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SEMA Council & Network News—SBN Member of the Month: Victoria Newton, Digital Throttle

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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 Victoria Newton
Victoria Newton, Digital Throttle

SBN Member of the Month—Victoria Newton, Digital Throttle

Victoria Newton is the president of marine and motorsports aftermarket at Digital Throttle, located in San Juan Capistrano, California.

What does your company do?
Digital Throttle is a vertical ad network, providing online advertising through independent automotive, powersports and marine aftermarket-focused websites.

What is your position?
President of marine and motorsports aftermarket.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?
Working with companies to help expand their digital footprint—reaching new markets and measuring every dollar spent.

How long have you been involved with the automotive aftermarket?
I began working at Powerboat Magazine in 1994 and stayed until Source Interlink took me on in 2009, where I was until 2013 when I started with Digital Throttle.

What brought you to the industry?
I grew up on boats and was a competitive water skier in college. I always loved all competitive motorsports.

What are some of your major professional accomplishments?
I managed to become publisher of the world’s leading performance boat magazine, Powerboat, in an industry dominated by men. I was the first woman to hold this position and while maintaining this title, I was promoted to group publisher, overseeing all marine titles at the company. In this role, I managed all aspects of the magazines, including personally testing more than 500 high-performance boats and 200+ Personal Watercraft worldwide. In addition, I competed in the Catalina Ski race twice and various races overseas in Malta and Dubai.

Are you a member of any other professional organizations?
AWSA (American Waterski Association), PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) WIPP (Women in Periodical Publishing).

Who are your industry mentors?
Warren Kosikov, Jerry Nordskog and Wiley Poole.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don’t be intimated by enthusiastic staff. Encourage and challenge your staff to grow and learn your job so that you can be free to climb the ladder and expand personal growth.

What would someone meeting you for the first time be surprised to learn?
Probably that the person who has taught me the most in life is my sister Nicci, who was afflicted with Cerebral Palsey at birth. She can’t speak, walk or hear, but she has provided me inspiration to live each day, work hard, play harder and always appreciate the small things.

What is your dream car?
Jeep Wrangler, totally dialed in for off-road adventure.

What is your favorite pastime?
Anything on or in the water.

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Know Your Dealership Profit Centers

By Amanda Gubbins

It’s fairly common to direct sales efforts to the new-car department. That’s an excellent approach that can reap big dividends for any restyling center, but it also leaves untapped territory—potential profit centers just waiting to be mined. Throughout a dealership, there are key departments that are important to the growth and success of restylers’ sales efforts. Where should restylers focus their efforts? First, they must understand the structure and team roles within a dealership.

Dealership salespeople are generally paid a commission based on a percentage of the gross profit on a vehicle. The higher the gross, the greater the commission. It seems logical that salespeople would be inclined to increase their income by up-selling their customers on a variety of add-on features. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. How can restylers influence that? By educating dealership salespeople about the company and the products and services they provide.

PRO Members: Succeed in increasing profitability throughout the dealership and your company will be viewed not just as a vendor, but as a value-added partner in profit. Learn more about this and other dealership hot spots through the “PRO Sales Training Manual.” It’s a helpful resource for training your entire team, and it’s available at a special rate for PRO council members. While the training manual can be purchased by anyone for $149.95, PRO (and TORA) members pay the discounted price of $24.95 for the printed copy. The digital edition is free for PRO members. Contact Clayton Drescher at to order a copy today.

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TORA Member Spotlight: AIRAID Filter Company

 Airaid Filter Co

Rodney Bertram is the creative director at AIRAID Filter Co. in Phoenix, Arizona. Here is his perspective on the company, and its TORA involvement.

SEMA eNews: What does your company do?

Bertram: AIRAID manufactures and distributes high-flow cold-air intakes, filters and throttle body spacers.

SEMA eNews: How many years have you been in business?

Bertram: 16.

SEMA eNews: What is your company history?

Bertram: AIRAID actually started out as a mail-order-based business specializing in emissions-legal performance parts for cars and trucks. It was during this time that the founder, John Levitz, developed his first cold-air intake. As the popularity of this product grew, he was asked by performance resellers to supply them with his products. Eventually, Evergreen Performance became AIRAID Filter Co.

SEMA eNews: How many employees at your company?

Bertram: More than 45.

SEMA eNews: Why are you an TORA member?

Bertram: The truck-accessory distribution chain has long been one of AIRAID’s strongest channels.

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

Bertram: We are excited to see that light-duty trucks will be receiving diesel engines in the near future. We are gearing up to offer our products for this new opportunity.

Display Your Truck or Jeep at the SEMA Show and Support SEMA Cares

By Clayton Drescher

At this year’s SEMA Show, the Truck and Off-Road Alliance will display several vehicles in premier spots between the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center and the new Performance Pavilion exhibition area. As the SEMA Show continues to grow and expand, the conduits between exhibition areas gain in visibility and impact. Each day, thousands of attendees will be exposed to this selection of impressive vehicles that promote the mission and membership of TORA.

TORA members are invited to submit a 2015 Display Vehicle Application and photo or rendering of their vehicle for display consideration. The applicants must abide by SEMA Show feature vehicle policies and eligibility requirements. Applications will be accepted online through August 28, 2015, and applicants will be notified of their vehicle's status by September 14, 2015.

Contact Clayton Drescher at 909-978-6696, for more information.

SEMA Garage FAQ for TORA Members

By Clayton Drescher

The SEMA Garage is an invaluable product-development tool for manufacturers, especially those serving the truck, SUV and off-road markets. Sixty percent of the Measuring Sessions hosted by the SEMA Garage in the last 12 months have featured trucks or SUVs, and the Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Measuring Sessions to orient new and veteran members alike to the services and opportunities available at the Garage.

Maybe you’ve wondered what you should bring to a Measuring Session or if you’ll have private access to the vehicles. Are the right people in your company getting all the Measuring Session notifications and are they aware of the digital data available through Tech Transfer? These questions and more are answered in the SEMA Garage FAQ.

Visit the FAQ webpage and to learn more.

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Connect With ARMO at the NSRA Street Rod Nationals

ARMO is hosting a general membership meeting at the NSRA Street Rod Nationals on Thursday, August 6, at the Kentucky Expo Center. General membership meetings are a great way to connect with fellow industry professionals to discuss day-to-day challenges, the future of the industry and how to get involved. This is an exclusive opportunity to build a lasting connection to SEMA and the ARMO council.

The meeting will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and will take place during the NSRA Street Rod Nationals, where a range of activities and vehicle displays will be on site. Please visit the NSRA events page to learn more. RSVP for the 2015 ARMO General Membership Meeting.

For more information, contact Jim Skelly at

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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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