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Movers & Shakers: Falken Tires Promotes Bob Klimm to Director of Sales, Commercial Division; Firestone Industrial Products Announces New President

Compiled by SEMA Editors

Bob Klimm
Bob Klimm

Falken Tires Promotes Bob Klimm to Director of Sales, Commercial Division

Veteran Falken sales executive Bob Klimm has been promoted to director of sales, commercial division, effectively immediately. Klimm moves from truck and bus radial (TBR) division manager into the director role for the North American market, where he will lead the company’s commercial tire growth. The Dallas native was responsible for establishing Falken’s entry into the TBR business. Led by Klimm, Falken has expanded its commercial sales efforts and allowed it to reach new customers and gain market share.

Jonathon MirandaGrand-prize winner of the 2019 FutureTechs Rock Awards, Jonathon Miranda (pictured middle) volunteers as a judge with Hot Rodders of Tomorrow engine-build competition.

Jonathon Miranda Named FutureTechs Rock Awards Grand Prize Winner

The TechForce Foundation announced that the 2019 FutureTechs Rock Awards Grand Prize Winner is Jonathon Miranda, an automotive student attending Ohio Technical College. The FutureTech Rock Awards recognize and celebrate students’ commitment to and passion for the technician profession and the transportation industry. According to the foundation, Miranda maintained perfect attendance, achieved honor roll six times, and earned all A’s in his associate-degree academic classes, which were separate from his technical coursework. He is a member of his school’s Student Leadership Council, and he also volunteers as a judge with Hot Rodders of Tomorrow (at the SEMA Show), and as lead judge for Piston Power Show’s high school engine-building competition. As the grand-prize winner, Miranda has his choice of a $1,000 TechForce Foundation tuition scholarship to apply towards his post-secondary technician education or a sponsored Snap-on tool voucher of equal value.

To learn more about the 2019 FutureTechs Rock Awards, visit

Turn 14 Distribution Hosting Third Annual Car Meet June 15

Turn 14 Distribution will host its Third Annual Car Meet, presented by KW Suspensions, June 15, from 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m., at the company’s 272,000 sq.-ft. distribution center, located at 3035 Campus Dr., Hatfield, PA. In collaboration with event promoter Canibeat, the event will feature a variety of modified vehicles of all makes and models, for both the street and track. For 2019, Turn 14 Distribution has introduced preregistration for those who wish to participate in the car show portion of the event. Entrants will have the chance to win an award in one of five categories: Modern Performance, Domestic Performance, European Performance, Truck & Off-Road, and Overall Best in Show.

Turn 14 Distribution has enlisted assistance from vendor partners across all market segments, including Air Lift, Akrapovič, AWE Tuning, BBS Wheels, BMR Suspension, Edelbrock, fifteen52, Fleece Performance, FOX Factory Inc., KW Suspensions, LUND, Mackin Industries, Manley Performance, Mishimoto, Rolling Big Power, Vibrant Performance, and Wilwood Engineering. The midway displays will include local and regional performance shops and retailers, including Crown SpeedLab, Gear One Performance, R/T Tuning, and Subimods. The meet is open to the public, free to enter and all are welcome to attend.

Nexen Tire America Inc. has partnered with The Purple Heart Foundation for a second time to honor a combat-wounded veteran and Purple Heart recipient by giving away a custom ’20 Jeep Gladiator Sport S.

Nexen Tire America, Purple Heart Foundation Team Up for Second Time to Honor Combat-Wounded Veteran With ’20 Jeep Gladiator Giveaway

In the wake of last year’s “American Muscle for American Heroes” program, Nexen Tire America Inc. has partnered with The Purple Heart Foundation for a second time to honor a combat-wounded veteran and Purple Heart recipient by giving away a custom ’20 Jeep Gladiator Sport S. The “Nexen Hero” campaign is designed to honor a well-deserving veteran who was wounded in combat and awarded the Purple Heart Medal by giving away a new Jeep Gladiator equipped with 35-in. Nexen Roadian MTX Extreme Off-Road Mud Terrain tires and several MOPAR aftermarket parts. The campaign began May 15, and the winning recipient, who will be selected by the Purple Heart Foundation, will be announced on National Purple Heart Day, August 7. The program is designed to help bring awareness to the Purple Heart Medal and its recipients to ensure their devotion to the nation does not go unnoticed.

The Jeep Gladiator, which is being customized by Kenny Pfitzer of Zero to 60 Designs in Corona, California, will feature several MOPAR aftermarket parts and other customizations, in addition to one-of-a-kind Nexen Tire and Purple Heart graphics. The nomination period runs until July 24. Nominees must be a member of Military Order of The Purple Heart, and the Jeep Gladiator recipient will be selected by members of the Purple Heart Foundation based on a variety of factors, including heroism, sacrifice and an ongoing commitment to their community. Visit Nexen Tire America’s website to nominate a Purple Heart recipient and for official giveaway rules.

Rugged Ridge
Rugged Ridge plans to take on the eastern and western show circuits with a Volvo VN cab with a 50-ft. trailer, which features a custom wrap showcasing the company’s updated modern Rugged Ridge logo and “Your Jeep. Your Adventure.” slogan.

Rugged Ridge Unveils New Event Trailer to Support Attendance at Off-Road Events and Shows Nationwide

Rugged Ridge has announced it will attend 10 more off-road events and shows nationwide this year: 

  • May 25–26: JeepQuest Expo, Sevierville, Tennessee
  • May 31–June 2: Silver Lake Jeep Invasion, Silver Lake, Michigan
  • June 7–9: Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania
  • June 14–16: NJ Jeep Invasion, Wildwood, New Jersey
  • August 9–11: Toledo Jeep Fest, Toledo, Ohio
  • August 16–18: Muddy Buddy Jeep Jam, Wilmington, Ohio
  • August 23–24: Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
  • Aug 29–September 1: Sheriff’s Jeep Fest, Jasper, Georgia
  • September 21: Annual Jeep Bash, Huntington Beach, California
  • September 28–29: Off Road Expo, Pomona, California

The company also added an additional trailer to its fleet of show vehicles to support the Rugged Ridge team and their customers at industry events across the country. The company has already participated in a number of major events across the United States in 2019, including Myrtle Beach Jeep Jam, Easter Jeep Safari and Jeep Beach. The company’s newly expanded fleet will help to display new products and accessories at future Jeep events nationwide. Rugged Ridge plans to take on the eastern show circuit with a Volvo VN cab with a 50-ft. trailer, which features a custom wrap showcasing the company’s updated modern Rugged Ridge logo and “Your Jeep. Your Adventure.” slogan. Also emblazoned on the trailer is one of the company’s current flagships—an ’18 Jeep Wrangler JL. Rugged Ridge will also tackle the western show circuit with a similarly embellished 53-ft. custom tri-axle trailer featuring the updated Rugged Ridge livery.

Emily PoladianEmily Poladian

Mary Kay Bryja

Mary Kay Bryja

Firestone Industrial Products Announces New President

Firestone Industrial Products Company LLC (FSIP) has announced that Emily Poladian, former director of fleet sales, truck, bus and retread tires (TBR), has been named president, FSIP. Poladian succeeds Craig Schneider, who has been appointed president, diversified products for Bridgestone Americas. In addition, the company named Mary Kay Bryja, former manager, marketing as director, Ride-Ride, FSIP, in a strategic move to appoint employees to new leadership roles based on their expertise and vision for the business moving forward. As president, Poladian will oversee all aspects of the FSIP business, including management of the more than 1,500 employees around the world. She brings more than 20 years of experience in the industrial products industry to the role, having previously served as managing director, Asia strategic business unit (SBU), FSIP. Poladian first joined the business in 1995 as a product engineer, and quickly rose to roles of increasing responsibility, including global manager of strategic planning, FSIP.

As director, Ride-Rite, FSIP, Bryja will lead marketing and sales initiatives for the Ride-Rite business in addition to identifying growth opportunities. She also oversees engineering initiatives for the business. Bryja joined Bridgestone in 2013, playing an important role in building brand and category awareness on the global scale.

OTC DAIHEN Inc. Announces Executive Management Change

OTC DAIHEN Inc. has announced the promotion and appointment of Shinsuke “Luke” Kadota as president and CEO. Kadota replaces Masanobu Uchida, who is returning to Japan to become the executive managing director of KYUHEN Co. Inc. (a subsidiary of DAIHEN Corp.).

Doug Frakes
Doug Frakes

Stertil-Koni Hires Doug Frakes as Operations Specialist

Stertil-Koni has announced that Doug Frakes has joined the company as an operations specialist. He will succeed Paul Marks, who announced his retirement from Stertil-Koni after 21 years of service to the company. In his new post, Frakes will work closely with a broad range of audiences, chiefly the company’s North American distributor network, sales personnel and Stertil-Koni manufacturing locations in the United States and Europe. His prime mission is to process and ship vehicle lift equipment and accessory orders to distributors and customers across North America. Prior to joining Stertil-Koni, Frakes worked for 10 years at FedEx Ground in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. During his tenure, he managed ground operations and new processes implementation, including inbound and outbound sort management and pickup and delivery management operations. Frakes was also responsible for the training and supervision of operations managers and administrators, executing analyses of operational metrics and overseeing compliance with governing regulatory agencies

Air Lift Co. Named Elite in Communication and Shared Vision at Best & Brightest Companies to Work for Gala

Air Lift Co. has announced it has been selected as one of “West Michigan’s Best & Brightest Companies to Work For” for the third year in a row. Air Lift Co. representatives attended the “West Michigan’s Best & Brightest Companies to Work For” gala and awards program, May 7, at the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids, where the company received an Elite Award for excellence in Communication and Shared Vision. The “Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” program provides members of the business community with the opportunity to gain recognition, showcase their best practices and demonstrate why they are an ideal place for their current and future employees to work. All entries were evaluated by an independent research firm, measured and compared based on various categories, including compensation, benefits and employee solutions; employee enrichment, engagement and retention; employee education and development; recruitment, selection and orientation; employee achievement and recognition; communication and shared vision; diversity and inclusion; work-life balance, community initiatives, and strategic company performance.

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