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Movers & Shakers: Optima Invites SEMA Members to Exhibit at Street Car Invitational; HOT ROD Network Launches New Website

Compiled by SEMA Editors

OPTIMA Invites Members to Exhibit at OUSCI Following Show

On Saturday–Sunday, November 5-6, OPTIMA Batteries will host its ninth-annual OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS). OPTIMA invites SEMA members to exhibit on the OUSCI midway at the LVMS free of charge. The OUSCI represents the culmination of a 10-event national qualifying series combined with the best builder cars from the SEMA Show. The event is being filmed as the grand finale of the national TV series on MAV TV, “OPTIMA’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car,” which will air later in November.

OUSCI exhibitors will gain additional exposure directly among highly engaged automotive enthusiasts who come out to watch the best of the best SEMA Show builders put their cars through their paces on the track. In addition, exhibitors will be part of an event that embraces and promotes the largest gathering of influential brand ambassadors in the automotive aftermarket.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Wally Olczak at or 815-347-9661 by November 1.

Nick Helms

Thermo-Tec Appoints Helms as New National Sales Manager

Thermo-Tec Automotive Products has announced the appointment of Nick Helms as its new sales manager, supporting customers nationwide. Helms joins Thermo-Tec with more than eight years of experience in the automotive industry, most recently working in the sales and marketing department at Aber’s GMC. Helms started in the auto industry in June 2008 with Spitzer Motors in Mansfield, Ohio, before moving to Donley Ford in Ashland, Ohio, in April 2009. There, he refined his sales skills for four years before moving to Aber’s GMC in August 2013, where he worked in both the sales and marketing departments.

Avery Dennison Acquires Ink Mill Corp.

Avery Dennison has announced the acquisition of the Ink Mill Corp.—a 26-employee, New Hampshire-based business, for an undisclosed purchase price. This acquisition combines Ink Mill’s digital ink capabilities and technology with Avery Dennison’s reflective media experience and portfolio.

HOT ROD Network Launches New Website

TEN: The Enthusiast Network’s HOT ROD Network and HOT ROD magazine have announced the launch of their new network website. The HOT ROD Network garnered 171 million page views in 2015, and trends show that growth will continue into 2016. The Network continues to focus on utilizing web-first content to grow brands, tying multiple mediums together to allow content to reach consumers on any platform they choose. Multimedia is implemented into every area of the new site, leveraging the HOT ROD Network’s group of creative writers, videographers and technical experts to give the reader a more immersive and comprehensive experience. Categories have been re-organized to deliver a cleaner, faster user experience, with breaking news and event coverage brought to the forefront. Lastly, back-end changes have reduced load times and improved ad-space integration and the search function, which can now pull related content.

Scott Gross

Scott Gross Joins A.R.E. Sales Team as Southeast Regional Sales Manager

A.R.E. Accessories has announced the appointment of Scott Gross as southeast regional sales manager. In his new role, Gross will develop new business in the territory and manage current dealer accounts, providing assistance at trade shows and field events as needed. He brings more than 20 years of light-truck industry experience to the position. Reporting to A.R.E. Vice President of Sales and Marketing Bryan Baker, Gross will serve the company’s dealers in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. Prior to joining A.R.E., Gross was national sales manager at Superlift Suspension in Monroe, Louisiana, and worked for Roll-N-Lock Corp. as southeast regional sales manager. He also spent 10 years with Skyjacker Suspensions working his way up from an inside sales position to roles of increasing responsibility as technical manager and eventually outside sales. Gross is an active industry member who regularly attends the SEMA Show and the Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) council meetings.

Daimler Trucks North America Chooses NorthStar Pure Lead

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has chosen the Swedish-American energy storage manufacturer NorthStar Battery Company as the supplier of ultra-high performance pure lead AGM batteries for the next-generation Cascadia Truck. NorthStar is also available as an extended-life option on the majority of DTNA platforms, creating a strategic partnership valued at up to $500 million. NorthStar has received worldwide approval to supply batteries to Daimler OEM platforms. Focusing primarily with DTNA, NorthStar underwent Daimler’s comprehensive audit and testing process in competition with other well-known brands to gain approval.

Andrew Nosé

Hellwig Suspension Products Brings on Andrew Nosé as Research and Development Engineer

Hellwig Suspension Products has announced that veteran mechanical engineer Andrew Nosé has joined the staff as its new R&D engineer. With the addition of Nosé, Hellwig believes it has the talent needed to continue expanding its product line and grow into new markets. Nosé’s background in engineering began at Santa Clara University, where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. After college, Nosé went to work at a ductile iron pipe foundry, where he managed capital projects for new business, expansion, cost reduction, replacement and environmental projects.

ARIES Releases Free Online Training Program for Dealers and Their Employees

ARIES Automotive has released a sales and product education program called ARIES B2B University—a free online program available to all ARIES dealers and their employees. It offers helpful tips on marketing ARIES products and helping customers understand what advantages the ARIES line offers them. ARIES B2B University is made up of eight courses with more than 35 lessons, covering the company’s products and dealer resources. After passing certain increments of tests in any course, participants will be rewarded with a Product Specialist Certification.

Nicole Ryan

CRP Automotive Names Nicole Ryan as Regional Sales Manager for the Midwest

CRP Automotive has announced that Nicole Ryan has joined the company and will serve as the regional sales manager for the Midwest region of the United States. Ryan will be based out of the Great Lakes area and will be responsible for maintaining customer relationships, conducting technical sales meetings and evaluating new business opportunities. Prior to joining CRP, Ryan worked for 10 years in multiple roles at Petoskey Plastics, most recently serving as their aftermarket sales manager. In this role, Ryan was responsible for a territory that included 23 states and 17 countries. Prior to Petoskey Plastics, Ryan was a business analyst for the General Aluminum Manufacturing Company, and served as an engineering administrative assistant. 

Tiffany Heatherly Joins Bed Wood and Parts as Public Relations and Customer Communications Liasion

Bed Wood and Parts LLC has announced the addition of its newest team member, Tiffany Heatherly, as public relations and customer communications liaison.

Firestone Industrial Products Remembers Larry David Wilson—a 46-Year Veteran of OEM Industry

Firestone Industrial Products LLC (FSIP) is remembering Larry David Wilson—a member of the OEM industry and longtime employee—who recently passed away. Wilson, 78, of Carmel, Indiana, devoted 46 years of his career to the company and was often referred to as “Mr. Firestone” by his friends and customers. Wilson first joined FSIP as a member of its drafting and engineering department and before becoming a technical sales associate. A member the United States Naval Reserves, Wilson was honorably discharged in 1963. He began working for FSIP in 1962 and retired in 2008. Wilson had many interests, including classic cars, woodworking, attending the Indianapolis 500, Excel spreadsheets, garage sales and antiquing.

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