By Ashley Reyes
The SEMA Truck and Off-Road Alliance’s (TORA) newest Volunteer Spotlight member is Kelli Mallicote of BodyGuard Bumpers. Mallicote was featured in 2016 as one of SEMA’s “35 Under 35,” in part for her rising industry talent and role in advancing the industry through her volunteerism with TORA. Check out her video to learn more about her experience and the many ways she gives back to the truck and off-road industry.
SEMA: What inspired you to pursue a career in the truck and off-road industry?
Kelli Mallicote: I’d really like to say that the automotive industry found me, rather than me finding it. I came from a background in the medical field and this was something that I just happened upon. My husband was working in manufacturing when he started BodyGuard Bumpers years ago and I started helping him and just grew to love the industry and the people. It kind of just found me.
SEMA: Why did you decide to volunteer for TORA? How has it or will it impact you?
KM: I decided to volunteer with TORA and get involved around 2014 to 2015. I wanted to meet people in the industry, get connected and just learn more about what the industry was about. It was a personal thing for me as well. I wanted to network and get more involved and I ran for the Select Committee in 2016 to 2018.
SEMA: What advice do you have for someone pursuing a career in the automotive aftermarket?
KM: The best piece of advice that I could give is to get connected. The industry is really big, yet again, it’s really small. All the companies are very well connected, everyone knows everyone and a lot of people see each other frequently at shows. The best advice that I could give is if you have any questions or want to grow in the industry, don’t be afraid to ask. Connect with other people and get to know them. Just get involved.
SEMA: What is your dream truck or off-road vehicle? Where would we find you in it?
KM: My dream vehicle is anything to do with a Jeep. I currently have a Jeep JL, and I love anything outdoors, rock-crawling or anything off-road where we can take the top off and get out and just try and hang out and have fun. I’ve owned a couple of trucks as well. I’m probably more of a truck or Jeep girl; definitely not a car girl.