People Places & Racing News

Movers & Shakers: Tire Group International Hires Jeff DeVonde; Kahn Media Announces New Hires

By SEMA Editors

Tire Group International Names New VP of Original Equipment and Fleet Sales

Tire Group International appointed Jeff DeVonde as its new vice president of original equipment and fleet sales for its domestic division. DeVonde brings more than 24 years of experience in the transportation industry selling and marketing truckload dry and refrigerated freight throughout the country. Previously, the Navy veteran worked as the director of sales for Alabama Motor Express.

“Jeff’s knowledge and experience in the transportation industry reflects our commitment to always finding new ways to take care of our customers’ needs,” said Joaquin Gonzalez Jr., Tire Group International's president.

Kahn Media Inc. Announces New Hires

 Jon Barrett
Jon Barrett

Kahn Media Inc. announced that public relations leader Jon Barrett has been named vice president of the company. Kahn Media founder and President Dan Kahn called Barrett a “strategic leader.”

“His background in data and digital technology will serve us well as our business evolves to cover a diverse range of digital marketing services,” Kahn said.

Kahn Media also added longtime motorcycle racer, instructor, and marketer Jason Thompson to the team as an account executive. Thompson will handle PR and marketing for MotoAmerica, the official AMA/FIM-sanctioned national road racing series in the United States.

Creative Director Franco Gutierrez will continue to lead the company’s creative team. Gutierrez will spearhead the expansion of the company’s art capabilities beyond website development, video production and graphic design into immersive digital marketing, studio photography and top-shelf brand development.

“Garage Gurus” Opens Training Facility in Dallas for Repair Professionals

The grand opening of the “Garage Gurus” regional training facility in Dallas, Texas, on July 17 drew automotive repair professionals from around the state. The center is one of Federal-Mogul Motorparts’ new nationwide technical training garages that help front-line industry professionals keep pace with the latest automotive technologies. The Dallas/Fort Worth training center will offer on-site, online and on-demand training and related support to technicians, shop owners, service writers and others from among the region’s more than 5,100 repair businesses. Garage Gurus is a major new “Tech First” initiative from Federal-Mogul Motorparts, providing a comprehensive platform of technical training and support for the vehicle service industry. The new training center is the sixth of up to 15 Garage Gurus locations scheduled to open this year.

Goodguys’ Announces Award Winners

Goodguys Award Winners
The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association’s Street Machine of the Year (left), and the Street Rod of the Year (right).

Enthusiasts competed for the Goodguys 2015 Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year and Goodguys 2015 Optima Batteries Street Machine of the Year awards July 12 at the 18th PPG Nationals in Columbus.

The Street Rod of the Year category was first, with one Chevy owned by Chuck Rowe competing against four Fords. Rowe’s Millington, Tennessee-based ’37 Chevy fended off the Fords to win the title. The car’s motor is an all-aluminum McLaren Chevy big-block recovered from Peter Revson’s 1971 Championship-winning Chaparral Can Am car. Other notable features include suicide doors, a Morrison chassis, Mike Long G-Force 6-speed transmission, one-off Alloway ET Wheels, red leather interior and Classic Instruments gauges.

In the Street Machine category, Lafayette, Louisiana’s Sonny and Debbie Freeman took home the prize with their Artic White ’67 Corvette by Mike Goldman Customs. The Vette’s scratch-built rockers sit 3-in. off the ground, channeled neatly over the Roadster Shop chassis. Not only is the Freeman Corvette flawless, but it’s also fast! With Talbert Goldman behind the wheel, the car ran an AutoCross lap of 42.414 seconds, one of the fastest laps in the class. Powering the nimble beast is a Mast Motorsports 427ci V8 pumping out 700 ponies.

Fire at the Eastwood Company Causes Shipping Delays

 Eastwood Building
Eastwood Co.'s building.

A July 9 fire at the Pottstown, Pennsylvania, headquarters of the Eastwood Co., a supplier of automotive restoration tools and finishes, caused smoke and water damage. Shipping operations have been temporarily delayed while fire investigators and cleanup crews work. Customers can continue placing orders at, which will be shipped out as soon as possible. No one was injured in the fire.

Premier Performance Products Upgrades Fulfillment Center

Premier Performance Products announced that the company has relocated its Kentucky fulfillment center to a new location double the size of the previous site. The new 95,000 square-foot warehouse will increase the company’s capacity to stock parts, expand the range of products offered and enable faster processing.  

SEM Products and Vicar International Announce Partnership

SEM Products, a manufacturer of interior paints and refinishing products, announced that it will expand its distribution by forming a strategic partnership with Vicar International. Vicar will be stocking three new lines, Color Coat, Classic Coat and Vinyl Coat, for indoor and outdoor applications with plans to expand.

Parent Petroleum Partners With VP Racing Fuels

VP Racing Fuels has introduced Parent Petroleum as its newest retail branding partner. Headquartered in St. Charles, Illinois, Parent owns and operates “The PRIDE” convenience stores in the greater Chicagoland area.

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