Following more than 30 years of service to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), President and CEO Chris Kersting will be stepping down at the end of January 2022 to enjoy retirement. The move comes as SEMA concludes a successful 2021, delivering two of the nation’s largest in-person trade shows since the start of the pandemic—the SEMA Show in Las Vegas and PRI Show in Indianapolis.
“Our mission at SEMA is to help our member companies succeed and prosper,” said Kersting. “Pursuing that mission has provided three decades of exciting and fulfilling work—engaging with the outstanding people in our industry to find new and better ways to help them thrive. Together with our talented SEMA team, we’ve built a truly innovative portfolio of services and benefits—and certainly one of the greatest trade shows in the world. You couldn’t ask for a better career.”
Kersting joined SEMA in 1996 to lead the organization’s Washington, D.C., office as vice president of legislative and technical affairs. Kersting took the helm as SEMA’s CEO in 2002 and led the Association through two decades of growth. Milestones include launching the SEMA Data Co-op, the SEMA Garage and Emissions Lab, SEMA Ignited, the PRI acquisition, the SEMA Garage in Detroit and developing the globally recognized SEMA Show.
“Chris led SEMA through tremendously successful stretches, and also skillfully helped the association navigate the challenges of COVID-19, and the worldwide recession back in 2008,” said James Lawrence, SEMA chairman of the Board. “On behalf of the SEMA Board, and millions of automotive enthusiasts everywhere, we wish Chris the best of luck in the next stage of his life.”
Beginning February 1, 2022, Kersting will transition into an advisory role through July 2022. SEMA executives Bill Miller, senior vice president of operations, and Mike Spagnola, vice president of OEM and product development programs, will serve as interim co-CEOs.