SEMA News—February 2011

  SEMA News-February 2011-Industry News-Scholarship Fund
Applications for the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund are now available and are due April 1.
Students preparing for careers in the automotive industry may be eligible to receive financial awards ranging from $1,000–$4,000 through the 2011 SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund. The scholarship application, which is due April 1 and requires college transcripts and letters of recommendation, is now available here.

Unlike financial aid and student loans, the SEMA Memorial Scholarship is a one-time award that does not have to be paid back. Awards are granted to eligible applicants based on academic achievements, work experience, community involvement, essay content and recommendations. Students may re-apply each year, provided that they still meet the eligibility criteria. A loan forgiveness award is also available to recent graduates who are working for SEMA-member companies and paying off existing student loans.

Winners will be notified in the summer of 2011. Scholarship payments are sent directly to the student’s college, university, trade or vocational school to help offset the cost of tuition. Loan-forgiveness payments are sent directly to the financial institutions. Details and applications for both the scholarship and the loan forgiveness awards are available at

For more information, contact Juliet Marshall at or 909/978-6655.

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Living Legends Share Their Story

The Quarter Mile Foundation took full advantage of the 2010 SEMA Show to capture the oral histories of 14 drag-racing and performance aftermarket pioneers. Starting with racer/track operator/magazine publisher Harry “Hand Grenade” Hibler and concluding with racer/track operator/manufacturer 90-year-old Louie Senter, the team captured a gold mine of memories, observations and funny and poignant stories of these legends and their lives and times, as well as their contemporaries. Traci Hrudka, chairman of Quarter Mile Foundation, producers of the “PROJECT 1320” documentary series, explained that the photo shoot provided a tremendous boost to the ongoing project.

“We secured 11.25 hours of priceless footage, and director/cinematographer Stephen Krystek has told the foundation that he can begin to see how these interviews are beginning to link together and provide additional directions to explore with other legends to be interviewed,” said Hrudka. She added, “We would also like to extend a sincere ‘thank you’ to SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting, Chuck Schwartz, CEO of ConvExx, and their staffs for providing us with the opportunity to reach so many of our legends in a single location. This could not have occurred without them.”

  SEMA News-February 2011-Louie Senter 
Louie Senter joined 13 other drag-racing pioneers in a special studio located at the LVCC for a series of interviews hosted by the Quarter Mile Foundation. 

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Tech Transfer: Craft Focus Parts to Ford’s Specs

  SEMA News-February 2011-SEMA Tech Transfer Program-2012 Ford Focus
The SEMA Tech Transfer program now has CAD data files for the ’12 Ford Focus.  
The SEMA Tech Transfer program has expanded again with the addition of computer-aided design (CAD) data files for the ’12 Ford Focus. The CAD files currently available for the Focus sedan include chassis, exhaust and suspension and brakes. The Focus CAD files include the 2.0L engine with air cleaner and exhaust manifold and front and rear fascia/bumpers for all models.

In addition to accessing files directly from the automakers, a key benefit of the Tech Transfer program is that the database is constantly expanding. While the CAD data mentioned above is available immediately and additional components can also be requested from Ford through the program.

The intent of SEMA’s Tech Transfer program, which is available exclusively to SEMA manufacturing members, is to minimize or completely eliminate the necessity of reverse engineering to produce products. The program houses a database of CAD files provided by participating original-equipment manufacturers, which currently include Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Scion.

For more information about the Tech Transfer Program, contact SEMA at 909/396-0289 and ask for Gary Pis (x6732) or Oscar Muñoz (x6731).


New Conference Helps Wheel and Tire Companies Increase Sales, Drive Traffic

  SEMA News-February 2011-Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) 
SEMA’s Wheel & Tire Council will host its inaugural WTC Conference and Product Showcase on February 9, offering both a product showcase for manufacturers and an educational package, including seminars and training panels.
Join SEMA’s Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) as it hosts the inaugural WTC Conference and Product Showcase on February 9 at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California. The event boasts three educational and training panels covering topics that include profit building, web search, social media and industry trends. The discussions will focus on techniques and practices to help wheel and tire businesses increase sales and drive traffic.

The conference also features a product showcase that allows manufacturers to exhibit new products and receive valuable feedback prior to hitting the market. Attendees will get a chance to stay ahead of industry trends and learn about new services that will benefit their day-to-day operations—not to mention a display of customized vehicles for attendees to enjoy!

The day’s festivities will be anchored by the WTC Long-Range Planning meeting, a critical initiative that sets the agenda for the group’s activities in the coming year. WTC invites wheel and tire pros to get involved and participate in this meeting by offering concerns, feedback and suggestions for the direction of the wheel and tire industry segment.

For additional information on the WTC Conference and Product Showcase, visit

Fast Facts

  SEMA News-February 2011-S. Kellie Colf 

S. Kellie Colf

S. Kellie Colf
was appointed vice president of sales for the Aftermarketer Club. Colf will work to help grow the company’s presence among aftermarket and auto industry companies. Prior to this appointment, she worked as the market development manager for Eaton Detroit Spring for six years. She has more than a decade’s worth of sales and marketing experience with some of the top companies in the auto industry. Colf was named “Woman of the Year” by the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network for 2010, and she currently sits on several SEMA committees. Aftermarketer Club, Scottsdale, AZ; 602/412-3426.

The National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Board of Trustees named Steve Carey, NTEA senior director of operations, to replace long-time Executive Director Jim Carney. Carney will retire on April 30, 2012, after what will be a 36-year career with the NTEA (35 years as executive director). Due to Carney’s longevity in the position, the NTEA board wanted to establish a succession path well before his retirement. The board selected Carey based on his 12 years of experience with the association, his knowledge of the industry and his awareness of members’ needs and concerns. NTEA, Farmington Hills, MI; 248/489-7090.

Longtime NASCAR executive Ken Clapp and high-profile attorney Michael C. Cohen were elected to the NHRA Board of Directors. Clapp has a distinguished background in motorsports and has worked in a variety of executive positions at the sport’s top levels. Cohen is a partner in Morrison & Foerster LLP, a major national and international law firm. He heads the corporate finance practice group from the firm’s Los Angeles office. NHRA, Glendora, CA; 626/914-4671.

  SEMA News-February 2011-Ruth Ehlinger

Ruth Ehlinger

Ruth Ehlinger
was elected president of the Car Care Council Women’s Board. Ehlinger will preside over all meetings and help supervise the affairs of the board for a three-year term. She has been a member of the Women’s Board since 2001. In addition to the presidency, Ehlinger will continue to serve as the chair of the Consumer Education Committee until a new chairperson is chosen.

Roush Performance moved into a new headquarters in Plymouth Township, Michigan. The 65,000 sq.-ft. building is located at 39555 Schoolcraft Rd. in Plymouth Township. The toll-free customer service and warranty line remains 800/59-ROUSH, and the central fax number remains 734/466-6940. All direct lines to individual employees are unchanged as well. The company reports that the new building allows it to further expand its installation center for customer-owned vehicle modifications.

  SEMA News-February 2011-Frank Dettmers 

Frank Dettmers

Frank Dettmers
, a collision instructor at WyoTech–Laramie, recently earned the 2010 Dream Maker Award. The Dream Maker Award, presented by WyoTech’s parent company, Corinthian Colleges Inc., recognizes extraordinary instructors who have changed students’ lives for the better through education. Dettmers was one of eight instructors from more than 100 campuses across the United States and Canada selected to receive the 2010 award. Dettmers is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence in both nonstructural analysis and damage repair and structural analysis and damage repair. WyoTech, Laramie, WY; 307/742-3776.

Detroit Speed announced its newest dealer and certified installer, Steve’s Auto Restorations. Detroit Speed stated that this dealer partnership will help DSE provide customers in the upper northwest with a good stocking parts supplier as well as a world-class parts installer and fabricator. Steve’s Auto Restorations, based in Portland, Oregon, is a multifaceted shop that specializes in custom vehicles ranging from capable cruise-night machines to highly detailed, top-echelon show-stoppers. Detroit Speed, Mooresville, N.C.; 704/662-3272.

Driven Public Relations has hired John “Jono” Bautista as director of new business development. According to the company, Bautista has an extensive array of expertise in the automotive, motorcycle, motorsports, marine, automotive aftermarket and environmental-technology industries. He brings with him 25 years of business development and engineering experience.

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NSF International Strategic Registrations Ltd
appointed William Niedzwiecki as its president and general manager. He will help expand the company’s management system registration services both domestically and abroad. According to a release, Niedzwiecki will work closely with NSF’s other business units and international offices to assess industry needs across a global and diverse organization.

Formula Drift Holdings LLC, operators of the Formula Drift Championship, and Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, operators of the Yas Marina Circuit, have announced the Inaugural Formula Drift UAE Invitational Competition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on February 25, 2011. According to the companies, eight of the top drivers and cars from Formula Drift will showcase world-class drifting to the Persian Gulf region in a competition format. Formula Drift Holdings, Long Beach, CA; 562/901-2600.

Michael Cardone Jr., chief executive officer of Cardone Industries Inc., was selected as the first chairman of the newly formed Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA), an affiliate association of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).

Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. promoted Bill Stevenson to regional sales manager. He is responsible for the sales region that includes Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and part of Indiana. Stevenson joined Toyo in October 2008, serving on the company’s northeast team as a district sales manager. Toyo Tire, Cypress, CA; 714/236-2080.

CarDomain launched a new website, The new site, which CarDomain touts as a blog of sorts, features content contributed solely by members of the CarDomain community. The company says that the site is ideal to share car show photos, burnout videos, eBay listings and more. CarDomain, Los Angeles, CA; 310/882-2086.

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American Suzuki Motor Corp. (ASMC) automotive operations added two new employees to the Suzuki public relations team—Shamit Choksey and Aaron Zeuli. Choksey joins Suzuki as the product publicity manager for the communications and public relations department. Prior to joining ASMC, he worked as an automotive journalist and producer for “MotorWeek” and had an extensive career working behind the scenes in television as a writer, production/media coordinator and television development assistant. Zeuli joins the PR team as a public relations specialist from within the walls of American Suzuki, where he most recently served as a logistics coordinator and automotive marketing/auto show specialist. American Suzuki, Brea, CA; 714/996-7040.

Bradley David Productions Inc. has changed its name to MadStache Inc., reflecting a change in ownership that took place earlier this year. The new name is a reference to the trademark mustache of Dennis Gage, host of the firm’s flagship television series, “My Classic Car.” Gage became a co-owner of the company soon after its founding in 1994; he became the sole owner in January 2010. While primarily known for television production with a number of series and specials to its credit, MadStache is a full-service, multimedia company recognized for award-winning commercial production. Madstache Inc., Evansville, IN; 812/425-4454. 


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Coast Tire & Auto Service
received the 2010 Dealer of the Year award from ASA Tire Systems. The award recognizes a customer that has proven to be a strong partner by embracing technology and innovation and assisting ASA in driving the development of its software solutions. Coast Tire has exemplified these characteristics. ASA Tire Systems, Merrimack, NH; 603/889-8700. Synergy Racing announced that Ken Grammer has returned to the team to assume responsibility for daily operations. Grammer was originally a member of the management staff during the 2004–2005 season, which culminated in the team winning the 2005 Grand-Am Rolex GT Driver’s Championship. Grammer takes over for Kerrigan Smith, Synergy Racing acting general manager, who accepted the position of director of track operations with Virginia International Raceway.

Classic Collision opened a new collision-repair center in Sandy Springs, Georgia. The 70,000-sq.-ft. facility occupies the former Tom Jumper parts and service buildings, and the company expects the facility to handle as many as 8,000 vehicles annually. The company also reported that the facility will employ 40–50 people in the coming year.

Pirelli recently announced plans to construct its first tire-production plant in Mexico. The new factory, to be located in the city of Silao (about 400 kilometers from Mexico City), will produce high-performance and ultra-high-performance tires for cars and light trucks. Pirelli reported that it will initially invest approximately $210 million in the plant, which Pirelli says will generate 700 direct and 300 indirect jobs in the local Silao area. The facility will cover an area of 120,000 sq. m. and will be operational in 2012. Pirelli, Rome, VA; 800/747-3554.

The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) RallyCross National Championship has been relocated to the I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Nebraska, for the event set for October 7–9, 2011. The RallyCross National Championship will be hosted by the Nebraska region and joins the SCCA Tire Rack Solo National Championship in Lincoln, Nebraska, as SCCA National Championship events in the Cornhusker State. The 2011 RallyCross National Challenge season began with the Eastern States Championship at Stafford (Connecticut) Speedway on January 15–16, 2011. For more information, visit SCCA, Topeka, KS; 785/357-7222.

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