SEMA News—December 2011


2011 SEMA Leadership Days

Three Days Brimming With Passion, Education and Service

Leadership Days allowed newly elected council leadership to meet and brainstorm on vital issues affecting the entire specialty-equipment aftermarket. 
As the automotive aftermarket’s foremost trade association, SEMA is a reflection of the aspirations, vision and creative thinking of its vast membership. However, bringing the industry together for the good of all its businesses requires tremendous time and energy. Key to the association’s mission and growth are industry leaders and volunteers who tirelessly give of themselves to serve on the SEMA Board of Directors and member councils. To recognize these individuals and to encourage the emergence of other industry volunteers to join their ranks, SEMA presented its annual Leadership Days program on Wednesday, July 27, through Friday, July 29.

For the SEMA membership at large, this year’s Leadership Days launched with the highly attended Business Technology Symposium on July 27. The popular charity SEMA Pinewood Drag Races—Presented by eBay Motors, then made its annual return on July 29, demonstrating the industry’s desire to take a lead in giving back to communities. Finally, the celebration of leadership and volunteerism closed with the yearly SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser reception and dinner later that evening—always an industry highpoint. Various council, executive and Board meetings were also held concurrently throughout the three-day program.

The following is a SEMA News recap of Leadership Days’ high points.

SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser Honors Industry Leaders

Hundreds of leaders and professionals from the automotive specialty-equipment industry gathered to honor noteworthy icons and volunteers during the 2011 SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, California. Traditionally, the culmination of SEMA Leadership Days, the annual event once again served as the industry’s premier celebration, with SEMA’s newly elected Board of Directors sworn in and four industry icons officially inducted into the trade association’s prestigious Hall of Fame.

“The Installation Banquet & Gala Fund-raiser has always been a special time to pay tribute to the individuals who are working to support and grow the industry and the association,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “I always look forward to the event. It really is a homecoming where industry friends and colleagues gather, swap stories and show their appreciation to the SEMA Board of Directors and Hall of Fame members.”

SEMA Board Chairman Scooter Brothers (left) and President and CEO Chris Kersting (right) also thanked outgoing Board members, such as Source Interlink Media’s Doug Evans, for their service during the annual industry night gala.
The Gala Banquet also honored automotive legends Gray Baskerville, Art Chrisman, Chris Economaki and John Towle with induction into SEMA’s prestigious Hall of Fame.  
The event began with a 6:00 p.m. cocktail gathering, where attendees were able to mix and mingle with other industry professionals, leaders and VIPs. During the sit-down dinner that followed, SEMA’s leadership torch was passed from outgoing Chairman of the Board Rick Rollins of Rollins Performance Companies to Paul “Scooter” Brothers of COMP Performance Group, who will serve a two-year term.

Emcee Dave McClelland hosted the ceremonies that also welcomed the newly elected SEMA Board of Directors, which included Tim Martin of K&N Engineering, Steve Wolcott of ProMedia LLC, Jim Chick of Bestop Inc., J.R. Moore of Performance Warehouse and Greg Adler of Transamerican Auto Parts.

In addition, Nate Shelton of B&M Automotive Group became the new SEMA Chairman-Elect and outgoing Board members Laurel Dasher of Superchips, Zan Martin of Martin & Co. Advertising, Tony Napoli of American Speed Centers, Doug Evans of Source Interlink Media and Ernie Silvers of Egge Machine Co. Inc. were honored and thanked for their substantial contributions to
the industry.

Also, as in prior years, SEMA Hall of Fame inductions formed a major part of the 2011 dinner festivities, with Gray Baskerville, Art Chrisman, Chris Economaki and John Towle welcomed into the roll call of industry elite.

2011 SEMA Business Technology Symposium Delivers Insight

As part of Leadership Days, SEMA helped automotive businesses understand the latest technology trends and opportunities at the annual Business Technology Symposium, July 27, at Long Beach, California’s, Renaissance Hotel. Throughout the daylong gathering, Business Technology Symposium participants learned proven strategies and best practices from experts in the fields of online marketing, multimedia sales and eCommerce to become more productive online.

Developed by SEMA’s Street Performance Council (SPC), the event has become a prime business development forum offering several unique opportunities to gain competitive advantages through the implementation of effective technology-based strategies.

  Official Results HRIA Builders Challenge
Winner: Street Vizions
Runner-Up: Rich Evans

Unlimited Class
Winner: Mitch Williams
Runner-Up: eBay Motors

Grand National Trophy
(fastest time of the meet)
Mitch Williams: 2.85 seconds

Modified Class
Winner: Tony Schumacher

Stock Class
Winner: Justin Hoffend

Build it For Me Class
Winner: Justin Hoffend

SEMA Council Cup
Winner: Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council


“Given today’s competitive marketplace, companies are relying more and more on emerging technologies for brand building, lead generation and, in some cases, as a primary source of commerce,” said Tyler Tanaka, vice president of business development at PostRelease, which, along with the SPC, was a key symposium organizer. “Technology is continuing to revolutionize the way business is conducted in the automotive aftermarket, and our members’ businesses are ever changing as a result. We wanted to give them the necessary tools to be prepared, understand and take advantage of the potential opportunities that exist while doing business in today’s digital world.”

Steve Yankovich, eBay vice president of Mobile, delivered the day’s keynote address, which focused on how the mobile medium has become increasingly influential in automotive purchases. Business technology supersessions also covered a diverse range of topics under five main conference titles: Manufacturer and Distributor Online Marketing Essentials; Mobile’s Role in the Automotive Aftermarket; Connecting With Customers: Effective Content Marketing; Capture, Manage and Nurture Leads to Win More Customers; and Product Design and Manufacturing Technology That Could Change the Aftermarket.
“SEMA members are really engaged in furthering their marketing education,” said Kirsten Knipp, director of product evangelism with HubSpot, who was a speaker for the Capture, Manage and Nurture Leads session. “Because specialty products and services benefit disproportionately from getting found online via inbound marketing, it was gratifying to be able to share new data about search, social media and even modern middle-of-the-funnel marketing optimization with this group.”

Many Business Technology Symposium attendees agreed with the need for the sort of ongoing technological education the symposium offers each year.

“I first attended the Business Technical Symposium two years ago when social media was a new territory that the industry began exploring as a marketing tool,” said Cheralyn Smith of Advanced Clutch Technology Inc. (ACT). “I was able to bring some valuable practices to the office that we still use every day at ACT. This year, I had the opportunity to be on the Manufacturer and Distributor Online Marketing Essentials panel. That really gave me a chance to share our experiences, hear what is working for other companies and get an inside perspective on how social media continues to grow and transform marketing in the industry.”

“During challenging economic times, the automotive aftermarket requires an extra gear to compete, sustain and grow, and the Business Technology Symposium very much complied with the business savvy necessary to rise in the aftermarket business environment,” added Dick Dixon, director of the International Motorsports Alliance at California State University San Bernardino, who also attended the event.

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