By Ashley Reyes
Hushmat and ZyCoat are the latest companies to be recognized by the SEMA Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) member spotlight program. Hushmat is a thermal and sound deadening material designed for cars, trucks, boats and RVs, while ZyCoat provides the automotive industry with hard-wearing thermal coating designed for hard-running engines and exhaust systems—both manufactured by companies under the product’s name. Hear from the CEO and founder of both companies Tim McCarthy as he shares the story of his businesses.
SEMA: Tell us the story of your shops. How did you start?
Tim McCarthy: Since the day I started manufacturing the HushMat brand of sound-deadening and thermal-insulation materials, customers asked me to develop a spray material that provided the same level of performance that HushMat extruded products. For more than 30 years, we evaluated materials and chemistries, and it is not possible for a material of adequate mass and viscosity to flow through an aerosol or spray nozzle. The material simply does not exist. In total we have evaluated hundreds of materials.
SEMA: What was your breakthrough moment?
TM: The breakthrough moment came in 2011 when we found a two-component material being applied to airplane exhaust components. The material was precisely mixed A vs. B and applied directly to exhaust components. The material was used to dissipate heat, extend the life and thrive under jet engine exhaust temperatures. This immediately piqued my interest. We spent just less than seven years reformulating this material into a single component, sprayable chemistry that thrives at 1600 metal surface temperatures. For the record headers “Glow Red” at 1150–1170 F.
SEMA: Tell us about your business now in 2021 and what projects are you working on?
TM: We are working on a new color for the ZyBar line that represents the old-school cast gray to add to the Bronze Satin, Midnight Black and Aluminum (Silver).
SEMA: What excites you most about the hot-rod industry?
TM: The one thing about our hot rod and restoration industry that gets me moving every day is the enthusiasm and love of the automobile that our customers express. Talking with customers directly and hearing this enthusiasm fuels our excitement and passion for this industry.
SEMA: What advice do you have for young professionals contemplating a career in the automotive aftermarket?
TM: Stick to your knitting. In other words, focus on what you are good at and what you know. Everyone has an opinion but you know what you are good at. Stick to it and focus. Don’t try to be everything to all people.
Fill out an HRIA-member spotlight form to highlight how your company is contributing to the hot-rod industry. Selected candidates are eligible to be featured on HRIA’s and media, SEMA eNews and future HRIA-member updates.