SEMA Member News—July 2021
WTC Planning Session Engages and Informs Members
SEMA councils and networks offer resources aimed at meeting their members’ needs. Ideas for those initiatives often bubble up during brainstorming sessions known as long-range planning (LRP) meetings, which give members a voice on issues and a chance to bounce ideas off the wall.
In the interests of members’ welfare, attendance at the two-day Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) LRP was limited this year. Select committee members and a non-voting Tire Industry Association representative had the option of attending in person or via Zoom. At-large members were invited to join a virtual open forum preceding the LRP.
Behind the Curtain
During the open forum, SEMA staff provided a look behind the curtain at resources the association provides. Mike Spagnola, vice president of OEM and product development, and Luis Morales, vehicle product data specialist, talked about the new SEMA Garage and services that will be available to member companies.
Stuart Gosswein, senior director for federal government affairs, addressed the hot-button topic of tariffs on imported hard parts, which directly impact the wheel industry. He also touched on Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act.
Tom Gattuso, vice president of events, highlighted changes to the SEMA Show floorplan, noting that the Global Tire Expo and wheel section will remain in the Lower South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The West Hall will house the restyling, truck and off-road sections, with the Upper South Hall occupied by collision repair.
“It was incredibly valuable to hear what SEMA is doing to provide resources and services and to get feedback from members,” said Tyson Boyer, WTC immediate past chair. “It was a great update.”
During the LRP meeting, which carried over to a second day, the select committee discussed a range of topics and issues. For insights into trends and key industry indicators, WTC tapped SEMA Director for Market Research Gavin Knapp to talk about the “SEMA Future Trends Report” and economic and consumer trends that lie ahead.
The group also brainstormed some potential initiatives, not yet finalized. One idea centered on creating business tools and resources to help members promote their business or product launches. Membership retention and recruitment sparked conversation and a decision to create a subcommittee. The attendees also touched on the value of networking and what WTC could do to provide more relationship-building opportunities, and there was a conversation about WTC’s activities at the SEMA Show, which are still in the planning stages.
From Boyer’s perspective, the LRP meeting and open forum went well.
“When we have meetings, we always keep our mission statement in mind,” he said. “Why are we here? To provide value to our members. If you’re in our market, we want to hear your voice. Though it wasn’t the same as having everyone together in person, the meeting was informative, people were engaged, and we got great feedback.”