SEMA News—February 2012
By Chad Simon
John Menzler: 2011 SEMA Person of the Year
Long-Time SEMA Member and Industry Veteran Is Recognized for His Role as a Mentor
Applause filled the room as John Menzler of the COMP Performance Group took the podium to receive the 2011 Person of the Year Award at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
SEMA presented John Menzler of the COMP Performance Group with the 2011 Person of the Year Award at the SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet in Las Vegas on the evening of Thursday, November 3. As a longtime SEMA member as well as a Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) and Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) Select Committee member and mentor to many in the industry, Menzler received ringing applause as banquet emcee Dave McClelland announced to a packed house, “Congratulations, John!”
Created in 1969, the Person of the Year Award recognizes individuals for their distinguished service to the trade association and the specialty-equipment industry. One of SEMA’s most prestigious honors, the Person of the Year Award is presented in front of thousands of industry leaders and professionals during the annual banquet at the SEMA Show.
“Being named SEMA Person of the Year is the highlight of my automotive career; it still hasn’t sunk in yet,” Menzler said. “Nobody sets out to become Person of the Year, and you don’t do it for the accolades; you do it to help the industry. It’s all about giving back. I’ve been involved in the councils for 20 years; it’s the backbone of what SEMA is about. I always say that SEMA is the greatest organization in the world, and they also put on a Show.”
McClelland took time to highlight Menzler’s contributions to the industry, making it clear that his compassion and advice helped solve problems both in his work at COMP Performance Group and in his numerous volunteer projects.
“[Menzler] is quick to offer advice and guidance to anyone who needs it,” said McClelland. “Helping others bring their ideas alive is a common thread running through his active involvement in SEMA councils and committees and in his mentoring and volunteer work, such as during this year’s Childhelp and Victory Junction Pinewood drag race.”
Menzler was clearly emotional as he made his way to the podium, while the cheers and applause continued to echo throughout the ballroom. Having been involved in the automotive aftermarket for several decades, Menzler’s service and volunteer efforts have also been officially recognized previously. He was announced as the winner of the Mentor of the Year award in 2010 at the SEMA SBN Networking Breakfast, where he received the only standing ovation of the morning.
Menzler is actively involved in SEMA’s HRIA and ARMO councils. He also served on the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Select Committee from the council’s inception in 1995 until June 2010. He chaired the council from 2004–2006 and, when his tenure as immediate past chair/advisor was over in 2006, he immediately ran and was re-elected to the Select Committee. He is the only recipient of the MPMC Industry Recognition Award, presented to him in 2000, and he was inducted into the MPMC Hall of Fame in 2010. Menzler also owns a SEMA-member company called Inventive Marketing/MotoFeet.
We hope the entire industry will join SEMA in congratulating 2011 SEMA Person of the Year John Menzler.