Councils & Networks

Volunteer Appreciation: Honoring SEMA Volunteers Who Advance the Automotive Aftermarket

By Ashley Reyes

Volunteers are essential to SEMA and the industry throughout the year, assisting SEMA staff with many of the member benefits that the association offers. From planning and executing programs to developing solutions to market-specific challenges, volunteers work diligently to benefit the automotive aftermarket community.

SEMA Volunteers

In celebration of National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 21-27), SEMA is proud to honor its volunteers who give so much to the industry. It's through their time, passion and knowledge that SEMA, as a trade association, can fulfill its mission to help its business members succeed and prosper. 

"Many of the programs that SEMA offers would not exist without our volunteers," said Zane Clark, SEMA vice president of membership, education, research and councils. "We are extremely grateful for their contributions, whether that be through one of our nine council and network communities, the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund, our charity arm SEMA Cares or being involved in our legislative efforts."  

Key programs led by volunteers that have flourished in the past year include the Future Leaders Network (FLN) Professional Development Program for aspiring aftermarket leaders held in partnership with Dale Carnegie Training, the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) Cup Challenge competition at the SEMA Show for automotive restylers, the SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN) Women's Leadership Forum and the Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN)/Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Career Fair for students pursuing careers in the automotive field. These events not only raised awareness of the various industry segments and career opportunities available but also helped industry members elevate their careers and businesses.   

SEMA Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) and Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) volunteers promoted the hot-rod and automotive restoration markets at consumer-driven events. HRIA volunteers organized the HRIA Education Days program that educates aftermarket consumers about hot-rod manufacturers' products through educational seminars at the National Street Rod Association (NSRA) Street Rod Nationals. ARMO volunteers hosted their ARMO Hot Products Showcase at Spring Carlisle, raising awareness of 81 products from ARMO member companies in a high-traffic area of the event. Both of these programs allowed manufacturers the opportunity to gain exposure of their brand and educate the industry about their product offerings. 

Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) volunteers are expanding the diversity of East Coast media and manufacturers who attend the MPMC Media Trade Conference, announcing that the event is relocating from Los Angeles, California, to Orlando, Florida, in 2025. The conference is a staple program that makes it easy for motorsports manufacturers to share detailed information about their products with journalists, editors, writers, podcasters, content creators and social-media influencers.

Volunteers of the newly rebranded Wheel, Tire, Suspension & Brake Council (WTSBC)--previously the Wheel & Tire Council (WTC)--hosted monthly Coffee & Conversation events over the past year, offering industry members a convenient, online platform to discuss industry opportunities and expand their professional network. Volunteers led discussions on advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), legislative changes, new vehicle technology and more. "The discussion is short and packed with nuggets to help most anyone connected in the business," said Kelly Austin of 9six9 Wheels

Truck & Off-Road Alliance (TORA) volunteers showcased the diverse truck and off-road industry landscape through its TORA feature vehicle program at the 2023 SEMA Show. The program highlighted 10 vehicle builds from TORA member companies in a premier Show location, highlighting the unique ways that aftermarket products and technologies can be used.  

SEMA Volunteers Appreciation

SEMA Cares volunteers continue to make a positive impact beyond the automotive community, raising $138,064.33 in 2023 to benefit its partnering children's charities: Austin Hatcher Foundation for pediatric cancer; Childhelp for the prevention and treatment of child abuse; and Victory Junction camp for children with serious medical conditions and illnesses. By incorporating the joy of automotive into fun activities and fundraising, SEMA Cares volunteers are able to give young minds a very important relief from hard circumstances, even if only for a brief moment.

During National Volunteer Appreciation Week, SEMA extends its gratitude to all volunteers who continue to make a difference in the industry and the lives of others. For information on how to volunteer for SEMA councils and networks, fill out the council inquiry form. To learn more about volunteering for SEMA Cares, visit