Success Starts Here
Celebrating Industry Innovators and Raising Money for SEMA Cares at the 2018 SEMA Installation & Gala
About 400 members of the automotive specialty-parts industry attended the 2018 SEMA Installation & Gala, themed “Success Starts Here,” at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City in Universal City, California, on July 20, to pay tribute to the specialty-equipment industry’s pioneers and dedicated volunteers.
About 400 members of the automotive specialty-parts industry attended the 2018 SEMA Installation & Gala, themed “Success Starts Here,” at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City in Universal City, California, on July 20, to pay tribute to the specialty-equipment industry’s pioneers and dedicated volunteers. Jessi Combs and Kevin Oeste served as the evening’s emcees. Honorees included the SEMA Hall of Fame class of 2018—Donnie Eatherly, P&E Distributors; Ed Pink, Ed Pink’s Garage; and Chris Thomson, TMG Performance Products.
SEMA Hall of Fame Class of 2018
Induction into the SEMA Hall of Fame is considered the trade association’s most prestigious honor and is reserved for outstanding individuals within the specialty-equipment industry whose creativity, dignity, integrity, industriousness and accomplishments on a national basis have enhanced the stature of the industry and significantly contributed to its growth.
From sales, inventory management, marketing and managing capital, resources and people, Donnie Eatherly has worked in all areas of the industry and has a broad perspective of every aspect involved. He now owns one of the longest-running speed shops in the mid-Tennessee area, which was originally founded by his father. His unique experience has helped him to effectively champion many important industry initiatives, including youth engagement, legislative advocacy, data standardization and vehicle technology. He is among the industry’s most active volunteers, having served on the SEMA Board of Directors, SEMA Political Action Committee and various SEMA councils and task forces.
For more than 60 years, Ed Pink Racing Engines has helped legendary racers set records and win championships. And while that alone is reason to honor “The Old Master,” it’s his dedication, innovation and contribution to the industry that sets him apart from all the others. Ed Pink has worked alongside industry pioneers such as Lou Baney, Ed Iskenderian and the Edelbrock family. He opened his first shop in 1957 and built engines used in virtually every avenue of motorsports. Although Pink sold his original business about 10 years ago, he continues to consult and actively supports programs such as the SEMA Scholarship Foundation. He is a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Detroit, Don Garlits International Drag Racing Hall of Fame and the Super Stock Hall of Fame.
Before joining TMG Group earlier this year, Chris Thomson worked for leading industry brands, including Baer Brakes Systems, Airaid/K&N Filter Co., Holley Performance Products and FlowTech Exhaust Co. For more than 40 years, he held coveted executive positions in those organizations and played a key role in the companies’ successes. However, it is his selfless dedication to the industry as a whole that makes him stand out from others. Having served numerous terms on the SEMA Board of Directors, as well as on several councils, committees and task forces, Thomson is often described as a “mentor” and an “advocate.” He was honored in 2006 as the PWA Person of the Year, the same year that the company he worked for—Airaid Filter Co.—received the PWA Manufacturer of the Year award.
Recognizing Industry Leaders
Among the event’s highlights, SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting and Chairman of the Board Wade Kawasaki took the stage to pay tribute to longtime SEMA General Counsel Russ Deane to recognize the efforts of outgoing Board of Directors officials and to welcome the incoming Board. They included:
- Jim Bingham of Winner’s Circle Speed & Custom Inc. (outgoing)
- Laurel Dasher of MagnaFlow (outgoing)
- Russ Deane of Trainum, Snowdon & Deane, General Counsel (outgoing)
- Susan Carpenter of CPG (outgoing)
- Donnie Eatherly of P&E Distributors (incoming)
- David Goch of Webster of Chamberlain & Bean LLP, General Counsel
- Nick Gramelspacher of Meyer Distributing (outgoing)
- Dan Kahn of Kahn Media Inc. (re-elected)
- Brian Lounsberry of Motovicity Distribution (incoming)
- Dr. Jamie Meyer of General Motors (incoming)
- Steve Whipple of Edelbrock LLC (incoming)
“This year’s Installation & Gala was another outstanding celebration of the spirit and passion that drives our industry,” said Kersting. “I’d like to once again thank the dedicated volunteers who serve on the SEMA Board of Directors and congratulate our incoming Hall of Fame inductees. Their service and leadership have meant so much to the specialty-equipment aftermarket. This event will also be long remembered for its unprecedented outpouring of generosity in service to SEMA Cares charities. And for many of us, it will be remembered as an evening of appreciation for the many years of dedicated and outstanding service of SEMA’s General Counsel Russ Deane.”
SEMA Cares Pinewood Drag Races
The evening’s festivities also featured the Pinewood Drag Races—an annual fundraiser for SEMA Cares charities, including Childhelp and Victory Junction. In addition to the Build-It-For-Me (BIFM) class, the races included the Council Cup, People’s Choice, several different industry classes and Industry Cup Challenge. Children living at the Childhelp facilities and Victory Junction campers built the vehicles for the BIFM class and donors sponsored their race cars.
1st Place: Automotive Restoration Market Association (ARMO)
Build It For Me Class (cars and trucks built by kids)
1st Place: Hella
Industry Cup Challenge
1st Place: Hot Rod
Media Class: Hot Rod
Service Provider’s Class: LGE*CTS
Rep Agency Class: R&R Marketing
Warehouse Distributor Class: RSD
Manufacturer’s Class: A.R.E.
While the racing is over, it’s not too late to make a direct donation to Childhelp and Victory Junction via SEMA Cares.
The Gala was emceed by industry personalities Kevin Oeste (left) and Jessi Combs (right).
SEMA Board of Directors Chairman Wade Kawasaki welcomed attendees to the annual Installation & Gala.
SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting (left) and SEMA Chairman of the Board Wade Kawasaki (right) honored longtime SEMA Counsel Russ Deane, who retired.
SEMA Cares Chairman Rich Barsamian encouraged guests to sponsor a Pinewood car to help raise money for children’s charities.
Outgoing SEMA Board member Jim Bingham (center) of Winner’s Circle Speed & Custom Inc. was recognized for his contributions.
Donnie Eatherly of P&E Distributors was welcomed to the SEMA Board.
Outgoing Board member Nick Gramelspacher (center) of Meyer Distributing was thanked for his efforts.
Dan Kahn (center) of Kahn Media Inc. was re-elected to the SEMA Board of Directors.
Outgoing SEMA Board member Laurel Dasher (center) of MagnaFlow was recognized for her contributions.
Dr. Jamie Meyer (center) of General Motors was welcomed to the SEMA Board of Directors.
Brian Lounsberry (center) of Motovicity Distribution was welcomed to the SEMA Board of Directors.
SEMA paid tribute to longtime General Counsel Russ Deane (center), who retired.
Steve Whipple (center) of Edelbrock LLC was welcomed to the SEMA Board.
2018 SEMA Hall of Fame inductee Donnie Eatherly.
2018 SEMA Hall of Fame inductee Ed Pink.
|2018 SEMA Hall of Fame inductee Chris Thomson.
The SEMA Pinewood Drag Races, held in conjunction with the Installation & Gala, raised money for charities supported by SEMA Cares.