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Movers & Shakers: Riverside City College Seeks SEMA Members for New Event; Ben Patel Joins Cooper Tire

Compiled by SEMA Editors

Riverside, California, College Seeking SEMA Members for Outreach Event

Riverside City College is seeking automotive aftermarket professionals to participate in an automotive networking event designed to cultivate the next generation of enthusiasts.

Students of Riverside City College are seeking automotive aftermarket industry professionals to participate in an automotive networking event designed to cultivate the next generation of automotive enthusiasts. Participating individuals are invited to share their career paths with students and provide advice on what's needed to be a successful automotive aftermarket professional, while educating students about their businesses.

The Riverside City College Automotive Networking Event will take place December 3, at the school's campus, located in Riverside, California, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Automotive employers can also meet with qualified candidates to discuss what skills and connections they need to reach their goals, making this one-of-a-kind event beneficial to all attendees involved.

For questions regarding the event or how to participate, contact Angelica Alcantar at 951-858-0924 or

Lubrication Specialties Inc. Hires Nikki Stoughton as 
Director of Marketing

Nikki Stoughton

Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI) President Brett Tennar recently announced the appointment of Nikki Stoughton as the company’s new director of marketing. Stoughton is an award-winning brand manager with a history of developing data-driven marketing strategy to identify new product or market opportunities. She has a background of account-based, integrated marketing for diverse industries, including hospitality, chemical, financial, education and pharmaceutical. Immediately prior to her position at LSI, she worked first as a solutions marketing manager and then brand marketing manager for CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society, where she managed the company’s flagship brand SciFindern. As brand marketing manager, Stoughton exhibited an ability to create initiatives that ensured rapid market adoption and outstanding customer engagement. Prior, Stoughton worked as the marketing manager at Exceptional Innovation Inc., where she was responsible for account-based marketing, branding, market strategy, budgets, communications and events.

Nick D’AgostinoNick D’Agostino

UEM Pistons Announces Nick D’Agostino as Director of Product Development

United Engine & Machine Co. has announced the addition of Nick D’Agostino as its director of product development. In his new role, D’Agostino will manage development of both cast and forged piston applications. With more than 19 years in the automotive industry, D’Agostino’s core competency rests firmly in performance racing, which is an asset for the ICON Forged Piston lineup. He will also be at the helm of development for product lines, including Silivolite Pistons and KB Hypereutectic Pistons, all while tasked with the reintroduction of the new Dualoy Diesel Piston lineup.

Ben Patel Joins Cooper Tire

Ben PatelBen Patel

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. named Ben Patel senior vice president and chief technology officer. Patel is responsible for product planning and development, as well as engineering and technology across all regions. He leads a technology organization that includes a global technical center as well as technical centers in Asia, Europe and North America.

Patel joins Cooper following eight years at Tenneco Inc., where he most recently served as senior vice president, chief technology officer. In an earlier role at Tenneco, he served in the Global Clean Air Division as its vice president, global research and development, and helped create new products for global light and commercial vehicle customers to meet environmental and performance standards.

Earlier in his career, Patel spent 12 years at General Electric (GE), including a senior research scientist position at GE’s Global Research Center within the Polymer and Chemical Technology Laboratory.

BASF Supports Future Technicians With Donation to CREF

From left: Jeff Wildman, OEM Manager for BASF; Tiffany Bulak, CREF Development and Marketing Coordinator; Jane Niemi, BASF Refinish NA Marketing Manager; and Brandon Eckenrode, CREF Director of Development.

Thanks to BASF's recent commitment, students enrolled in automotive refinish programs can look forward to new spray guns and other resources. The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) announced that it has received donations from BASF, including spray guns, paint, materials and equipment with an estimated value of $200,000 that will support multiple automotive refinish programs and students around the country.

Donations went to schools demonstrating a strong curriculum for educating students in collision repair, which need assistance due to strained school budgets. A portion of the donated spray guns will also be available through an upcoming CREF Student Scholarship & Tool Grant program set to begin in early 2020. BASF also raised money for CREF at a private customer event during the 2019 SEMA Show.

Mitchell 1, ASE Present 2019 Technician of the Future Award

Zachery WardZachery Ward (middle) was named the 2019 Mitchell 1 2019 Mitchell 1/Snap-on Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Technician of the Future.

Zachery Ward of Massena, New York, was named the 2019 Mitchell 1/Snap-on Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Technician of the Future during the recent ASE Fall Board of Governors Meeting and Annual Technician Awards. Ward received a $1,000 cash prize, a one-year subscription to ProDemand auto repair software from Mitchell 1, along with airfare and hotel accommodations to attend the event to receive his award.

During high school, Ward attended BOCES Seaway Tech in Norwood, New York. He then earned a two-year degree in automotive technology from The State University of New York in Morrisville and is currently enrolled in classes to obtain a master’s degree in technology, with the goal of teaching automotive classes. Ward has worked as an automotive technician at a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealership since May 2019.

To qualify to win the Mitchell 1/Snap-on ASE Technician of the Future award, the winner must be ASE Certified, must have registered as a student and have the highest cumulative test scores on the A4, A5, A6 and A8 tests.

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