SEMA News—June 2012

The 2012–2015 SEMA Board of Directors Candidates

The 2012–2015 SEMA Board of Directors Candidates:

John Hotchkis (Incumbent)
Adrian Murray (Incumbent)
Tracie Nunez
Russell Stephens
Tim Watts (Incumbent)

Jim Bingham (Incumbent)
Tom Brooks
Nick Gramelspacher

Luanne Brown (Incumbent)
Bill Holland
Bob Moore (Incumbent)

Get to Know the Nominees

Eleven industry professionals are vying for positions on the 2012–2015 SEMA Board of Directors.

The SEMA Board provides strategic direction to the association and plays a critical role in shaping the future of the automotive specialty-equipment industry. On May 8, election materials were mailed to the primary contacts at eligible SEMA-member companies.

The voting process is entirely electronic this year and will be ongoing from May 14, until voting closes on June 12. Election results will be published in an upcoming issue of SEMA News.

SEMA News collected biographical information and statements from the candidates running for positions on the board.

The remarks and opinions expressed by each candidate are solely his or her statements. SEMA does not take responsibility for the accuracy or content of any of the candidates’ messages. The statements made by the candidates do not necessarily represent the views of SEMA. Candidate information is presented in alphabetical order by category.

For more information about the 2012–2015 SEMA Board of Directors election, contact Arlene Wood at or call 909/978-6671.

 Candidates for Manufacturers Category

John Hotchkis

  John Hotchkis, SEMA BOD Elections 
My two years of SEMA Board service have flown by. There is much more to accomplish! I am grateful for the opportunity to run again for the Board of Directors. As a manufacturer, I believe that our trade association needs to have strong voices with a deep understanding of the daily challenges facing manufacturers and business owners. I wholeheartedly believe in the benefits SEMA offers its membership and want to continue to ensure that your views and opinions are represented on the board.

Following 10 years in motorsports and graduation from Art Center College of Design, I entered our industry in 1989 as marketing director of Guldstrand Engineering Inc. In 1992, I founded Hotchkis Performance to manufacture performance suspension. I continue to serve as president, responsible for design, engineering, manufacturing and marketing. I believe in the value of a robust, nationwide and international product distribution system, and early on I signed up an extremely effective group of warehouse distributors, jobbers and installers.

In 2011, I was honored to be awarded the Young Executives Network (YEN) Vanguard Award for my work mentoring young enthusiasts in the aftermarket. I have been a member of the YEN and currently serve on the Street Performance Council and SEMA Cares Committee. I also serve on a SEMA task force to improve the council system.

Away from the industry I am involved with numerous business and social clubs and raise money for Sarcoma cancer research. I continue to enjoy motorsports and track events, and our ‘70 Challenger “E-Max” project car remains the fastest Mopar in the Goodguys Autocross. Racing is an effective medium to showcase parts and conduct extreme product research.

My enthusiasm for the industry continues unabated. After more than 20 years of immersion in the business of speed and entertainment, I am excited to continue helping SEMA members prosper in these exciting yet challenging times. A smaller SEMA Board makes this election critical—as a manufacturer, I understand your challenges and will be your voice.

Thank you for your support, and please contact me anytime with questions or concerns.

Adrian Murray

  Adrian Murray, SEMA BOD Elections
It is a great privilege and an honor to serve on the SEMA Board of Directors, as it is a vehicle by which to give back to this industry that has been my home since 1978. I am asking for your vote for a second term on the board.

It has been an interesting and rewarding 34-year journey, from servicing traditional jobbers and warehouse distributors in Southern California and heavy-duty fleets in Texas to performance distributors and volume retailers while vice president of sales for Edelbrock and now as president and owner of Painless Performance Products in Fort Worth. This rich cross-section of experience in every facet of the aftermarket has provided the perspective needed to embrace the challenges before us.

Wherever there is challenge, there is opportunity. In the years ahead, we must confront an aging demographic, technological hurdles, shifting distribution patterns, legislative obstacles, infringement upon intellectual property rights, regulatory burdens and more. Turning these challenges into opportunities will require a Board of Directors for SEMA that is responsive to and understanding of the needs of its members. For that reason, I enthusiastically supported the recent Board realignment that, once complete, will result in a leaner, more agile board.

Many important issues remain on top of the Board’s agenda, from implementation of the SEMA Data Pool and youth outreach to maximizing the role of the councils—not to mention the recent acquisition of the Performance Racing Industry Show. The hands-on experience gained over the past two years as well as my appointment to the Board’s Executive Committee, will enable me to more effortlessly assist transition through these ongoing challenges.

I take great pride in Painless Performance being held in such high regard in the industry, having been recognized as Manufacturer of the Year by the Performance Warehouse Association in 2002, 2010 and 2012, as well as in my personal recognition as a two-time recipient of PWA’s Person of the Year. I look forward to continuing to serve our industry by providing our membership with the leadership and vision you expect and deserve.

Tracie Nunez

  Tracie Nunez, SEMA BOD Elections
I am humbled to be on the SEMA Board of Directors ballot. My passion is making a difference by creating a positive change in people and in our industry. I am a strategic thinker who is able to work in a collaborative environment. My work history and SEMA council experience shows this. Most importantly, I have the courage to take on difficult challenges and to work toward solutions.

Manufacturing Experience:
• 13 Years With ACT as CEO
• Key Player In Establishing the ACT Brand Name
• Responsible for the Day-To-Day Entire Organization

Distribution Experience:
• Eight Years With Avery Dennison, an Office Supplies Manufacturer
• Worked in Several Distribution Facilities Specializing in Shipping, Logistics and Inventory Control

Jobber Experience:
• Two Years at Bap Geon, an Import Parts Chain
• Auto Parts Delivery Driver and Counterperson

Important Issues to Our industry:

1. Member Satisfaction—Ensure each member can participate in relevant programs, research and networking opportunities. SEMA is a great resource for our businesses to learn from, grow with and be promoted by.
2. Consumer Awareness and Industry Growth—The aftermarket has a larger consumer reach with the Internet. We must continue to identify new technology and buying trends.
3. The SEMA Show Future—Needs to continue changing with industry trends while understanding the financial impact to the association.
4. Legislation Activity—Protect industry interests by activating the power of the association’s membership at a local, state and federal level.

SEMA Involvement since 1999:
• Street Performance Council Chair and Chair-Elect 2007-2011
• Sport Compact Council Person of the Year 2007
• Motorsports Parts Manufacturing Council Select Committee 2006-2009
• SEMA Board of Directors Nominating Committee 2009
• Rep Agency of the Year Award Task Force 2009
• Warehouse Distributor of the Year Award Task Force 2009, 2010
• Person of the Year Award Task Force 2010

You and I are SEMA. Your voice matters. The Board of Directors has decreased its size, so member involvement and good leadership is essential to SEMA’s future. I welcome your input and humbly ask for your vote. Please call me at 661-940-7555 or e-mail me at

Russell Stephens

  Russell Stephens, SEMA BOD Elections
It is a great honor to be nominated to run for election for a seat on the SEMA Board of Directors. Serving the industry through a Board position is a great responsibility, and I am prepared to work diligently to make decisions that will grow and protect our beloved industry. I need your vote to make sure that all stakeholders in the automotive aftermarket have an environment to thrive and grow.

Currently, I am president of MSD and Racepack and have spent 30 years in the automotive aftermarket. Through this tenure, I have developed extensive, long-term relationships with manufacturers, warehouse distributors, rep organizations, retailers and sanctioning bodies that will give me great understanding when making the tough decisions that will be required on the Board.

Service to our industry is important to me. I have served four years on the SEMA Board of Directors, two terms on the Motorsports Parts Manufacturer’s Council select committee, and seven years on the SEMA Warehouse Distributor of the Year committee. In addition, I have also served two years on the SEMA Rep of the Year committee and one year on the SEMA Person of the Year committee. I have been blessed in this industry, and in 2000 I was recognized with the inaugural Sales Team of the Year Award presented by the SEMA Manufacturer’s Rep Council. I was also named Performance Warehouse Association’s Person of the Year in 2005.

I am a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso and grew up in a racing family. I started racing in karts and eventually took over the wheel of the family dirt-track stock car. I still love everything from sprint cars to hot rods, and when I am not involved in the performance industry, I serve as a deacon at Cielo Vista Church in El Paso.

If I am elected to the Board, the one thing you can count on is that I will serve with integrity and character. I ask for your vote so I can once again serve you and the industry and chart the path for its great future.

Tim Watts

  Tim Watts, SEMA BOD Elections
As a true automotive enthusiast, I have been fortunate to make a career out of something I am truly passionate about. I am currently the vice president of sales and marketing for Superlift Suspension Systems. I began my career with Superlift over 20 years ago and have had an active role in growing a small company into a large one. Over the years, I have been involved in every facet of operations, with most of my efforts focused on sales and servicing accounts. Hands-on involvement at all levels—manufacturing, distribution and retail—provides me invaluable insight into the challenges our industry faces and what role SEMA can realistically serve in addressing them.

Finishing my second term as a SEMA Board member, I am active in the Truck and Off-Road Alliance and serve as the Board liaison for the Young Executives Network (YEN). I have served on the YEN select committee, Advanstar’s Off-Road Advisory Council, twice on the SEMA Nominating Committee, the Data Co-op Evaluation Task Force, Data Co-op Focus Group, Data Co-op Oversight Task Force, Warehouse Distributor of the Year Task Force and SEMA Person of the Year Task Force. I am currently on the SEMA Show Committee, Suspension Task Force, Electronic Stability Control Work Group, Marketing Task Force, and I chair the SEMA–Clemson CU ICAR Task Force.

I offer “real world” experience and insight, an exceptional work ethic, plus I understand that SEMA exists for one reason: to serve its membership. It is an honor to again be considered for the Board, and I greatly appreciate your vote and the opportunity to continue to serve our industry.

If re-elected, I will continue to amplify the voice of the SEMA member and work tirelessly on what I consider to be our most important issues:

• Emerging Vehicle Technologies
• Business Technology
• Increasing Member Benefits
• Potential Legislative Threats

Feel free to contact me at any time to discuss these issues and opportunities by phone at 318-397-3000 or via e-mail at

Candidates for Distributor/Retailer Category

Jim Bingham

  Jim Bingham, SEMA BOD Elections
It has been an honor to serve these last two years on the SEMA Board of Directors, and I am humbled and honored to be a candidate again. I have been involved with the automobile aftermarket industry for over 45 years. My passion has not changed; it is to help grow our industry. I feel we need to increase the size of the pie so that we all get a bigger piece. We need to create excitement focused in and around our businesses. I feel we need to get youth involved in our industry. I ask that you help me to continue to give back and help our future by voting for me.

I started Winner’s Circle Speed & Custom on June 1, 1970. We currently have three retail locations in Illinois. We are also a warehouse distributor called 1st Performance Warehouse.

I think what sets me apart from most presidents and CEOs is that I work side by side with my employees. I do everything (orders, billing problems, employee relations and, of course, waiting on customers) from the counter in the Joliet store. In our business, the consumer is looking to go faster, handle better, stop better—whatever it is, we provide the solution. That’s what I do. I find solutions to problems. I’ve been doing it all my life.

I am now serving (2010–2012) on the Performance Warehouse Association Board of Directors. On November 5, 2009, I was honored by SEMA with the Chairman’s Service Award. I was a partner in the original group that built Route 66 Raceway, which led to the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. In 2008, we developed a consumer trade show called Race & Performance Expo. That led to the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge. Now a Nationwide event, it focuses on keeping our youth involved in our industry. To date, the Hot Rodders Program has had over 1,000 tech students participate and $3.5 million in scholarship money offered toward furthering their education.

I hope you will continue to let me represent and serve you by re-electing me to the Board of Directors. Thank you.

Tom Brooks

  Tom Brooks, SEMA BOD Elections
Having served on the SEMA Board in the past, I would welcome the opportunity to serve again. My experience includes knowledge of the industry from more than 30 years as the owner and operator of Truckin Thunder, a retail business selling and installing automotive aftermarket parts and accessories.

Beyond the industry, I am a member of the Virginia Council of CEOs, which focuses on the sustainment and promotion of small businesses within the Commonwealth. In addition, Truckin Thunder is a 10-year sponsor of the Sportsman Division at the Virginia Motor Speedway.

Industry Experience:
–Present: President & Founder, Truckin Thunder
1978: Charter Member, Truck Cap Industry Association
1992–1999: Board of Directors, Truck Cap & Accessory Alliance (TCAA)
1995–1999: Treasurer, TCAA
2001–2002: Board of Directors, SEMA
2007–Present: Light Truck Industry Alliance (TORA)
2007–Present: President’s Club, SEMA Political Action Committee

Awards & Recognition:
TORA Chairman’s Award
2007 TORA Retailer of the Year
2010 TORA Hall of Fame
2011 TORA Chairman’s Award

As a member of the SEMA Cares Pinewood Derby Committee, I organized and directed the Pinewood Builds at the Child Help Village in Virginia and volunteered at the Victory Junction Gang Camp in North Carolina. I am passionate about opportunities that we, as leaders, can give back to our communities in ways that align with our customers and companies.

My priorities for the Association are:
1. Vehicle Technology—Support efforts to monitor evolving vehicle technology and share the knowledge in an engaging and effective way.
2. Legislative Issues—Continue to serve on SEMA PAC President’s Club and participate in SEMA events in Washington, D.C.
3. Building Industry—Specific educational resources, advocate for the new training resource initiative forming in the TORA.

The growth of online shopping and purchasing in our industry offers another opportunity for our association. By leveraging the strength and diversity of SEMA’s membership, we can explore the complex yet critical challenge of online commerce. By understanding the unique competitive advantages and weaknesses of brick-and-mortar retailers, online retailers, warehouse distributors, manufacturers and consumers, SEMA can offer members an opportunity to thrive in this evolving marketplace.

Nick Gramelspacher

  Nick Gramelspacher, SEMA BOD Elections
Please consider me when casting your vote for the SEMA Board of Directors. I look forward to bringing new ideas and identifying challenges among us to serve and grow the industry into the future. If I am elected, you can count on me to serve you tirelessly.

It is an honor to be nominated for the SEMA Board of Directors, and I look forward to serving the industry with your consideration and vote. My experience as national sales director at a leading warehouse distributor, solid work ethic and passion for the industry will be exercised to the fullest extent and in the best interests of the SEMA membership.

Employment Summary:
Meyer Distributing 1999–Present

Started in the shipping department in 1999. Within six months, I moved into the sales department with purchasing responsibilities. In 2006, I was promoted to national sales director and currently hold this position.

My tenure has been integral to growing Meyer Distributing from a single-location, three-state distributor to 24 locations distributing to 40 states, while expanding the original 50 product lines to beyond 300 lines. As Meyer grows, I gain new insight on the ever-changing and growing business of aftermarket automotive accessories.

Motorsports Enthusiast:
Not only do I love my job, but I am also an avid off-road enthusiast, owning and building multiple Jeeps and attending all Meyer-sponsored off-road and rock-crawling events. My love of all motorsports is evident in the numerous IndyCar Series and NASCAR live race events I have attended, which span decades. Richard Petty Racing Experience has helped foster my interest in speed and performance. I have attended more than 10 events.

Outstanding Career Achievements:
2009–Current: Light Truck Industry Alliance (TORA) Select Committee Member
2006: Young Executive of the Year Winner
2006–2009: Young Executive Network Select Committee Member
2006/2009: SEMA Rep of the Year Task Force
2007: SEMA/Manufacturers Rep Council Rep Conference Panelist
• SEMA Member Since 2003
• TORA Member Since 2003
• Performance Warehouse Association Board of Directors 2011

Other Associations & Organizations:
• Jasper Group Board of Directors
• Jasper Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
• Anderson Woods Committee 2009– 2010

Candidates for Distributor/Retailer Category

Luanne Brown

  Luanne Brown, SEMA BOD Elections
It is definitely an honor to be recognized by your peers, and never more so than to be nominated again for the SEMA Board of Directors. Thank you for your confidence!

Please let me share some details about my early professional career and my SEMA-related activities. I worked in the accounting department with Sheraton Hotels and, soon thereafter, I was hired by Media 1 Interactive as the business manager/CFO.

In 2001, I took a leap of faith and started eTool Developers LLC with a staff of one (myself). The staff has since grown to eight. Over the past 10 years, eTool Developers has provided services for many SEMA companies and for the Performance Warehouse Association (PWA) to create PWA University—a landmark online education and training venue for PWA members. eTool Developers also developed the Performance Automotive Retailer Locator, an online program designed to help consumers find local retail shops to purchase performance parts. My industry involvement spans from 2002 to the present and includes, but is not limited to, the following:

• SEMA Board of Directors Member—2008 to present
• SEMA Cares Committee Since 2009, Chair since 2011
• SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) Athena Award Recipient—2007
• SEMA Member; SBN, Truck and Off-Road Alliance, Automotive Restoration Market  Organization (ARMO) and Hot Rod Industry Alliance Member
• ARMO Liaison to the SEMA Board Since 2010
• SBN Chair—2006–2007
• SEMA Business Technology Committee Since 2006
• SEMA Show Speaker—2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011
• SEMA Internet Symposium Speaker—2007, 2008, 2009
• PWA Member since 2002
• PWA Keynote Speaker, General Membership Meeting, 2009
• Performance Racing Industry Show Speaker—2010
• Aftermarket eForum Speaker—2006, 2008
• Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) Member Since 2007
• AAIA Catalog Enhanced Standard Subscriber and Service Provider

I promise to continue to use my diverse industry experience and expertise to help form and implement the goals of the SEMA Board. In today’s economy, it is more important than ever to help warehouse distributors, retailers and jobbers join together with manufacturers to distribute and sell products efficiently. I take seriously SEMA’s mission: to help our member companies grow and prosper! With your vote and my experience, I firmly believe we can help prepare your company for a successful and prosperous future.

Bill Holland

  Bill Holland, SEMA BOD Elections
I am honored to be one of the candidates nominated to run for the first-ever Services category seat on the SEMA Board of Directors, and I pledge to serve the industry to the best of my ability. I feel that my widespread experience, unbridled enthusiasm and genuine desire to contribute to our industry’s growth can be assets to the SEMA membership.

My industry involvement goes back to 1968, when I attended the SEMA Show at Dodger Stadium as part-owner of a speed shop while also employed by the Hollywood Citizen-News/Valley Times newspapers. From there I went to work for NHRA as the editor of its newsweekly, National Dragster. This gave me the opportunity to travel the country and meet a wide cross-section of the industry. In 1974, I struck out on my own and formed what is now Holland Communications Inc., an advertising and public relations agency specializing in the performance industry. We joined SEMA in 1975 and have since been part of an ever-evolving media/technology landscape.

In the course of my business career I’ve had the privilege of working with many fine companies in the manufacturing, distributing, sales and media sectors of the aftermarket. I believe this background to be an asset in the ability to make balanced decisions.

I have long served on the SEMA Scholarship Committee and feel that it is important to help America’s youth and bring qualified young people into our industry. Last year, I spearheaded a project wherein Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council member firms contributed parts for an Ed Pink-built engine that was auctioned off on eBay to benefit the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund and help fund many scholarships. I’m also a Hot Rod Industry Alliance member.

One accomplishment that I’m proud of is being part of the group that founded the California Hot Rod Reunion and nurtured its early growth.

My interest in automobiles goes back to childhood. I’ve raced Top Fuel, Funny Car and Sportsman drag cars, competed at Bonneville, crewed oval track and sports cars and currently have a ‘23 T track roadster, Jeep 4x4 pickup truck and other “toys.” I’m a dedicated, diversified “gearhead” and proud of it.

Candidates for Services Category

Bob Moore

  Bob Moore, SEMA BOD Elections
As the chairman of the SEMA Business Technology Committee and the Board member who has led the development of SEMA’s Data Cooperative, I need your support to return to the Board so I can be there at this critical junction and finish this important work.

The past four years that I have served on the SEMA Board have been incredibly productive from a business-technology standpoint. We finally realized the dream of establishing an industry data pool that will make high-quality catalog and product data more accessible to all strata of the industry at a substantial savings. This project can and will do more to expand our ability to sell our products to and through more outlets than any other initiative in SEMA history.

Over my 30-plus year career in the automotive aftermarket, I have been exposed to virtually every segment of this exciting business. The consulting company that I formed in 1996 that is now called J&B Service has allowed me to be “inside” dozens of manufacturers, distributors and retailers, giving me a unique perspective from “all sides of the street.” I write a monthly column called “Ahead of the Curve” for Aftermarket Business, which focuses on business issues that affect us all.

I have participated in a variety of industry initiatives across the aftermarket:

• Recipient of the SEMA Chairman’s Service Award
• Member of the SEMA Executive Committee
• Chairman of the SEMA Business Technology Committee
• Chairman of the SEMA Person of the Year Taskforce
• Editorial Contributor to SEMA News
• Member of the Performance Warehouse Association
• Member of the SEMA Political Action Committee President’s Club
• Speaker at SEMA Educational Forums
• Member of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association Technology Committee
• Instructor for the University of the Aftermarket
• Recipient of Northwood University’s Aftermarket Education Award

My passion for the aftermarket industry grows stronger every day. Your vote will assure that my passion is translated into a strong representation of your needs on the SEMA Board, with a goal of assuring a stable, prosperous business future for us all. Thanks for the opportunity to re-introduce myself, and I would appreciate your continued support. 

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