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Movers & Shakers: Championship Drivers to Visit Troops in Japan; LKQ Corp. Acquires Warn Industries


Compiled by SEMA Editors

armed forces
“Operation Appreciation” will this year make stops at various stations in Japan, where top motorsports drivers and riders will have the opportunity to meet men and women of the American armed forces.

Championship NHRA and BIG FOOT 4x4 Competitors to Visit Troops in Japan for 2017’s Operation Appreciation

For the seventh consecutive year, Summit Racing Equipment and Armed Forces Entertainment will join together to send a group of top motorsports competitors overseas to visit American troops on duty in remote locations. The annual trip, coined “Operation Appreciation,” will this year make stops at various stations in Japan. The drivers and riders will have the opportunity to meet men and women of the American armed forces. Summit Racing NHRA Pro Stock drivers Greg Anderson and Jason Line, Summit Racing/BIGFOOT 4x4 Monster Truck competitors Dan Runte and Larry Swim, and Harley-Davidson NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle riders Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec will once again make the journey as a group.

Bruce Harwell Retires From Bob Cook Sales

Bruce Harwell has announced his retirement from Bob Cook Sales after a 33-year career with the company, effective October 31. He joined Bob Cook Sales in October 1984, coming from 11 years of warehouse distribution, manufacturing, engine building, mail-order and retail experience. He started with Bob Cook Sales traveling the Carolinas, Virginia and Northeastern Tennessee, taking the Florida territory over in July 1989. A Florida native, he is married and resides in Lakeland, Florida.

Rockford Fosgate Launches New Website

Rockford Fosgate has announced the launch of its new website. Two-wheel, four-wheel and marine enthusiasts can now select the audio gear that is best for their vehicles and musical taste, and then choose whether to make the purchase or find a local authorized dealer. For assistance, users have options tailored to their individual needs, including toll-free calling, answers via email, or live web chat with one of Rockford Fosgate’s service members. Additional quick view and shopping cart features have also been added to streamline the browsing and buying processes.

Greg Woo

Centric Parts Promotes Greg Woo to President, Names James Tucci Vice President of Operations

Centric Parts has promoted Greg Woo to president of Centric Parts, Qualis Automotive, and StopTech. The announcement was made by APC Automotive Technologies’ CEO Hugh Charvat, who noted that Woo has succeeded Dan Lelchuk, who has taken on a new role as strategic advisor to the Board of APC Automotive Technologies, parent company of Centric Parts and AP Exhaust. In his new position, Woo will be responsible for all operations and will be the executive team leader for product management, purchasing and operations for Centric Parts and its Qualis Automotive and StopTech divisions. Woo is a 28-year automotive aftermarket veteran and has served in a variety of top executive positions.

Centric Parts has also announced that James Tucci has joined the company as its vice president of operations for the Centric, Qualis and StopTech divisions. Tucci will be responsible for the company’s warehouse, manufacturing and re-manufacturing operations. In addition, he will lead its Global Quality and Logistics teams. Prior to joining Centric, Tucci was the vice president of operations for Prime-Line Products in Redlands, California.

“ToyMakerz” Season Two Set to Air on Velocity

“ToyMakerz” will begin its new season November 10 on Velocity at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., with re-airs on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. (EST). The second season will feature eight parts that are one hour each. “ToyMakerz” is for those who like exotic, rare vehicles. Driven by the life and creations of David Ankin, owner of “ToyMakerz”, the series follows his team and their vehicle builds.

Power Automedia’s Alloy Studios Produces Mickey Thompson Commercial Featuring Street Outlaws’ Daddy Dave

Power Automedia’s video production division Alloy Studios recently created a commercial to show off Mickey Thompson tires at the track in conjunction with “Street Outlaws” star Daddy Dave. This spot featured Mickey’s Baja ATZ tires, which Daddy Dave uses on his Chevrolet 3500HD tow vehicle.

Progressive and National Auto Body Council Members Team Up to Donate 500 Cars in Five Years

More than 100 military veterans across the country will celebrate a special Veterans Day this year when each is presented with keys to a practically brand-new car from Progressive and collision-repair members of the National Auto Body Council (NABC). In its fifth year, Progressive and its industry partners have collectively donated more than 500 vehicles to deserving veterans and veteran organizations. Progressive’s “Keys To Progress” is an extension of the NABC’s “Recycled Rides,” a collaborative effort involving all facets of the collision industry to refurbish and donate vehicles to individuals in need. More than 100 NABC-member auto-body shops are participating in this year’s Keys To Progress to repair vehicles provided by Progressive, Copart and Insurance Auto Auctions. 

Rancho Signs Partnership With Jeep Jamboree USA for Inaugural 2018 Jeep Jamboree Adventures Series

Rancho performance suspension and shocks has partnered with Jeep Jamboree USA (JJUSA) for 2018 as the organization designs and launches a new, driver-oriented Jeep Jamboree Adventure Series. The new JJUSA Adventure Series—driven by Rancho—will include a new collaborative, educational format that provides a platform to learn special off-road driving skills and techniques while on a custom, overlanding experience. Each event will include a team of JJUSA guides and a Rancho Brand Ambassador. The organization reports that the events will be limited to 10 to 15 Jeeps.

LKQ Corp. Acquires Warn Industries, Names New Vice President and General Manager; Vice President, Global Sales

Warn Industries was acquired by Chicago-based LKQ Corp., November 1, 2017, becoming LKQ’s first manufacturing company within its organization, and is now part of the company’s Specialty Products Group. Warn Industries will be led by Kyle Shiminski, vice president and general manager of LKQ’s Specialty Products Group. Shiminski has more than 32 years’ experience leading manufacturing, global supply chain, and continuous improvement organizations with companies such as Ingersoll Rand, Textron and LKQ. He assumes the role previously held by Warn Industries’ past President John Stransky, who recently retired. Also joining the Warn Industries team will be George Lathouris, who will fill the previously vacant role of vice president, global sales, and will report directly to Shiminski. Lathouris has been part of the automotive aftermarket since the late ’70s, and has worked for manufacturers, including Lund International and Dick Cepek. He has also worked for warehouse distributors such as American Specialty and, for the last 20 years, has been a part of the Keystone Automotive organization.

Custom Automotive Network Announces 2018–2019 Board of Directors Election Results

Joining the Custom Automotive Network (CAN) board of directors for the 2018–2019 term is Scott Wahlstrom of Motorstate Distributing, Bob Barra of Premier Performance Products Distribution, Brett Corning of Midstates Inc., and Royal Coburn of Trucktech Distributing. Wahlstrom has been elected chairman-elect for 2018–2019 term with continuing duties as chairman and past-chairman through 2023. He is currently serving as a director on the CAN board of directors. Barra will fill a directors seat. Corning and Coburn have been elected as directors.

Lubrication Specialties Inc. Announces 20th Anniversary

Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI) has announced the company’s 20th anniversary. Founded in 1997 by Chris Gabrelcik, LSI began as an equipment chemical solutions provider for commercial and industrial accounts for major manufacturers, including Nucor Steel, American Showa, Midwest Industries, X-Tec and Navistar. Today, LSI offers a full line of oil and fuel additives for gas and diesel engines under the brand Hot Shot’s Secret, with a line of more than 30 products online and at retailers throughout the United States.

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