By Ashley Reyes
Melanie White of Hellwig Products is this week’s featured SEMA Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) volunteer spotlight member. White’s involvement with SEMA began early in her career when she was introduced to TORA through the SEMA mentorship program. She has been making a difference in the industry ever since.
White is known throughout the aftermarket as a proven leader for both her business accomplishments and dedication to the industry. In addition to her previous role as TORA chair, White was named the first female president of Hellwig Products and received the 2018 SEMA Person of the Year award for her exceptional volunteerism and leadership on behalf the specialty-equipment industry.
Get to know what inspires her about the industry in her Q&A with the SEMA Truck and Off-Road Alliance:
SEMA: What inspired you to pursue a career in the truck and off-road industry?
Melanie White: Pursuing a career in the industry happened because it’s a family tradition. My great grandfather and grandfather started the business building load control suspension for cars back in 1946. We remain a family business and it has morphed over time to include more load and sway control suspension for vehicles from UTVs to military and everything in between.
SEMA: Why did you decide to volunteer for TORA? How has it or will it impact you?
MW: TORA was a place I volunteered early in my career, after having Anne Johnson as my mentor. Anne was very involved in the council and she introduced me to people. I loved volunteering for SEMA and TORA after attending my first long-range planning meeting. I was so impressed with what the group was accomplishing for their industry, all by taking off their company hats and working together.
SEMA: What advice do you have for someone pursuing a career in the automotive aftermarket?
MW: My advice would be to volunteer! Offer to help with a network or a council. It is so rewarding, and it allows you such a great opportunity to give back to your industry. It gives you a great network and a unique view of the industry. Plus, didn't we all grow up wanting to make a difference? This is an area where you can make a difference for your industry!
SEMA: What is your dream truck or off-road vehicle? Where would you take that vehicle on any weekend?
MW: My dream truck is a Ford Raptor. And guess what I get to drive everyday? A Raptor. I love it! On winter weekends I can be found in the Cal City with my family riding dirt bikes and off-roading.