People Places & Racing News

Council & Network News: Connect With Hot Rodders at HRIA’s General Membership Meetings

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 market-specific programs and activities designed to provide educational and networking opportunities while promoting their particular industry segment.

Visit HRIA's website

Connect with Hot Rodders at HRIA’s General Membership Meetings

The Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) will hold two open general membership meetings in July. These events give HRIA members the chance to connect with each other, meet the council leadership and learn more about industry developments. Included on the agenda for both meetings is the presentation of the HRIA Annual Report and a discussion about the state and direction of the hot-rod industry. Attendees will share and hear from other members about strategies for the future.

Council members and those interested in exploring group membership are invited to attend one of the following:

Thursday, July 9, 2015
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
18th Annual Goodguys PPG Nationals
Ohio Expo Center, Celeste Building
Columbus, Ohio
Visit for more information.
Register now.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
NSRA National Street Rod Nationals
Louisville, Kentucky Fairgrounds
Visit for more information.
Register now.

For more information, contact Council Director Jim Skelly.

Back to Top

Visit TORA's website.  

TORA Member Spotlight – AAM USA

David Brashears, director of marketing, Automotive Accessories Marketing USA (AAM), recently talked about his company and the value he sees in Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) membership.

What does your company do?

We are a program distribution group that provides retail-level marketing to customers of our group of wholesale distributors.

How many years have you been in business?


What is your company's history?

AAM was organized by a group of performance wholesale distributors as a way to be more competitive regionally with national distributors. The founders recognized the need for retail marketing and knew that by working together, they’d be able to provide top-quality marketing tools at a cost retailers could afford. They named the program Parts Pro Performance Centers and today have marketing programs available to independent speed shops, engine builders, installers and other performance retailers. In 2007, AAM developed its second brand, Total Truck Centers, after recognizing the need for a similar program in the light-truck and off-road market. The program was immediately embraced by the manufacturers and has been successful every year since.

How many employees work at your company?

There are more than 400 employees within AAM and our member warehouses.

Why are you an TORA member?

TORA is a natural fit for AAM and Total Truck Centers, since we want to learn more about industry trends and maintain an open dialogue with our manufacturers and associations. We’re always looking for ideas about how to serve our clients and their customers with excellent marketing and the very best products.

Anything exciting you see happening in the truck market or in your company?

We are very interested in the trends toward high-efficiency engines, smaller diesels and forced-induction platforms. We are looking forward to seeing what these new platforms mean for the TORA marketplace and how manufacturers will evolve to meet new challenges. In our company, we are excited to see our retail stores beginning to embrace digital marketing as a way to reach their local markets.

Media Preview Provides Truck Accessory Retailers Immediate Exposure

By Amanda Gubbins

The Light Truck Industry Alliance (TORA) is now accepting applications until June 30 for the 2015 Media Preview event, taking place Monday, November 2, prior to the opening of the 2015 SEMA Show. The event gives truck accessory manufacturers a chance to meet one-on-one with media reps, and is ideal for making contacts and introducing new products without sacrificing valuable floor time with buyers.

Last year’s inaugural event was a success by all accounts, with nearly 200 media in attendance. Each of the manufacturer participants were chosen from the application pool by lottery to set up temporary exhibit space within the Media Center. Throughout the four-hour event, these manufacturers showed samples and answered questions about their newest products.

Jerrod Strauss of N-Fab Inc. is a prime example of how preparation can pay off in a big way for exhibiting companies. Strauss recalls immediate gratification when an editor returned to his company’s area for a second conversation during the event with a completed article that had been already posted online. That piece resulted in two feature vehicles for the company.

Strauss provided thumb drives with files of press releases and product information to the journalists, along with hard copies of the company’s catalog. These items eased the writing process for the media reps. His other advice for participants is to be engaged during the entire afternoon event.

“It was really important that you were out and actively pulling the media in, talking about your product instead of just letting them walk by,” he reflected.

N-Fab also received a Show Stopper award from Diesel Tech magazine for the company’s AdjustStep, a nerf-step allowing for up to 5.5 in. of height adjustment on each step.

“They were so enamored by the design and the concept and what it was built for that they came by our booth [later in the week] and told us they wanted to give us the award for it. They had not stopped thinking about the ingenuity and engineering behind it,” said Strauss.

Without the Media Preview event, Diesel Tech might not have discovered N-Fab’s product. The Show Stopper award has resulted in a great deal of editorial attention for the company since last November. Much of this exposure was made possible because Strauss knew how to make it easy for the media.

“I highly recommend participating in the event, but if you’re going to do it, make sure you execute it properly,” he said.

Applying now leaves plenty of time for TORA-member companies to prepare thoroughly for the event, and the council has many resources available to help. If your company is not yet a member of TORA, consider joining to take advantage of this benefit.

Back to Top

PRO Logo
Visit PRO's website.  

Planning the Future of the Restyling and Accessory Industry

Leaders of the restyling and accessory world will converge in Detroit, June 18–19, 2015, to plan for the future. Join the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) for its Long-Range Planning meeting and industry discussion. The Detroit Metro Airport Marriott 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, and those interested in joining PRO. Register now to be a part of the discussion. Traveling from out of town? Contact us for quality hotel options in the area. Not able to attend but want to stay involved? Contact Clayton Drescher at 909-978-6696 for more information.

Back to Top

YEN Logo

Visit YEN's website  
During last year's competition, Roger Peterson, founder and CEO of MG Research LLC, introduced a mobile app that engages enthusiasts and collects useful market information for specialty-equipment manufacturers.

Let SEMA Help Launch Your Business

By Amanda Gubbins

Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 SEMA Launch Pad, Presented by YEN. The competition, now entering its third year, gives automotive innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs under the age of 40 an industry platform for their budding businesses.

Roger Peterson, founder and CEO of MG Research LLC, was a contestant in the 2014 competition. He and his concept—a mobile app that engages enthusiasts and collects useful market information for specialty-equipment manufacturers—made it all the way to the final stage of the competition, where he gave a live presentation to a panel of respected industry leaders during the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

“As I look at the experience overall, I have to say that as a very, very young company, it did a tremendous amount of good for us in the sense that we went from being a concept, an untested idea, and we were forced to mature to our best capacity,” Peterson reflected. “We were forced to ripen as best that we could. It taught us about ourselves, our will, our desire to see this through, and it brought out the best in our team. It definitely brought out the best in me.”

Launch Pad applicants are evaluated based on their video submissions by a task force, which will select the top 10. The top five candidates are narrowed down via a Facebook voting campaign. These finalists will each pitch their business plan at the 2015 SEMA Show, where the judging panel will select the winner, who will receive a prize package designed to fuel the next steps of his or her business.

Peterson explained that each of the finalists gained a certain amount of validation, which made the experience valuable. For MG Research, the feedback and exposure was a catalyst for much of the growth the company has experienced over the past months.

“We no longer have to strain ourselves trying to make this vision visible to other people. It’s now plastered all over the SEMA website, and it’s represented well. It has taken us from being one of a million young companies trying to come out of the woodwork, to one of a few that actually has accomplished something. As we are moving along now to our funding activities, we are going to find out exactly what the strength of the SEMA Launch Pad experience is.”

The bottom line, according the Peterson?

“We were all winners in the sense that we all walked away with what we needed to go to the next stage [of business],” he said.

Applications are due July 3, 2015. Find out what Launch Pad can do for your business. For more information, and to fill out the application, visit If you have questions, contact Bryan Harrison.

Back to Top