SEMA News—April 2020


By Douglas McColloch

SEMA Education
The SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program will provide 10 high schools with hands-on learning opportunities and expose hundreds of students to the $44.6 billion automotive specialty-equipment industry.

Participating Schools Announced for SEMA’s High School 2019–2020 Vehicle Build Program

SEMA announced the 10 participating high schools for the 2019–2020 SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program—a project that reaches, inspires and supports high-school students to learn about the automotive aftermarket industry.

The program debuted less than three years ago with just one participating school. Four schools that participated last year will return to the program this year, with six new schools joining.

“The continuous success of this program speaks volumes to the positive impact auto technology programs have when offered in high-school curricula,” said Katie Hurst, SEMA youth engagement programs manager. “SEMA is proud to provide these students with an avenue to further expand their advancement to careers in the automotive industry.”

Over the course of the semester, students will gain hands-on experience with aftermarket products, equipping them with skills in project management, installation, body styling and team building. Vehicles incorporated in this year’s program will include third-generation Toyota 4Runners and Jeep Wrangler TJs.

The chosen high schools for the 2019–2020 SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program are:

  • Career Center High School—Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Comstock High School—Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • John Hersey High School—Arlington Heights, Illinois
  • McGavock High School—Nashville, Tennessee
  • Mon Valley Career & Technology Center—Charleroi, Pennsylvania
  • Omaha Public Schools Career Center—Omaha, Nebraska
  • R.L. Turner High School—Carrollton, Texas
  • Santa Fe Early Career Opportunities High School—Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Santa Ynez Valley Union High School—Santa Ynez, California
  • Wichita Falls Career Education Center—Wichita Falls, Texas

Rogelio Martinez, a senior at Santa Fe Early Career Opportunities High School who participated in last years’ build, shared his experience about what the program meant to him.

“The part I loved was seeing all the new aftermarket parts we got to work with,” he said. “It’s a passion for each and all of us to work with cars, and when we get neat parts like this, it’s just that much better.”

Upon the completion of the builds, each vehicle will be auctioned off. The proceeds will be reinvested into the program to further expand another round of builds for the 2020–2021 school year. As participants of the program, each high school will also receive industry recognition through the SEMA build website and SEMA build promotions.

Young Guns
Young builders age 27 or younger will have 13 opportunities to win an expenses-paid trip to the 2020 SEMA Show as part of SEMA Battle of the Builders regional competitions.

SEMA Expands Regional Qualifying Events for 2020 Battle of the Builders Series

SEMA expanded its partnership with event producers across the country by increasing the number of scheduled Battle of the Builders qualifying events to 13 nationwide. Young builders (age 27 or younger at the time of the 2020 SEMA Show) will have additional opportunities to participate in regional events for a chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2020 SEMA Show held in Las Vegas.

Industry professionals who have previously participated in the SEMA Battle of the Builders (BOTB) competition will select one winner from each event to advance to the 2020 SEMA Show, taking place November 3–6. All eligible runner-up candidates will have the opportunity to take part in an online fan vote in which the Young Gun with the most votes will take the final spot in the Battle of the Builders Young Guns competition.

“We continue to see an increasing level of craftsmanship, ingenuity and dedication from the young builders competing at these regional events,” said Ira Gabriel, SEMA vice president of marketing, PR and communications. “It is so rewarding to see these Young Guns recognized for their abilities. The opportunities that this competition can open up for them are huge.”

For more information about the SEMA BOTB competition or SEMA Young Guns program, visit or

The SEMA Cares/WD-40 ‘66 Ford Bronco fetched more than $120,000 at auction, with all proceeds going to benefit Childhelp.

SEMA Cares, WD-40 Bronco Raises $126,212 for Charity

SEMA Garage, WD-40 and many others in the industry came together in order to create a custom ’66 Ford Bronco that was recently auctioned by Bring a Trailer (BaT) to benefit Childhelp. With a winning bid of $121,212, Jeff Mosing won the fierce bidding war that erupted as the auction came down to the wire. BaT’s Randy Nonnenberg explained just how special and exciting this unique Bronco project was for all parties involved.

“We were very pleased to be selected by Childhelp and SEMA to auction this Bronco for charity,” Nonnenberg said. “The strong $120,000-plus result came from a buyer within the BaT Community of enthusiasts who was highly motivated by the great cause and the work that Childhelp does on behalf of children in need.”

In addition to hosting the auction, BaT donated its transaction fee of $5,000 to the final bid, bringing the grand total raised to $126,212.

“We are very happy to also be able to contribute to that worthy cause and look forward to many more charity auctions on Bring a Trailer,” Nonnenberg said in explaining why the company gifted the fee.

Founded in 1959 by Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, the purpose of Childhelp has been prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Since its establishment, Childhelp has grown to become one of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations. For donation and volunteer information, visit

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