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Council & Network News: YEN's Hot Rod Power Tour Recap

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.

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Visit YEN's website  

YEN’s Hot Rod Power Tour 2015: Recap

SEMA’s Young Executives Network (YEN) kicked off the month of June with the Hot Rod Power Tour, where eight YEN members reached out to young professionals regarding the variety of career paths and opportunities available to them in the industry. Starting off in Madison, Wisconsin, on June 5, members traveled though Illinois, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana where the tour concluded.

Over the course of seven stops and 1,500 miles, participants had the opportunity to highlight the efforts of SEMA and YEN in person and through more than 1,000 posts on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Members connected with fellow enthusiasts and professionals, gaining valuable insight and a variety of helpful perspectives on the state of the industry, having conducted more than 50 interviews with event attendees.

“Thanks to the Power Tour, I now have connections across the SEMA family of companies and have lifelong friends in different niches of the market,” noted participant Keith McWilliams of COMP Performance Group.

The Tour included visits to schools with education programs dedicated to automotive research and technology, and included the Tennessee College of Applied Technology, Ranken Technical College, Lawson State Community College and the Tuscaloosa Center for Technology. YEN members were delighted to meet and engage with 250 students, finding their enthusiasm for the industry affirming and inspiring to their own career goals and achievements. Participant Matthew S. Davis, director of marketing at Premier Performance Products, was particularly delighted to share his insight with the students he met on the tour.

“The connections I made on this trip with the other YEN members were very valuable to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed networking with the upcoming generations at the school stops. I very much enjoy networking and helping others realize their dreams; it brings me a lot of joy.”

For more information on upcoming events and how to get involved with SEMA’s Young Executives Network (YEN), please visit

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, August 5, 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.

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Visit TORA's website.  

Past Chair Melanie White Thanks TORA

Thank you Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) membership for allowing me the opportunity to serve the TORA as your chair. It's been an incredibly rewarding experience to volunteer for our industry. I've been lucky to work with an incredible select committee that serves this community very well.

One of the accomplishments I'm most proud to have been a part of was the TORA Media Preview. Monday of the SEMA Show will be the second annual event. This is a great benefit that helps highlight light-truck products for the consumer market before the Show even opens! Also, it's a great place to really engage with the media; it allows them to be more effective with the participating manufacturers.

I feel very fortunate to have followed a great leader of the TORA, George Lathouris, and am excited to leave the leadership in the hands of Lee McGuire. She has an incredible passion and great experience to share with the light truck market.

Thank you for the opportunity and your support!

Melanie White
Hellwig Products

Visit MRN's website.  

Earn Up to $600 in Two Easy Steps

Manufacturers’ reps have a new opportunity to partner with the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) for a special incentive. Between now and September 2, 2015, reps who refer new suppliers to the SDC can earn a cash reward of anywhere between $150–$600.

The first step for reps is to start a conversation with their manufacturer clients about the benefits of selling more parts with data and the solutions that the SDC offers to help them manage and distribute great product data. Next, visit the SDC incentive page and complete the form by September 2. An SDC employee will follow up with each supplier to begin the on-boarding process.

As long as the supplier is referred during the incentive period and on-boarded by November 27, 2015, the referring rep will receive a check in the amount of that supplier’s first month’s dues. These checks are issued to individual reps, not SEMA-member companies.

For reps who need a little preparation for these discussions, training is available through the MRN Certification Program. The web-based educational series helps manufacturers’ representatives learn more about what the SDC offers through courses designed to build confidence in discussing the data-management system with customers. Contact SDC Director of Membership Jim Graven at to sign up.

Visit to learn more about the MRN SDC Incentive program and start earning rewards today.

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Visit PRO's website.  

Steps to Maximizing Every Sales Opportunity

By Amanda Gubbins

Generally speaking, people don’t like to be “sold.” However, they do like to buy, provided, of course, they perceive value and understand the benefits. That’s where skills and know-how come into play. If restylers can give a good reason why their products and services are a perfect fit for the dealership, they are far more likely to gain attention and ultimately earn business. Facts like this can go a long way—the average gross profit on dealer-installed accessories that restylers provide is 50%–75%, versus 10%–20% from the factory.

But that’s not all; products won’t fly off the shelves by themselves. Simply “selling” the dealer doesn’t necessarily make for success. It’s important to build a relationship with the dealership, earn management’s commitment to supporting an accessory program and convince the salespeople on the floor to follow through and sell the products.

Whether working with existing accounts or making cold calls to prospect for new business, there are a few steps restylers can take to maximize every sales opportunity. The “PRO Sales Training Manual” walks restylers and installers through these techniques—from what to wear and how to set goals, to how to structure a sales call and start building relationships with key dealership players.

The “PRO Sales Training Manual” is available as a hard copy, bound in a three-ring binder or for the first time in electronic format for easy use on a tablet. While it can be purchased by anyone for $149.95, PRO (and TORA) members receive the special discounted price of $24.95 for the printed copy. The digital edition is free for PRO members. Contact Clayton Drescher to place your order today.

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Visit SBN's website.
Karen Vielkind

SBN Member of the Month—Karen Vielkind, Girls ‘N Garages

Karen Vielkind is the owner and editor-in-chief of Girls ‘N Garages, based in Plympton, Massachusetts.

What does your company do?

Girls ‘N Garages is a women’s automotive magazine that is currently published four times per year.

What is your position?

Editor-in-chief and owner.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

Getting to talk to women about their experiences being in the automotive world.

How long have you been involved with the automotive aftermarket?

About five months, creating and developing the magazine.

What brought you to the industry?

My fiancé, and wanting to see more women in it.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Never stop doing your best just because someone doesn’t give you credit.

What would someone meeting you for the first time be surprised to learn?

I am a quadruplet.

What is your dream car?

A ’55 Chevy 3100 pickup.

What is your favorite pastime?

Cruising in my truck and reading/writing.

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