By Ashley Reyes
The SEMA Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) named Steele Rubber Products as the council's latest member spotlight company.
Get to know the company's breakthrough moment and current project in SEMA’s interview with Steele Rubber Products Senior Marketing and Sales Manager Danny Agosta, below.
SEMA: Tell us about your company.
Danny Agosta: Steele Rubber Products is a manufacturer of weatherstripping and rubber parts for classic cars, trucks and hot rods. Founded in 1958 by Lynn Steele, Steele Rubber is a family-owned and -operated business in the third generation. Today, Steele has over 12,000 rubber parts to seal and protect enthusiasts’ prized possessions. The product line has everything from door seals, trunk weatherstrips, window gaskets, window felts, and many hard-to-find molded parts. With Steele Rubber's customer-centric focus, our representatives treat each customer’s project as if it were their own.
SEMA: What makes your business stand out?
DA: Steele Rubber Products is an American manufacturer with the priority of making exceptional parts and providing unequaled customer service. Steele has been making rubber parts for over 60 years; the expertise and product line is immense. Materials used in production are of the highest quality, incorporating proprietary rubber compounds and premium brass metal cores. Steele is the sole manufacturer of countless parts that allow car lovers to restore the car of their dreams.
SEMA: Tell us about your business now in 2022 and what you’re focused on?
DA: Steele Rubber Products’ focus for 2022 is to pursue an ever-expanding product line and build an extensive resource base. We continue to add parts previously unavailable on the market because there is a passion for providing enthusiasts the means to restore their beloved vehicles. Having the replacement seals and rubber parts to do that is critical. As an organization, Steele also prioritizes creating support materials in the form of how-to videos, blogs, and instructions to assist with any project. In the spirit of providing for the needs of their customer, Steele Rubber also produces seals specifically used on RVs and boats. These seals are made with the same high-quality processes as their flagship products.
SEMA: Tell us about a project you are proud of.
DA: Over the past four years, Steele Rubber Products has developed a comprehensive product line surrounding 1961-1969 Lincoln Continentals. These cars have some of the most complex rubber parts of any American car, and for that reason, were unavailable for the thousands of people restoring them. The result is an entire community of car lovers having the support they need to finish their build.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, another project completed recently are the seals and weatherstripping for 1985-2005 Astro vans – a far cry from a lead-sled Continental, but similarly, one that had no OEM or aftermarket support. Now that owners of these vehicles can prevent leaks, #VanLife just got a little easier.
SEMA: What advice do you have for young professionals contemplating a career in the automotive aftermarket?
DA: Ninety-nine percent of people in the automotive aftermarket are not builders or engineers. The aftermarket is a diverse world, and every type of career has a spot in it. Marketers, salespeople, IT specialist, truck drivers, managers, customer service reps, production labor, custodians, financial executives, project managers, and so much more. Two things that differ the aftermarket from any other industry is the "cool" factor, and the family feel. When people are brought together in an industry surrounded by an interest in a hobby, there's an awesome effect. The saying is, “You never work a day in your life if you love your job,” and that's a fact.
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 social media, SEMA News and future HRIA-member updates.