SEMA News—July 2019


Fast Facts

Tommi Viita

Marx Buscemi Eisbrenner Group (MBE Group), a full-service marketing communications agency, has hired Tommi Viita as a graphic and digital designer. Viita joins MBE Group after several years at ArcticFX Graphics LLC as senior graphic designer and assistant brand manager. At MBE Group, he will design traditional and digital advertising campaigns, product packaging, lead brand identity and web design projects, and he will collaborate on client branding and advertising programs.

Competition Specialties (CSI) announced the promotion of Jon Butler to outside sales representative in the company’s central and southern Oregon territory. The company also announced the promotion of Randy Williamson from inside/phone sales representative to inside/phone sales manager. Butler’s employment with CSI began in 2011 as a member of the inside sales team. In August 2015, he was promoted to phone room manager. Williamson, an employee of six years, joined CSI after a brief career in the insurance industry as a customer service application developer.

SSV Works named industry veteran Will Cherry to the position of sales director. For the past 15 years, Cherry has worked with Scosche Industries and Battery-Biz, holding domestic and international sales and business-development managerial titles.

Battery-Biz added industry expert Tiffany Dorin to the organization as national sales manager. She will be primarily focused on selling Battery-Biz’s Duracell and Goodyear product lines to national retailers. She joins the company with 14 years of experience selling aftermarket automotive parts and accessories. She began her career selling performance accessories and upgrades at a small performance retail shop. Most recently, Dorin sold exhaust systems and converters for MagnaFlow to national automotive retailers, wholesale distributors and e-commerce accounts. She has also been an elected member of the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network since 2016 and was named one of SEMA News’ “35 under 35” in 2014.

Vern Kaufman

Hellwig Suspension Products announced that Vern Kaufman will join the Hellwig team as its new sales and business-development manager, bringing his 34 years of sales and marketing experience to the sales department. In his new position, Kaufman will seek to expand sales in the automotive and light-truck industries as the company moves into new markets, while also further strengthening distributor relationships.

Ridetech has announced that it is now part of Fox Factory Holdings. Ridetech will serve as cornerstone for the new Fox Street and Performance division. Moving forward, longtime Ridetech/Air Ride Technologies Executive Vice President and General Manager B.J. Elmore has been named to lead the company. Industry veteran Jim Cozzie also remains with Ridetech’s leadership as director of business development. Products will continue to be designed, tested and manufactured in Ridetech’s Jasper, Indiana, factory.

Wheelwell Inc., a social commerce company for the automotive market, has closed $3 million in financing from several investors. This round was led by James Currier of NFX Capital and Hans Tung of GGV Capital. The current round of funding builds on previous angel investments from individuals that included Steve Yankovich (formerly vice president of product at eBay), John Couch (executive vice president of marketing at Apple), and Jeff Bonforte (senior vice president of communications products at Yahoo). As part of the transaction, Currier has joined Wheelwell’s board of directors. Based in San Francisco, Wheelwell combines artificial intelligence (AI), advanced data analytics and deep marketing integrations with Google and Facebook.

Doug Kaufman

Babcox Media Inc. announced that Doug Kaufman will assume the role of editorial director for Brake & Front End, ImportCar and Underhood Service. Kaufman is responsible for the day-to-day editorial management of the three brands and will work hand in hand with Andrew Markel, content director, and the skilled team of editors and journalists who serve the automotive service industry. Kaufman has spent more than 27 years at Babcox Media, most recently serving as publisher.

Gregg Bashur has been named the new CFO at Covercraft Industries LLC. He joins Covercraft during a period of expansion that includes the marine and recreational vehicle markets as well as an enhanced presence in the automotive market. Prior to joining Covercraft, Bashur served in various CFO and finance leadership roles with privately held and public companies in manufacturing and distribution, including Honeywell, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Collins Aerospace.

Meyer Distributing Inc. has announced the addition of its Barstow, California, location. The cross-dock will have a direct, next-day feed from Meyer’s Ontario, California, distribution hub, which houses a large inventory of automotive accessories and RV parts.

E3 Spark Plugs has announced the company’s title sponsorship for the 20th season of the International Motor Contest Association’s (IMCA) State Champions program. The sponsorship will provide product awards to the state championship drivers for all eight IMCA divisions. In addi-tion to the title sponsorship program, E3 was also named the official spark plug of IMCA.

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