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SEMA Council & Network News: The Future of Motorsports and Performance Technology

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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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Can’t Miss Event: The Future of Motorsports and Performance Technology

The future of motorsports technology is rapidly evolving, from career paths to hard parts and everything in between. The SEMA Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) will host its inaugural Motorsports Tech Roundtable, featuring six roundtables that take a deep dive into the below topic and many more:

Table Topic: The Future of Motorsports and Performance Technology

Expert: John Waraniak, vice president, SEMA Vehicle Technology

Discussion: Discuss the latest powertrain technologies and product innovations being used in racing and adapted to production, as well as the career paths, talent pipelines, direction, relevance and importance of motorsports and technology to the future of motor racing and the performance industry.

Find more event details, including a full list of table topics and subject matter experts.

The event will take place in collaboration with the Media Trade Conference, January 25, 2016, from 2:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m., at the Embassy Suites Orange County Airport, North.

RSVP today! You do not need to attend the Media Trade Conference to attend this event.

Questions? Contact Director of Networks Bryan Harrison at

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ATC Truck Covers has been producing fiberglass camper shells and tonneau covers just outside of Kansas City since 1994.

TORA Member Spotlight: ATC Truck Covers

ATC Truck Covers in Ottawa, Kansas, has been active in the Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) since 2011. Director of Marketing Brant Combs shared these insights about the company and its council membership.

Company Name   
ATC Truck Covers

Person interviewed:  
Brant Combs
Director of Marketing

What does your company do?   
We are a manufacturer of fiberglass truck caps, tonneau covers and cargo management systems.

How many years have you been in business?   
20 years.

What is your company history?   
ATC Truck Covers was founded by TORA Hall of Famer Bobby Combs in 1994, and has been producing fiberglass camper shells and tonneau covers just outside of Kansas City ever since. In 2006, we began offering cargo-management systems as a compliment to our truck covers. In February 2011, the manufacturing facility in Garnett, Kansas, burned to the ground in a complete fire loss, but we were able to relocate in nearby Ottawa, Kansas, in under a year. We now operate in a state-of-the-art facility where we continue to develop some of the lightest and strongest truck caps, tonneau covers and bed systems. Our facility is environmentally friendly, and uses green production practices and the latest technologies to bring you a better truck cover at a great price.

How many employees are at your company?  
Just fewer than 100.

Why are you an TORA member?  
It is very important to ATC for the light-truck aftermarket to continue to grow and thrive. TORA is a great place to help create goals, share needs, create awareness and help with positive action for our market, as well as network with other companies that deal with similar issues and challenges.   

Anything exciting you see happening in the truck market or in your company?  
It is great to see truck sales so strong. New body styles are always a nice boost for truck numbers as well as low gas prices and better MPGs. ATC is growing as well, having recently added routes into Southern California, along with expanding our product line with new window and door options and commercial truck cap and bed system models.

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Motorsports media icon Dr. Dick Berggren (left) accepts his MPMC Hall of Fame award from MPMC Chair Rich Barsamian (center) of Advanced Clutch Technology, and Berggren's longtime friend and associate Karl Fredrickson (right) of Speedway Illustrated.
Former MPMC Chair Ron Johnson (left), owner of Next Speed Shop, accepts his 2015 MPMC Hall of Fame award from former SEMA Board Chairman Scooter Brothers (center) of COMP Performance Group, and MPMC Chair Rich Barsamian (right) of Advanced Clutch Technology.

MPMC Inducts Two Hall of Fame Members

The Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) hosted its annual Hall of Fame Reception to honor two special industry members being inducted. The event took place at the PRI Show in Indianapolis. Attendees networked over drinks and hors d’oeuvres as they honored the 2015 inductees: Dick Berggren and Ron Johnson.

Dick Berggren
When Dick Berggren was 8 years old, his father took him to a stock-car race, and it was love at first sight.

“It was like those stories where a guy meets a girl and knows immediately that they are destined to become a couple and spend the rest of their lives together,” he said in a 2012 interview with Car and Driver magazine. “It was exactly like that.”

After obtaining a PhD in 1970, Berggren worked as a psychology professor at Emmanuel College in Boston for nine years, at the same time racing modifieds and sprint cars at New England short tracks. He retired from driving in 1981 and began his long and storied career in journalism and broadcasting. Did he like it? At one point Berggren worked for three different TV networks and edited two magazines, Stock Car Racing and Open Wheel.

“Those were the days of no sleep,” he recalled in the same interview.

In 1999, he started his own magazine, Speedway Illustrated, which he still runs to this day. Berggren retired from television in 2012 but is far from “retired.” Along with Speedway Illustrated, he is working on the Northeast Motor Sports Museum, which is set to open on the grounds of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

In addition to his motorsports accomplishments and contributions, Berggren was also an original member of the World Motorsports Society (WMS). Founded in 1994, the WMS was a lobbying group that was open to racers, sanctioning bodies, engine builders, parts suppliers and tracks. Its purpose was to address concerns and challenges to all of the stakeholders in worldwide motorsports. It very quickly transitioned to a SEMA council of parts manufacturers—the MPMC. As a non-manufacturer, Berggren was never a member of the MPMC, but his contribution to its foundation make him a deserving member of the MPMC Hall of Fame.

Ron Johnson
Ron Johnson chaired the MPMC from 2004 to 2006 and served on the select committee for four years prior to that. But those statistics hardly tell the story of Johnson’s influence on the council.

“I am always conscious of how I use my time,” he recalled in an interview after receiving the news of his Hall of Fame induction. “I was working at Moroso at that time and had about a 45-minute drive home. Being located in New England, I realized that SEMA staff and some of my fellow MPMC volunteers still had three hours of workday left on the West Coast. So almost every day on my drive home I was on the phone working on MPMC and SEMA stuff. I’m sure folks felt like I was badgering at times, but I’m certain it helped us move the needle on things like the 'Business Guidelines Manual' and the Media Trade Conference.”

Contemporary MPMC select committee members verified that Johnson kept things moving, especially on the Media Trade Conference. He pushed to improve everything about the event, from media outreach to meeting schedules and even to the choice of menu items.

“Ron was around during the early years when MPMC was formed,” said former SEMA Chairman of the Board Scooter Brothers of Comp Performance Group. “He was instrumental in developing a vision that made MPMC a formidable council, which made and continues to make a difference. Ron never knew the meaning of ‘can’t do,’ and his leadership allowed MPMC to reach the prominence it enjoys today. Ron was a leader and a visionary in the early days of MPMC, and there’s no way MPMC would be what it is today without Ron’s efforts.”

Such accolades verify that Johnson is a deserving member of the MPMC Hall of Fame. Today, Johnson works in the industrial construction industry, but he keeps his hands in the automotive aftermarket through Next Speed Shop—an online retail business that he operates with his son.

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