to speak both the technical side of the Internet and the business side. He’s looking forward to driving his ’07 Corvette Z06 on the tour.

Jonathan Mill

Jonathan Mill – Co-founder, E-Stopp Corp.

Jonathan Mill is the co-founder of E-Stopp Corp.—a company that makes innovative parking brake solutions for vehicles. Mill is currently developing new products, launching new brands and making guest appearances on TV channels, such as the Discovery Channel and Fox Sports 1. Mill will drive his ’35 Ford pickup on the tour route.

Michelle Perez

Michelle “Missy” Perez – Assistant Service Manager, Topline

Growing up, Michelle Perez’s father always had an old car in the garage. Her first car was a ’67 Mustang, which is still her daily driver and will make an appearance on the Power Tour. She and her father have been working on it for nearly 12 years, taking it down to bare metal, fixing the bodywork, priming and working on the mechanical side. Perez’s ultimate dream is to own an auto body shop with her father.

Dylan Sievers

Dylan Sievers – R&D Manager, Bulldog LED Lighting

At 17 years old, Dylan Sievers founded Bulldog LED Lighting—an off-road LED lighting manufacturer that makes its products in the United States. Sievers was attending Junipero Serra High School at the time and racing in the Best in the Desert Series. He has continued to build the company over the last three years and is excited to take his ’14 Ford F-350 on the tour.

Kirstin Stone

Kirstin Stone – National Sales/Marketing Manager, Turbosmart USA

Kirstin Stone has been working in the automotive aftermarket for four years since graduating from college. While she personally prefers drag racing, Stone is an all-around boost enthusiast with a passion for social media marketing and performance aftermarket sales. She is grateful for the opportunity to promote and recognize SEMA’s contributions to both the aftermarket, and the changing face of automotive legislation.

Jerid Suchy

Jerid Suchy – Western Regional Sales Manager, PRW Industries Inc.

Jerid Suchy has been working at PRW Industries as the western regional sales manager for the past two years. Although this is his first position in the automotive aftermarket industry, he has been immersed in the culture from a very young age. He started racing karts at local Southern California tracks at 7 years old, and eventually moved up to racing a sport modified in the circle track circuit. Aside from racing, he has restored several cars with his dad, including a ’66 Mustang Fastback and a ’77 Chevrolet K10.

Meet these ambassadors in person at each of YEN’s networking events along the tour route, and follow their journey on YEN’s Facebook page.

Launch Pad Competition Offers Winner Free SEMA Show Booth

By Bryan Harrison

After the success of last year’s Launch Pad competition, SEMA has announced that it will return for a second year.

This competition offers innovators under the age of 40 an industry platform to showcase their business for marketing a new automotive product or service.

Industrywide Awareness

The top 10 competitors will vie for the most votes on SEMA’s official Facebook/YouTube voting platform. The top five will receive an invitation to pitch their businesses in front of an industry-packed crowd during a live event at the SEMA Show.

Tools to Fuel Your Biz

The winner’s prize package will include a 10x10 booth at the 2015 SEMA Show, a one-page ad in SEMA News, an ad in Hot Rod magazine or 4-Wheel & Off Road magazine, a rep consultation with the Manufacturers’ Representative Network (MRN), public relations and social media consultation from Kahn Media, an event-level sponsorship package to either a Family Events truck and off-road group property or a Family Events performance car group property and much more.

Access to Decision Makers

This year’s event will feature another judging panel composed of industry experts who will offer coaching and advice to the contestants. Returning from the 2013 event will be Doug Evans, executive vice president and group publisher at Source Interlink Media, and SEMA’s chairman-elect of the Board, and Ron Coleman, president and CEO of COMP Performance Group. Joining them will be Tracie Nunez, president of the Performance Warehouse Association (PWA); Todd Ballard, director of sports marketing at GoPro; and Glenn Rogers, partner at Beyond Marketing.

Interested? It’s time to launch the next young automotive entrepreneur. For more information and to fill out an application, visit If you have questions, please contact Bryan Harrison at

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Brainstorm Solutions to Your Pressing Business Challenges

By Amanda Gubbins

Leaders of the light-truck, off-road, Jeep, diesel and SUV industries will meet July 16 for an industry discussion and TORA Long-Range Planning meeting. Members of the council and those who are interested in learning more about the benefits it offers are invited to attend from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

The meeting will take place at the SEMA Garage–Industry Innovations Center in Diamond Bar, California. Attendees will spend time discussing issues they face in their business, and developing strategies that SEMA and the TORA can use to address them. For member companies, participating is a chance to let the association know in person what challenges their businesses face, and to be a part of the solutions. Lunch will be served with an opportunity to network with members of the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO).

For those who can’t make the trip to Southern California, sessions can be attended through web meeting services and teleconference lines.

Register today to save your seat. To learn more about the event, contact Clayton Drescher at 909-978-6696.

TORA to Host Media Preview at the 2014 SEMA Show

By SEMA Editors

TORA will host a Media Preview for a limited number of manufacturer members at the 2014 SEMA Show. Participants will have the opportunity to meet with a wide variety of truck and off-road editors and writers in a designated area, Monday, November 3, from 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

These focused meetings ensure that editors and reporters can ask their most pressing questions and photograph new products while manufacturers give the full story.

By participating just before the start of the SEMA Show, media members gain an early scoop on the latest products, and manufacturers have quality time with editors and reporters without sacrificing valuable floor time with customers. Participating manufacturers will be provided with various media training resources through the SEMA Education Institute to help them prepare and maximize their meetings. To give manufacturers the best chance for success, participants will be asked to meet media kit production milestones.

To be considered for participation in the 2014 TORA Media Preview, your company’s application must be received by 5:00 p.m. (PDT), Friday, May 30, 2014. Review the rules and regulations and apply today.

Not yet an TORA member? Join today to become eligible for the 2014 Media Preview.

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Planning the Future of the Restyling and Accessory Business

By Clayton Drescher

On July 16, 2014, leaders of the restyling and accessory world will converge at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California. Join the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) as they hold their Long-Range Planning meeting and industry discussion. The SEMA Garage–Industry Innovations Center will play host as leading manufacturers, WDs, installers and restyling professionals discuss the future of the industry and develop strategies that SEMA and the PRO Select Committee will use in addressing the challenges and opportunities confronting your business.

Your insight and perspective is critical. Whether your business has been impacted by new trends in auto sales and discretionary spending, vehicle technology, installation concerns or if there is a need to identify markets for expansion, your business will benefit by being in the room when these and other topics are discussed.

The meeting is open to all employees of PRO-member companies, as well as those interested in joining PRO. The day will include a joint networking luncheon with members of the Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) council.

Traveling from out of town? Contact us for quality hotel options in the area. Not able to attend but want to stay involved? Consider attending the sessions through our web meeting services and teleconference lines.

Register online today. For more information about the meeting, contact Clayton Drescher at 909-978-6696.

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Select Committee Slate Released

By Gigi Ho

The SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN) is one of 10 distinct councils and networks that serve to represent focused niches within the specialty-equipment industry. These groups are comprised of elected volunteers—Select Committees—who guide and direct activities while representing the membership at large. Although each council and network acts independently and represents a different segment, they are all focused on the betterment of the industry as a whole.

The mission of SBN is to provide networking, education and recognition opportunities for professional women in the automotive specialty-equipment industry to enhance their careers and positively impact the growth of the entire industry. Each of the elected volunteers are trusted to direct SEMA’s resources toward this goal and to raise awareness about the benefits and opportunities that help individuals succeed and prosper.

The following candidates are running for five open seats:

  • Leslie Allen – PR Manager, The Marx Group
  • JoAnn Bortles – Owner, Crazy Horse Custom Paint
  • Camee Edelbrock – Director of Marketing, ProMedia, LLC
  • Miranda Fuller – Marketing Director, Rigid Industries LED Lighting
  • Jenna Jefferies – National Account Manager, K&N Engineering
  • Julia Johnson – Professor of Automotive Technology, Skyline College
  • Kristy Neukam – Human Resources Director, Meyer Distributing
  • Jacqueline Parral – Account Executive, The Promotion Co. (Family Events)
  • Marlena Solomon – Communications Specialist, Royal Purple LLC

The candidates are invited to introduce themselves on the SBN Facebook page.