People Places & Racing News

Movers & Shakers: Race Winning Brands Names Bob Bruegging VP of Product Management; John Heinricy Joins Hennessey Special Vehicles

Compiled by SEMA Editors

Bob Bruegging
Robert Bruegging

Race Winning Brands Names Bob Bruegging Vice President of Product Management

Race Winning Brands (RWB), a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries LLC, has hired automotive industry veteran Robert Bruegging to serve as the organization’s vice president of product management. Bruegging will work closely with Chief Executive Officer Brian Reese and brand leaders to monitor the evolving needs of customers and develop innovative solutions for racing and performance. He will oversee product management and product development, managing cross-functional teams across several locations. Bruegging comes to RWB from Cometic Gasket, where he led new business development efforts over the last three years. Prior to his time with Cometic, Bruegging spent more than two decades in executive leadership roles with the Mr. Gasket Corp.

John Heinricy
John Heinricy

Hennessey Special Vehicles Names John Heinricy Venom F5 Chief Engineer

Hennessey Special Vehicles, builders of the Venom GT and the upcoming Venom F5, has announced it has hired John Heinricy as the full-time chief engineer for the Venom F5 program. Heinricy has been a consultant on the program since its inception and previously consulted on Hennessey’s Venom GT program, working hand-in-hand with Hennessey on chassis, suspension and vehicle dynamics, in addition to high-speed aerodynamic testing, which led to its Guinness World Record for the fastest road-legal car from 0–186 mph. Heinricy has been a consultant and test driver for Hennessey since 2010. He is now a full-time member of the Hennessey team, focused on development, testing and production of the Venom F5, including its target top speed of 300 mph. Heinricy spent 38 years as an engineer and executive at General Motors. He retired as the head of GM Performance Division, and is also well known for being a successful race-car driver, including 15 SCCA national championships. He has more than 1,000 laps at the Nürburgring under his belt, and is the first person to complete a sub-eight-minute lap of the Nordschliefe in a production four-door sedan. All of this has led to Heinricy earning the nickname “Heinrocket.”

Steven DiazSteven Diaz

Steven Diaz Named the Recipient of American Muscle for American Heroes Dodge Challenger

Nexen Tire America Inc. announced that Retired Marine Cpl. Steven Diaz is the recipient of the American Muscle for American Heroes Nexen Tire Dodge Challenger R/T. Nexen Tire partnered with the Purple Heart Foundation to help select a well-deserving Purple Heart recipient to receive a one-of-a-kind American musclecar—a custom-built 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack.

Diaz was selected by representatives from Nexen and the Purple Heart Foundation from thousands of nominations from across the country. Many of these submissions, which included incredible stories of heroism, patriotism and courage, were posted to social media. The campaign was designed to honor a well-deserving veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart Medal after being wounded in combat—and to show gratitude for the safety and security provided to Americans by members of the Armed Forces. 

Nexen Tire also partnered with several other leading automotive aftermarket companies to help transform the Dodge Challenger R/T into a musclecar fit for an American hero. The company enlisted the help of renowned car-builder Kenny Pfitzer of Zero to 60 Designs to take the lead on custom modifications.

Petersen Automotive Museum Names Dr. Wolfgang Porsche Its First Honorary Board Member

Dr. Wolfgang PorscheDr. Wolfgang Porsche was named The Petersen Automotive Museum's first honorary board member.

The Petersen Automotive Museum announced that Dr. Wolfgang Porsche will be its first honorary board member. Dr. Porsche has accepted the invitation of the Petersen board of directors to serve alongside Founding Chairman Bruce Meyer, Chairman Peter Mullin, Vice Chairman David Sydorick and other industry dignitaries.

Dr. Porsche has served as chairman of the supervisory board at Porsche AG since 2007. During this period, Porsche has increased annual deliveries from less than 100,000 to around 246,000 last year, and has more than doubled in size to more than 30,000 employees. Continuing his family legacy of success, he also sits on the supervisory boards of Volkswagen AG and Audi AG and is chairman of the supervisory board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE.

In addition to Dr. Porsche’s long list of distinguished accomplishments, he was most recently honored with the “Petersen Icon Award” at the museum’s 24th Annual Gala on Oct. 5. The event commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Stuttgart marque and celebrated the immense success of “The Porsche Effect.”

Hunter Engineering Launches New Merchandise Website

Hunter Engineering has launched a new merchandise website through for anyone who would like to purchase Hunter promotional products. Customers can easily access Hunter hats, apparel, die cast models and more from anywhere through a desktop, tablet or mobile device. To access the merchandise website, visit

PPG To Acquire Global Coatings Manufacturer Whitford Worldwide

PPG has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Whitford Worldwide Co., a global manufacturer that specializes in low-friction and nonstick coatings for industrial applications and consumer products. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions. Financial terms were not disclosed. Whitford, a privately held company headquartered in Elverson, Pennsylvania, was founded in 1969. The company specializes in manufacturing low-friction, wear-resistant coatings for industrial applications in automotive, aerospace, energy and construction products. Whitford also makes nonstick coatings for cookware, bakeware and small electric appliances such as toaster ovens, griddles, fry pans and irons. Whitford employs more than 700 people and operates 10 manufacturing facilities located around the world, including: Elverson, Pennsylvania; Fostoria, Ohio; Guelph, Ontario, Canada; Runcorn, United Kingdom; Brescia, Italy; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Jiangmen, China; Zhuhai, China; Tuas, Singapore; and Bangalore, India.

Joe MatthewsJoe Matthews

Gentex Appoints Joe Matthews Diversity Officer

Gentex Corp. has announced that Joe Matthews, the company’s vice president of purchasing, has been appointed as the company’s first diversity officer. In this new role, Matthews will be responsible for the development and implementation of Gentex’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. Matthews will also provide leadership to Gentex’s newly formalized DE&I Council, a group that is comprised of members from various levels and corporate functions throughout the organization. Its primary role is to help implement diversity programs, training courses and awareness initiatives throughout the organization, while supporting the human resources department in recruiting and community engagement. Matthews joined Gentex in 2010 as a purchasing manager. In 2013, he was promoted to purchasing director with additional responsibilities for supply-chain management. He was promoted to vice president of purchasing in 2014 and is responsible for all direct and indirect material goods and services, as well as supplier diversity.

Icahn Automotive Announces Agreement to Acquire RPM Automotive

Icahn Automotive Group LLC, which owns and operates auto-repair and maintenance providers Pep Boys, AAMCO and Precision Tune Auto Care, has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire RPM Automotive. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, RPM Automotive operates 10 locations with more than 100 service bays throughout the Northeastern part of the state. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions but is expected to close by year-end. Throughout 2018, Icahn Automotive has acquired independent and franchised locations in the Northeast, Midwest and South. These additions to the Icahn Automotive portfolio have been integrated under the Pep Boys, AAMCO and Precision Tune brands. Icahn Automotive currently includes more than 2,000 owned and franchised service locations throughout the United States and parts of Canada. In addition to acquisitions, Icahn Automotive has continued to invest in Greenfield and existing Pep Boys, AAMCO and Precision Tune service locations, and in people, programs, technical training and technology. Icahn Automotive recently launched Pep Boys Mobile Crew, a mobile-repair unit that provides on-location maintenance and repair services. The company also announced a broad relationship with to provide professional tire installation services to online customers.

Have some company news you would like to share? Let us know and the news may appear in an upcoming issue of SEMA eNews. Send your items for consideration to