SEMA News—July 2011

Company Hosts Newest Congressional Motorsports Caucus Member

U.S. Congressman Randy Hultgren Visits Auto Meter Headquarters

By Dan Sadowski

  Rep. Randy Hultgren (left) joins Auto Meter President and CEO Jeff King
Rep. Randy Hultgren (left) joins Auto Meter President and CEO Jeff King in a discussion on federal issues impacting the automotive specialty-equipment market. Courtesy Kyle Bursaw, The Daily Chronicle
Auto Meter Products recently welcomed U.S. Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-IL) for a tour of its headquarters in Sycamore, Illinois. Auto Meter officials had already developed a working relationship with Rep. Hultgren, having hosted a previous visit and attending several other functions before last year’s election. This tour was part of SEMA’s District Site Visits Program, which connects lawmakers with SEMA members.

The visit showcased Auto Meter’s new department for producing battery-testing products. The department employs six new workers, and Rep. Hultgren was pleased to witness the company’s growth.

“Having the opportunity to visit Auto Meter served as a fantastic reminder of the need for us to have strong local businesses at the forefront of our economic recovery,” said Rep. Hultgren. “While success stories like Auto Meter’s are proof that things are starting to move in the right direction, we must continue to work to ensure that we create an environment that supports the role local businesses play in growing jobs and the economy.”

The visit included a roundtable discussion with Auto Meter President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff King, Chief Financial Officer Kent Alcott, Vice President of Operations Dean Panettieri and Vice President of Sales and Marketing and SEMA Board of Directors member Jeep Worthan.

Rep. Hultgren provided a legislative update from Washington. He spoke about the need to restore fiscal discipline, balance the budget and adopt pro-growth policies to support American manufacturing. He also stressed the need for a permanent research and development tax credit to spur job creation and innovation.

“Rising gas prices are also a concern for our company,” said King. “It makes it difficult for consumers to pay their bills, and it removes discretionary dollars from their pockets. Our company thrives on sales to enthusiasts who spend discretionary money to go racing.”

Corporate taxes were also a topic of conversation. In addition to federal tax burdens, Alcott noted that the corporate income tax rate in Illinois is high and growing. Rep. Hultgren agreed and observed that the brunt of the burden was falling on the shoulders of small- and medium-size companies.

Auto Meter Chief Financial Officer Kent Alcott (right) describes Auto Meter’s product line.
Rep. Hultgren recently joined the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus as a direct result of outreach efforts by Worthan. Formed in 1996, the bipartisan caucus serves to raise the industry’s profile on Capitol Hill by recognizing the contributions that the automotive performance and motorsports industry have made to the U.S. economy.

Congressman Hultgren is serving his first term representing Illinois’ 14th Congressional District, which includes Kane and Kendall Counties as well as parts of Bureau, DeKalb, DuPage, Henry, Lee and Whiteside Counties.

Rep. Hultgren graduated from Bethel College in 1977 and later attended Chicago-Kent College of Law. After graduating from law school in 1993, Hultgren was elected to the DuPage County Board and County Forest Preserve Board in 1994. He was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1999 and to the Illinois State Senate in 2007.

Auto Meter manufactures performance and specialty vehicle instrumentation, data acquisition systems, ruggedized video recording systems, tire-pressure monitoring systems, integrated displays, drag-racing launch and speed control systems, next-generation professional electrical system analyzers and battery testing and maintenance products. Auto Meter’s brands include Auto Meter, Dedenbear Products, Stack, GaugeWorks and Autogage.

The Congressional District Site Visit Program is overseen by SEMA’s government affairs office in Washington, D.C. Given that members of Congress will be in their home districts more often this year, companies interested in hosting an event with their elected officials are encouraged to contact SEMA Congressional Affairs Manager Dan Sadowski via e-mail or by phone at 202/783-6007 x19.

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