SEMA News—June 2021

PEOPLE

The 2021 SEMA Board of Directors Candidates

Get to Know the Nominees

By Mike Imlay

The SEMA Board of Directors provides strategic direction to the association and plays a critical role in shaping the future of the automotive specialty-equipment industry. There are a total of 10 candidates running for six open seats on the Board for the 2021 election cycle.

Online voting began May 11 and will continue through May 25. Voting is open to current SEMA-member companies, and votes must be cast by each company’s primary contact. Details on the election were sent to each member-company’s designated contact beginning April 30. For more information about the Board of Directors election, contact Susan Alfonso at susana@sema.org or 909-978-6671.

The winners will be announced by May 28 and will be featured in an upcoming issue of SEMA News. The new Board members will also be formally inducted at the SEMA Installation & Gala on Friday, July 30, in the newly completed West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

All SEMA-member companies are invited to join the festivities, but seating is limited. Register for the event at www.sema.org/gala.

Read on for the biographical information and statements of the 10 candidates. As a reminder, the remarks and opinions expressed by the candidates are solely their own. SEMA does not take responsibility for the accuracy or content of the candidates’ messages, and statements made by the candidates do not necessarily represent the views of SEMA.

2021 SEMA Board of Directors Candidates

Chairman-Elect (one open seat):

  • Kyle Fickler–Director, Driven Racing Oil
  • Les Rudd–President, Bob Cook Sales

Distributor/Retailer (two open seats):

  • Larry Montante–Vice President, Keystone Automotive Operations
  • Brian Rowland–GM, Parts & Accessories, Walmart
  • Steve Whipple–Director, Jegs High Performance

Manufacturer (two open seats):

  • Ian Lehn–Founder, BOOSTane
  • Kim Pendergast–CEO/Owner, Magnuson Superchargers
  • Brian Reese–President/CEO, The Retrofit Source

Service (one open seat):

  • Lindsay Hubley–Managing Partner, Lodestone Events
  • Jim Liaw–President/Co-Founder, Formula Drift Holdings
Kyle Fickler
Kyle Fickler
Chairman-Elect Category

Kyle Fickler

As a candidate for SEMA chairman-elect, I will work to maintain our right to modify our vehicles and have a place to enjoy them. This freedom can be restricted in many ways, but whether it is regulatory, legislative or societal, we need to act proactively as an industry to provide solutions. I bring SEMA members a unique perspective blended from the education of a licensed attorney, the unwavering commitment required of a business owner, and the hands-on passion demonstrated by a virtual lifetime of successful participation in motorsports and our industry.

I have served the last eight years on the SEMA Board of Directors and as SEMA treasurer, following six years as a select committee member and as MPMC chair, in addition to numerous SEMA task forces and committees, including:

  • SEMA Board Executive Committee
  • SEMA Investment Committee
  • SEMA Budget Committee, Chair
  • PRI Advisory Committee
  • SEMA Manufacturer of the Year Task Force, Chair
  • SEMA Person of the Year Task Force
  • SEMA Board Nominating Committee, Chair and three-time member
  • SEMA Town Hall, Host and three-time Panelist
  • MPMC Rules of the Road, three-time Panelist
  • MPMC Future of Performance, Panelist
  • CBLC Liaison
  • SEMA PAC, President’s Club

Although I am a licensed attorney in Missouri and Montana, my best experience has been in service of three different industry-leading manufacturers dating back more than 25 years: Aeromotive, Inc.–director of business development; Weld Racing LLC–vice president of sales and equity partner; and currently Driven Racing Oil–director of sales and business development.

I am very active in motorsports, with an AHRA World Championship and two NHRA National event wins to date. My wife and daughter also race, with Danika (my daughter) winning back-to-back races to start this season. When not racing, you are likely to hear a story about our JK on a Badge of Honor trail, and, like most gearheads, we have plenty of projects (10) that need attention.

Our industry is what my family lives for, and I will be a capable and energetic leader serving our industry for the benefit of current and future generations.

I humbly ask for your support.

Facebook.com/Fickler4SEMA

Les Rudd
Les Rudd
Chairman-Elect Category

Les Rudd

I am equally humbled and honored to have this opportunity to run as your next chairman-elect of the SEMA Board of Directors. With your support and vote, I will bring my lifelong experiences and my knowledge of our industry to the forefront to provide all SEMA members a supportive voice. I have personal experience at the jobber, dealer, e-comm, manufacturer and, of course, the manufacturers’ rep level. I understand firsthand the small-business challenges that we currently face and what lies ahead for each of us to overcome and turn them into opportunities.

I will support SEMA members with vision, integrity, loyalty and honesty as we face the key issues that lie before us today and on the horizon. I will maintain a key vision on the issues and opportunities that will lead us towards a prominent and secure future to ensure that all SEMA members succeed and prosper.

Professional employment:

  • 1991–Present-Bob Cook Sales
  • 1991–2003 Representative
  • 2004–2013 Partner/Principal
  • 2014–Current–President
  • 1985–1991 TCI Automotive, National Sales Manager

Career Achievements and SEMA Involvement

  • Five years SEMA Board of Directors
  • SEMA Manufacturers’ Rep Network Chair–2014–2016
  • SEMA Manufacturers’ Rep Council Chair–2002–2004
  • SEMA PAC Presidents Club
  • 24+ years of SEMA Council and Network Volunteerism
  • CPMR–Certified Professional Manufacturers’ Rep
  • Previous CAN and PWA BOD Liaison
  • Member of Bob Cook Sales for seven SEMA Rep of the Year Awards
  • Numerous Rep of the Year Awards from manufacturers and customers
  • Past Goodguys Pros Pick 2007, 2008
  • Super Chevy Editor’s Choice 2008 and Outstanding ’55 Award 2008
  • Numerous Committees, Task Force memberships and industry recognitions

Although our industry is a large part of my everyday life, I do spend time on other interests as well. I am an avid outdoorsman. I am a regular volunteer and leader at my church. I enjoy gardening, a great steak, a nice wine, my five sons, my two grandchildren and my great wife whose patience and support allow for me seek my dreams.

Your confidence in me is an honor–your vote is greatly appreciated.

Larry Montante
Larry Montante
Distributor/Retailer Category

Larry Montante

My name is Larry Montante and I am excited to have the opportunity to serve the SEMA membership.

The market is changing and it’s time for action with a fresh approach. I am a proven, innovative leader, with 37 years of industry experience across many functions and channels, who knows the needs of the supplier, retailer and consumer.

Agenda–Leveraging my experience, passion for driving change and strategic nature I will drive several impactful topics to be part of SEMA’s future plans:

  • Preserve–Protect our industry by engaging in key legislative areas, understanding and managing market shifts that cause disruption, fostering the creative passion that drives our industry, and preparing for changes brought on by future vehicles and technologies.
  • Grow–Expand our industry and increase consumer awareness, target youth markets and onboard new enthusiasts and consumers, while developing plans to pursue adjacent markets.
  • Engage–Drive more engagement from existing membership and grow membership, drive effectiveness and reach of SEMA communications, diversify SEMA’s influence beyond the SEMA Show and deliver more consumer reach through digital channels.

Experience

Career—37 years with Keystone Automotive. Well-versed in different business functions from my various leadership roles:

  • Currently: Vice President, Category Management.
  • Previously: Vice President, Marketing; Pricing & Analytics Director; Category Manager; Buyer; Salesperson; Retail Store Associate; and Warehouse Associate where I started my career at Keystone.

Industry–Served on the SEMA Show Committee, TORA, WTC and YEN. Hosted several SEMA events and served as an advisor to SEMA and member companies. Currently a Federated Group Executive Board member.

Accomplishments–Multiple SEMA WD of the Year Awards and 30+ top customer awards. Launched more than 25 innovative programs, websites, loyalty programs, promotions, shows and publications. Led new brand, product and market launches. Graduate of Wharton School Advanced Management Program.

At Work for You–As a hands-on driver of change, I will deliver fresh thinking to protect the future of our industry and promote GROWTH.

I appreciate the opportunity to serve the members by running the SEMA Board, and I humbly ask for your vote.

A Man of Action Focused on the Future

Website: larry4sema.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Larry4SEMA

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/larrymontante

Brian Rowland
Brian Rowland
Distributor/Retailer Category

Brian Rowland

I’m Brian Rowland, a lifelong automotive enthusiast and 14-year aftermarket veteran. I’m honored to be running for your 2021 SEMA Board of Directors and humbled by the opportunity to serve the membership.

If elected, I will bring distinct skills, experience and resources to the Board:

  • Insights, trends and perspectives from the No. 1 retailer in the world.
  • Major OE experience monetizing telematics data.
  • Deep knowledge of marketplaces, as a seller and a platform.
  • Proven digital transformation, omnichannel strategy and e-commerce expertise.
  • Expertise in automotive data, technology and marketing integrations.
  • Proven ability to successfully build and grow B2B and B2C businesses.

I’m uniquely equipped to help the membership with three critical issues:

  • Growing U.S. Jobs: At Walmart, U.S.-made product is good business and an ethical obligation supported by programs and resources targeting U.S. jobs and products. I will look to replicate these efforts throughout our industry.
  • Internet Penetration: 2020 was “a decade in a year” for digitization and sales mix, resulting in permanent customer behavior changes. Leveraging my e-commerce, omnichannel, B2B and B2C retail expertise combined with experience and insights from the world’s largest retailer, I will help our industry skate where this puck is going.
  • Vehicle Telematics: OEs are creating a “moat” around their business by encrypting telematics data, building software designed to challenge aftermarket parts and removing OBDII ports from vehicles. From my time with a major OE, I will help protect our membership against “weaponized” telematics data.

Professional Experience:

  • GM, Parts & Accessories; Walmart Inc.
  • Director, Aftersales Marketing & Technology; Nissan USA
  • Head of Digital & Ecommerce, Transamerican Auto Parts
  • Vice President Category Management, US Auto Parts

Volunteer Experience:

  • 2021 ACPN Keynote Speaker; 2021 Automotive Sales Council Speaker;
  • 2017–2019 ARMO Select Committee; 2017 SEMA Launch Pad Judge;
  • 2012–2016 Auto Care Association ACPN Board Member and Vice President

To learn more:

Steve Whipple
Steve Whipple
Distributor/Retailer Category

Steve Whipple

Why Steve? The world has changed; undoubtedly we won’t go back to where it was. It’s time for leadership to shape the industry of tomorrow: new thinking, new innovation, new motivation, new inspiration, new transparency and commitment—not the same old stuff. It’s not the same old world!

Passions:

  • Protect the Industry: Against being regulated out of business with unnecessary regulations and governmental overreach.
  • Focus on the Future: Overcome the challenges in vehicle technology, including electric vehicles; successfully engaging the next generation of automotive enthusiast, including customers and employees, to influence our great industry going forward.
  • Provide a Passionate Voice for All SEMA Members: Whether you’re a manufacturer, warehouse distributor, industry service provider or a small shop fighting for your life, I will be your voice, I will serve the SEMA members passionately.

Leadership Experience

  • 4 months—Jegs Automotive, Director of Private Brands–New Markets
  • 21 years—Edelbrock, Vice President, Sales and Marketing
  • 2 years—Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS), Director, Sales and Marketing
  • 22 years—Super Shops, Western States Sales Manager
  • 20+ years in Performance Core Manufacturing
  • 20+ years in Performance Distribution
  • 40+ years in the Performance Industry

SEMA Service and Awards

  • SEMA Board of Directors–3 years
  • SEMA MPMC Select Committee–5 years
  • SEMA WD of the Year Committee–5 years
  • SEMA Rep of the Year Committee–3 years
  • SEMA: Attended the Washington Rally to meet with Congress in support of the RPM Act.
  • PWA 2015 Person of the Year
  • SEMA MPMC 2016 and 2017 Chairman’s Award
  • SEMA MPMC Hall of Fame

Personal Life

  • Been married for 42 years, to the same lady, Lisa.
  • Have two great kids: Lindsey, 37, married to Christian, and Michael, 32, married to Kelly. I also have two “faultless” grandkids, Charlotte and Elliot.

You need to make a difference and vote. Vote for people that will make a difference—for people that have the industry experience to make a difference. I have that passion, the experience and the integrity to do the job the next three years. I ask for your vote.

Vote Steve Whipple, SEMA Board of Directors 2021.

Ian Lehn
Ian Lehn
Manufacturers Category

Ian Lehn

My name is Ian Lehn, and I am the founder of BOOSTane Octane Engineering, a small company based around a proprietary fuel technology that I developed while obtaining my engineering degree at Georgia Tech.

My experience as a small-business owner, innovator and racer enables me to help lead our association through the challenges ahead.

Keep Innovation Within SEMA: As the automotive industry continues to evolve, it is imperative that we embrace the challenges that lie ahead. My goal is to continue in my efforts to identify emerging trends and technologies and keep an eye on further government oversight, while developing the tools and resources to turn those challenges into opportunities for you, our member companies.

I believe to accomplish this successfully, you have to be proactive on all fronts:

  • Youth Engagement: My journey into the automotive aftermarket came when I won SEMA’s Launch Pad competition. It propelled my college project into a thriving business. I have a responsibility to pay that opportunity forward and foster a clear pathway for the next generation of enthusiasts entering our industry.
  • Government Legislation: The next four years are going to be a defining era for the future of our industry. Regulations and governmental overreach continue to threaten our passion and way of life. I plan to utilize my experience navigating the likes of CARB, EPA, DOT and other regulatory bodies to continue the fight alongside the SEMA PAC, lobbying on the Hill for legislation like the RPM Act.
  • OEM Relations and Future Technology: I want to reinforce and expound upon the symbiotic relationship of the automotive aftermarket and OEMs. Encryption, regulation and technology (ADAS, EV, etc.) don’t need to be roadblocks—but rather opportunities.

Volunteer Experience

  • Chair–SEMA Emerging Trends & Technology Network
  • Chair–SEMA Scholarship and Student Engagement Committee
  • Chair–SEMA Launch Pad Competition
  • YEN Select Committee member
  • President’s Club–SEMA Political Action Committee
  • Judge and Mentor–Formula SAE/SAE Baja Competition
  • Taskforce Chair–ETTN Student Competition Outreach

Personal

If I’m not racing or playing rugby, I’m caring for a new pup, tinkering on vintage motorcycles, or having a Guinness.

Proof:

Instagram: ian_for_sema

Kim Pendergast
Kim Pendergast
Manufacturer Category

Kim Pendergast

I’m Kim Pendergast, running for reelection to the SEMA Board of Directors. I am CEO and owner of Magnuson Superchargers, an entrepreneur, with 44 years of experience in business and 15 years in the automotive aftermarket.

Although new to the SEMA Board—replacing Dr. Jamie Meyer when he became president of PRI—I have experience on five boards in the automotive industry.

So, why am I running for reelection?

Simple: I believe it is CRITICAL that we PROTECT our industry—my business and your business—from increasing ATTACKS by the EPA and restrictive government regulations. I will be a voice in the board room pushing for our industry—through SEMA—to mount an aggressive and effective response in Washington.

How? First, SEMA must grow its Political Action Committee, and quickly. Next, SEMA must proactively and massively push back against the actions being taken against our industry through public awareness campaigns, grassroots efforts and organized, aggressive outreach campaigns at the local, state and national levels. Let them know who we are and why we are important!

As a business owner and manufacturer, I understand all too well the issues the industry is facing and want to address them head on. I promise to help SEMA be a strong industry advocate in Washington, and make clear to America, to Congress and regulators who we are, and the immense popularity and size of our industry.

New technological trends such as electrification threaten to become political mandates. We must take the lead on these issues, and make sure the aftermarket is not banned from playing a role in the future modification of vehicles.

I have been a member of SEMA since 2005 and strong supporter of the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN). In 2018, I was honored with the SEMA SBN Athena Woman of the Year Award. I served as the SEMA chair of the 2017 Person of the Year Task Force, as well as the 2018 Scholarship Committee.

With your vote, I will fight for our companies and our industry as a whole. Thank you for your support.

Learn more at www.Kim4SEMA.com

Brian Reese
Brian Reese
Manufacturer Category

Brian Reese

With the honor of serving on the SEMA Board, my overarching commitment is to represent the best interests of all SEMA members. My focus will start with four objectives. First, keep our industry legal! Legislative threats must be met with increased proactive effort from SEMA, and I will push for this. Second, SEMA must look forward and prepare the industry for emerging trends and technology, such as vehicle electrification. I will drive SEMA to lead this charge. Third, I will push SEMA to market the thrills and excitement of the aftermarket, in order to attract new enthusiasts and appeal as a career for talent, so we continue to be relevant and enticing to next generations. Finally, my door is always open—I welcome contact from members, who I am here to serve.

I bring broad and extensive experience, having worked my entire career for SEMA-member companies across several categories. Currently I am the president, CEO and co-owner of The Retrofit Source, the leader in aftermarket lighting. Previously, I was the president and CEO of Race Winning Brands (JE Pistons, Wiseco, Diamond Pistons, Trend, Dart, MGP, Rekluse, ProX and Manley). Prior to RWB, I served as a vice president at COMP Performance Group, vice president at Craftsman & DieHard, and director at SLP Performance.

My SEMA volunteer experience spans more than 20 years, starting as a YEN member. I have served on three councils (SCC, SPC, ETTN), chaired two councils, elected CBLC, served as a YEN Launch Pad judge, and served on several task forces and committees, including the HOF, Gen-III Innovator, and SEMA Garage planning team. I have been awarded the GEN-III Innovator (2012) and YEN Vanguard (2020) awards.

I am a fanatical “car guy.” From motorcycles to Jeeps to classics to performance and racing, I am an active participant. I have built engines, painted cars, raced motocross, autocrossed, road raced and drag raced. It’s my passion, personally and professionally. Beyond SEMA, I am also an endurance athlete who enjoys precious time with my wife and son as well as traveling the world.

I humbly ask for your vote!

BrianReeseSEMA.com

Lindsay Hubley
Lindsay Hubley
Service Category

Lindsay Hubley

My name is Lindsay Hubley and I am honored to run for the SEMA Board of Directors. I am an experienced public trade show and consumer event strategist with a passion for the overall sustainability of the automotive aftermarket, fostering the careers of women and youth, protecting our right to modify our vehicles and OHV land-use advocacy!

I grew up in this industry working into a leadership role in my father’s event production company­—producing events like the Hot Rod Power Tour, Car Craft Summer Nationals, Sand Sports Super Show and Off-Road Expo. Today, I am a 20-year active SEMA member and co-founder of Lodestone Events, producers of the Overland Expo series.

Over my career, I’ve produced thousands of events, reaching millions of automotive enthusiasts nationwide across racing/performance, classic car, powersports and off-road. My event management background combined with the successful pivot of a live-event business through the pandemic makes me uniquely qualified to guide SEMA’s development of a hybrid trade show strategy that is both live and virtual, and a 365-day content plan to engage young innovators and expand SEMA’s reach.

Youth Engagement, Education and Advocacy:

  • 2012–2016—SEMA Young Executives Network (YEN) Select Committee
  • 2013—Developed first SEMA YEN Launch Pad
  • 2014—Developed first SEMA YEN Power Tour
  • 2015—2021 SEMA Political Action Committee Member
  • 2019—Curated Overland Education for the SEMA Overland Experience

Current Positions:

  • Off-Road Business Association Board Member
  • Tread Lightly Education and Fundraising Partner
  • Founding and Current Board Member, One Voice Foundation for Off Road Motorized Recreation

Strategic Initiatives:

  • Expand SEMA’s youth engagement and global reach
  • Enhanced SEMA member benefits including a robust year-round business education program.
  • Threats from intellectual property and trademark infringement + the counterfeit community.
  • Automotive + aftermarket industry sustainability in a looming net-zero emissions economy.
  • Protecting the right to modify our vehicles and motorized access to public lands.

I am an industry professional that raises the bar, questions the status quo and drives change. As a SEMA Board member, I will PROTECT our right to innovate, modify, and to recreate in the automobile. Learn more at LindsayForSEMA.com.

Jim Liaw
Jim Liaw
Service Category

Jim Liaw

I’m running for the SEMA Board because I believe my experience will help preserve what’s great about the industry while stimulating new members and enthusiasts.

I’ve been involved in the automotive industry since graduating UCLA, first visiting SEMA in 1997 with McMullen Argus. When I saw the scale and massive potential of the industry, I was hooked—my passion became my career!

After working at the IDRC drag racing series and Hot Import Nights, I took those lessons and co-founded Formula DRIFT in 2003 with Ryan Sage. We took an unknown sport and elevated it to a world leader, with the best fan engagement in America behind NASCAR. We also have one of the most popular livestreams in the world, attracting fans and drivers globally.

Having successfully navigated through the dot-com crash, 2008 recession and global pandemic, I’m not afraid to innovate. I’m adept at adapting to trends and attracting new fans. I strongly believe the health of the industry is as dependent upon new enthusiasts as it is on established industry leaders.

While running a successful motorsports series, I’ve witnessed the challenges faced by tracks around the country. I’m committed to supporting not only the tracks, but ensuring people can build and race cars without strangling restrictions. This will be a pillar of my candidacy.

I have the experience and leadership to succeed as a SEMA Board member:

Accolades:

  • SEMA YEN Vanguard of the Year
  • SEMA GEN-III Award Finalist
  • LA Magazine–The Influentials
  • Super Street Magazine–Industry Innovators
  • Long Beach Post–40 Under 40
  • OC Metro Business–Hottest 25 People

SEMA Volunteerism:

  • YEN: Launch Pad Task Force chair, member and judge; Select Committee
  • GEN-III: Award Task Force
  • SPC: Select Committee; RASR Task Force
  • Battle of the Builders: Young Guns Advisory Group
  • SEMA Show: Show Committee; Panelist; SEMA Ignited, drifting exhibition organizer
  • PRI Show: Panelist

Other Positions:

  • FIA: Drifting Commission Charter Member
  • Pioneer Industries: Advisory Board

I humbly ask for your vote for the SEMA Board

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