PRO Celebrates in High Style
|PRO Chair Dino Perfetti (left) and Chair-elect Josh Poulson address attendees during the reception held at the Westgate pool deck.
The Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) put its best foot forward during an event-filled week at the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. From the council’s awards reception and the new PRO Cup Challenge to a breakfast membership meeting, seminars and Happy Hour, the restyling community had ample occasions to link up and celebrate another successful year.
Honoring Top Performers
PRO began the week in festive fashion with its 28th annual awards reception. Held poolside at the Westgate Resort & Casino on Tuesday evening, November 5, the relaxed atmosphere gave the lively crowd an opportunity to kick back and mingle with friends and colleagues while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and liquid libations.
Following welcome remarks from SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting, the evening’s program—hosted by PRO Chair Dino Perfetti and Chair-Elect Josh Poulson—went into full swing. First up, the inaugural PRO Cup Challenge, a new competition that pitted four restylers against one another to test their abilities to create marketable and creative accessory packages that can be easily replicated by other restylers nationwide.
The participating restylers were Cristina Jorge of Specialty Auto Treatments, Josh Poulson of Auto Additions, Brandon McNew of Altered Garage, and Dino Perfetti of Automotive Concepts. Two of their vehicles were displayed in the PRO booth in North Hall, and the other two were exhibited in the North Hall Lobby.
Earlier in the day, a judging panel viewed the builds and, during the reception, presented the PRO Cup Challenge trophy to Automotive Concepts for its Subaru Forester Base Camp edition, an outdoor lifestyle package. (A Fan Favorite award was presented later in the week; see below.)
Next on the program was the presentation of council awards. Joe Hair of Integrity Customs was named PRO Restyler of Year. Manufacturer of the Year went to AddOnAuto, a division of Reynolds & Reynolds. Perfetti—already in high spirits after winning the competition trophy—also received the Nat Danas Person of the Year award. The Jim Borré Lifetime Achievement award, presented by Ron Leslie of Katzkin Leather, paid tribute to the late Ralph Jorge, founder of Specialty Auto Treatments in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Connecting On and Off the Show Floor
|PRO leadership celebrate the achievements made by immediate past chair Ellen McKoy (center) by presenting her with the Chairman’s Gavel Award.
PRO has long set its sights on education, hosting seminars at the SEMA Show for many years. For 2019, the council presented two seminars on Wednesday. The sessions drew standing-room-only crowds.
“Accelerate Sales and Profits in a Challenging Market” focused on the shrinking of dealership margins and ways in which to rejuvenate sales and maximize gross profit. During the second session, “Up Your Game: Harness Your Marketing and Sales Skills,” a panel of industry pros shared insights into the new SEMA Accessory Sales Professional certificate program as well as practical tips on how to develop a successful dealer-direct sales strategy.
At the early-bird Breakfast with PRO on Thursday morning, more than two dozen members and newcomers gathered for conversations and an update on council initiatives. Discussions covered a range of topics, including the PRO Cup Challenge, the SEMA Accessory Sales Professional certificate exam and other council resources.
To round out the activity-filled week, the council once again hosted its annual Happy Hour in the PRO booth. Previously held on Wednesday afternoon of SEMA Show week, the networking mixer was moved to Thursday to allow Showgoers ample opportunity to vote for fan-favorite vehicles competing in the PRO Cup Challenge.
As members and nonmembers mingled and enjoyed cold beverages, it was soon time to announce which vehicle had been chosen to receive the Fan Favorite award. The honor went to the restyled Hyundai Palisade built by Specialty Auto Treatments. A delighted Cristina Jorge graciously accepted the award on behalf of her company. And thus PRO closed out yet another SEMA Show on a high note.