SEMA News—July 2022

SEMA Member News

Council & Network Leadership

By SEMA Editors

By Ellen McKoy

Nicole Bradle
Nicole Bradle

Getting to Know SEMA’s Council Directors

The SEMA Board of Directors approved the council concept in 1993, elevating the status of three committees: the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO), the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) and the Street Rod Market Alliance (SRMA), now the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA). SEMA then hired its first council director. There are now nine councils and networks and three SEMA council directors.

Denise Waddingham
Denise Waddingham

Each director pursued a different career pathway. Collectively, they bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion to their roles. Nicole Bradle has 20-plus years of association management experience. Marcy Yanus, the newest team member, came from the nonprofit sector. Industry veteran Denise Waddingham once served as a SEMA volunteer leader.

What led them to shift gears and join the organization? These are their stories.

The Pull of Volunteers

Nicole Bradle serves as SEMA’s liaison to the Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN), the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) and the Wheel & Tire Council (WTC). She’s a certified meeting planner, certified association executive and recipient of the Association Forum’s 40 Under 40 Award. While earning a master’s degree from Eastern Illinois University, she became interested in meeting planning.

“I liked planning events and started out as a conference manager, where I learned about conference and association management,” she said.

She later served as executive director for up to nine subspecialties at the American Society of Anesthesiologists and, more recently, was member relations director for the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. In spring 2020, Bradle was working from home during the pandemic when Nathan Ridnouer, SEMA vice president of councils and membership, reached out after seeing her association experience online.

“I wasn’t looking for a new job,” she recalled. “Nathan was looking for a new council director and recruited me because of my association background. I know nothing about cars but what pulled me in was working with volunteers. That’s my passion.

“My groups are animated and passionate about helping to make a difference. The SEMA team I work with has great ideas and works hard on solutions to help members. It’s been an amazing two years.”

From Volunteer to Director

Denise Waddingham was chair-elect of SBN when Ridnouer asked for her advice.

“He wanted to know what type of person he should hire as council director,” she recalled. “I jokingly said I could work for him remotely. I didn’t think it would go anywhere.”

It did. She started in May 2020, working with PRO, the Future Leaders Network (FLN) and the Truck & Off-Road Alliance (TORA). Waddingham had worked for Dee Zee for 15 years. She started there after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa and was corporate relations manager, so moving to SEMA wasn’t a snap decision.

“It took some soul searching,” she said. “My entire career has been in the industry. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, but I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it weren’t for Dee Zee.”

She credits Dee Zee’s Troy Wirtz and Les Rudd of Bob Cook Sales.

“Troy was active in SEMA,” she said. “He and Rose Kawasaki encouraged me to get involved in SBN. Les nominated me for the Custom Automotive Network Board. I ran, was elected, and it was a good experience. I got to see the association side I hadn’t seen as a volunteer. It helped me move into staff with an understanding of how associations work to benefit their members. It also helps that I came from the volunteer side. I can see things from their standpoint and help move projects to fruition. It’s exciting and very gratifying.”

The Perfect Fit

Marcy Yanus grew up around cars. Her dad’s shop restores antique and classic car engines. He’s a former Formula V race-car driver, and she used to time races. Although immersed in car culture, she followed a very different path. After graduating from John Carroll University, Yanus worked for a public relations firm and a TV station.

“I wanted more of a team atmosphere, and I found that in the nonprofit sector,” she said.

She landed her first position as membership director at a Cleveland-area YMCA. Over the years, Yanus held executive positions throughout the United States and worked with YMCA’s international partners. She also led courses on leadership and fundraising. Most recently, she was vice president of operations, managing a group of YMCAs in Columbus, Ohio, but the pandemic gave Yanus time for reflection.

ARMOAutomotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO)

ARMO Hot Products Showcase Shines at Spring Carlisle


Spring Carlisle showgoers browse dozens of ARMO-member products at the Hot Products Showcase.

Overcast skies and the chance of April showers did little to dampen the excitement at this year’s Spring Carlisle Collector Car Swap Meet, where hordes of enthusiasts gathered at the sprawling Carlisle Fairgrounds in Pennsylvania to celebrate car culture.

For the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO), Spring Carlisle signals the opportunity to present its popular Hot Products Showcase. An exclusive ARMO-member benefit, the Showcase provides a premier platform for members to spotlight their hottest products and vie for awards in five categories.

As in past years, the Showcase tent was situated between the grandstands and the event stage. The high-traffic spot ensured that enthusiasts would pass through during the four-day event to view the displays, vote for favorite products and learn how SEMA and ARMO help to preserve and perpetuate the restoration hobby and the industry.

In the run up to the event, ARMO Chair Ben Tucker said signups were running ahead of prior years, with a goal of securing about 50 companies and 100

“Carlisle is always a huge success for ARMO, and I know it’s going to be a great event,” Tucker said.

On the Legislative Front

“It is absolutely good news,” Tucker said when queried about the recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ruling that allows for small-volume automakers to build and sell turnkey vehicles.

In finalizing the regulation, NHTSA greenlit the SEMA-led Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act. The act, which actually became law in 2015 as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, enables replicar businesses to build and market replicas of vehicles produced at least 25 years ago. Production is limited to 325 vehicles per year.

“SEMA applauds NHTSA’s final rule allowing companies to market classic-themed cars,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Daniel Ingber. “This is a hard-fought victory for enthusiasts, small-volume manufacturers and all who will be hired to fill new jobs.”

In recalling his experiences at SEMA’s rallies in Washington, D.C., Tucker noted that the replicar issue was a hot topic for ARMO.

“Even though the law had already been passed, it was in limbo so, of course, it was an important issue for our members,” he said. “SEMA did great work in getting it done. Many of the companies we do business with will now have a chance to sell parts to manufacturers that build replicars. It’s a real boon to the restoration industry.”

“The great thing about SEMA’s emissions-compliance program is that it makes it easy to achieve compliance.”

—John Lambert

ETTNEmerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN)

ETTN Stages Career Fair, Revs Up Tech Symposium

Society of Automotive Engineers students at the SEMA Garage on April 3, in Diamond Bar, California, during a recent Networking Event and Career Fair.


The Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) recently co-hosted the SAE/SEMA Garage Career Fair on April 3. The event, a joint venture between SEMA, ETTN and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), was held in Diamond Bar, California.

The program was designed to connect SEMA members, SAE board members and other industry professionals with university students who are part of formula and Baja SAE competition teams. The competitions challenge students to design, fabricate and compete with formula-style race cars.

Besides networking and a close-up look at resources available through the SEMA Garage, the program included a career fair that allowed companies to recruit future graduates. The students also had a chance to gain feedback from industry professionals on their engineering and business presentations in advance of the forthcoming SAE competitions.

“The event was a collaborative effort between SEMA and SAE,” said ETTN Immediate Past Chair Ian Lehn, who spearheaded the project on behalf of the network. “It was refreshing to see the two organizations focus on the future of the next generation.

“To have an opportunity to interact with people in our industry at this level was invaluable. We want these students to see how cool we are and that we do a lot of cool stuff. Credit goes to Mike Spagnola (SEMA CEO) and Luis Morales (SEMA director of vehicle technology) for making us look as cool as we did at this event. To secure the future of our industry, we need to push the boundaries of technology. We have to cultivate the next generation and let them know that there’s an exciting future with our member companies.”

Tools, Technology and Knowledge to Advance Careers

Calling all automotive engineers, programmers and product developers! ETTN’s inaugural NERD Symposium debuts at the SEMA Garage in Detroit on Tuesday, August 16. The multi-day, multi-faceted event—whose acronym stands for Networking, Education, Resources and Development—consists of three core elements: an educational component, interfacing with service providers and subject-matter experts, and networking.

The event kicks off with a sneak peek at the newest SEMA Garage, followed by a get-acquainted cocktail hour. On Wednesday, education sessions presented will dive into the complexities of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), emissions, diagnostics and simulation.

A series of one-on-one meetings with service providers and subject-matter experts is also on tap, and ETTN members will choose from a list of participants who will share their expertise on the technology behind emissions testing, ADAS calibration, intellectual property, machinery manufacturing, 3-D printing and more.

Networking opportunities will abound throughout. From the opening night cocktail hour to daily breakfasts and lunches to the Garage grand opening on Thursday evening, ETTN attendees will have multiple occasions to share ideas, talk shop and build meaningful, long-lasting connections

“This is truly a high-value event loaded with content and resources to help our members and their companies succeed,” said ETTN Chair Rob Simons. “We are excited to provide our members with exceptional educational, networking and career-growth opportunities.”

FLNFuture Leaders Network (FLN)

FLN Leadership Program Sharpens Skills


The Future Leaders Network (FLN; formerly the Young Executives Network) is committed to cultivating industry talent through education and networking by providing value-added resources and learning opportunities—which brings to mind the 14th-century English proverb, “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.”

The saying still has significance in today’s world. How might it apply to FLN? Its members are aspiring young leaders intent on achieving a greater level of success. To help in their career-advancement journeys, the network recently partnered with the world-renowned Dale Carnegie training courses on a new program aimed at improving members’ individual and professional growth and development.

The two-day interactive professional development program was held at the SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar, California, on March 24 and 25. Following a kickoff networking mixer the evening before, the program itself focused on mastering essential skills to nurture and grow personal and business capabilities. Core learnings included confidence building, sharpening communication skills, strengthening relationships and building rapport.

“It was one of the most valuable programs I’ve been part of,” said Ian Lehn, founder of BOOSTane and immediate past chair of the Emerging Trends & Technology Network. “It was two-pronged. It not only created camaraderie, which SEMA does well, but we also all walked away with some valuable tools. The course didn’t necessarily give me new tools, but it sharpened the tools I already have and showed me how to use them in different ways. That’s where the real value lies.”

“The program was very successful,” added FLN Chair Nick Caloroso. “We hope that it really catches on and can take place in other locations. We want people to see it as a value add and for SEMA-member businesses that value their employees to invest in their future by sending them to this program. It’s about planting the seeds to help our member achieve greater

Council & Network Leadership–Council Highlights

FLN’s Professional Development Program recently involved a partnership with world-renowned Dale Carnegie, the first of which was recently held at a two-day interactive program on March 24–25 at the SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar, California.

HRIAHot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA)

HRIA Hails NHTSA Ruling, Champions Education Days


The announcement that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had finalized a regulation enabling replicar businesses to produce and market turnkey vehicles was met with enthusiasm by the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA).

“It’s definitely a legislative win,” said Marcy Yanus, SEMA council director on many legislative issues important to our industry is big. It reaffirms that these efforts in Washington are meaningful and pay off to the benefit of our industry and enthusiasts.”

The ruling was long overdue. The SEMA-led legislation, known as the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act, passed into law in 2015 as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. Under the law, small-volume automakers can market replicars that resemble vehicles produced at least 25 years ago. Annual production is limited to 325 replicars per manufacturer.

“SEMA applauds NHTSA’s final rule allowing companies to market classic-themed cars,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Daniel Ingber. “This is a hard-fought victory for enthusiasts, small-volume manufacturers and all who will be hired to fill new jobs.”

Engaging Members, Sharing Knowledge

HRIA kicked off an ambitious event schedule with a virtual membership meeting and a panel discussion moderated by Cool Hand Custom’s Amy Fitzgerald. The discussion, called “Preparing for the 2022 Car Show Season,” featured panelists Ben Tucker of Camaro Central; Kelle Oeste of V8 Speed & Resto Shop; and Jon Phillips of Advanced Clutch Technology.

A second virtual event moderated by Fitzgerald addressed the topic of “What’s a Hot Rod? The Answer May Surprise You.” Panelists included Jesse Henke of JH Restorations; Pete Filippo of Filippo Speed Shop; and Tim Strange of Strange Motion Rod & Custom. Another online session, “Hot Rod Trends: Looking Back & Looking Ahead,” is slated for September.

In June, HRIA will host an in-person membership meeting and mixer at Back to the Fifties in Minneapolis. Next stop: Louisville in August for HRIA’s flagship Education Days program at the NSRA Street Rod Nationals.

Launched in 2016, the program this year is a two-day event that is open to the public and includes 10 seminars. Five sessions will be presented daily. Topics run the gamut from wiring and gauges to brake and suspension systems to air conditioning, engines and power steering.

“Because thousands of enthusiasts attend the Nationals, it’s a great opportunity for members to share their expertise and build a rapport with end users,” Agosta said. “The sessions are so popular that we draw upward of 900 attendees. We’re extremely excited to present this year’s Education Days program. We’re expecting another record-breaking year.”

HRIA Education Days returns for 2022 on August 4–5 at the NSRA Street Rod Nationals.

MPMCMotorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC)

MPMC Addresses Opportunities and Challenges

From the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Media Trade Conference (MTC) to the RPM Act and the recent introduction of the SEMA Emissions Certification program, MPMC is focused on matters pertaining to its segment of the industry.

For the second consecutive year, the MTC was virtual rather than in-person. While the conference draws strong support from traditional print, video, TV and radio media, the online format has allowed for increased participation by lifestyle and social-media influencers.

In the lead-up to this year’s event, MPMC organized a webinar aimed at educating it members on the ins and outs of working with new media. The live session was presented by Driveshop.

“This may be new territory for our members,” said John Lambert, Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) chair-elect. “We wanted to give them an understanding of how influencers increase awareness, how to interface and set up relationships with influencers and the questions they should ask. It was very well received, a lot of interaction, and we’re excited to build on this going forward.”

John Lambert
John Lambert

Revving Up the RPM Act

To ensure that the performance industry can continue providing products used to modify street-certified vehicles into those used solely for racing, SEMA has been working with lawmakers to pass the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act. The act has strong congressional support but has yet to become law.

“The U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has swung the pendulum too far,” Lambert said. “The overreach is so vast that it will have a negative impact on our industry. Last year, the SEMA PAC did a good job of setting up call times for SEMA members to talk to their Senate or House representatives. I had conversations with legislators and explained how the RPM Act will affect our industry and trickle down on local economies. It was eye-opening for them.”

MPMC members can help propel the RPM Act to the finish line. Ideas include posting info on social media, passing out flyers at motorsports events, or sending letters to lawmakers via

“We are a passion-driven industry, and the EPA is trying to stop the expression of our passion for motorsports,” Lambert said. “We all need to support SEMA’s efforts to save our race cars.”

Certifying Emissions Compliance

SEMA recently introduced a new program that enables aftermarket parts manufacturers to meet the legal requirements for emissions compliance under the EPA Tampering Policy. SEMA Certified-Emissions (SC-E) gives manufacturers the ability to verify that a product meets the EPA’s “reasonable basis” criteria and is therefore legal in 49 states.

“The great thing about SEMA’s emissions-compliance program is that it makes it easy to achieve compliance,” Lambert said. “I have a lot of experience doing that for Hypertech and with the California Air Resources Board and SEMA, and it can be very challenging for a company that may not know where to start.

“SEMA stepping in with its own certification will take member companies through the process faster. If the EPA comes knocking, members will have everything they need to ensure that their products are in compliance. It’s a big deal and a great opportunity for SEMA members.”

PROProfessional Restylers Organization (PRO)

PRO Rolls Out SEMA PRO Auto Show Tour

Heads up, members of the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO)! The SEMA PRO Auto Show Tour may be coming to a city near you.

Across America, in cities large and small, auto-show organizers have long sought to elevate the in-person experience and ramp up excitement at their events. After all, more than 11 million consumers flock to new-car shows annually, with two out of three attendees planning to purchase a new vehicle within a year.

So what better way to spark consumer enthusiasm than with a firsthand look at a show-stopping array of customized rides. Now, thanks to a proposal crafted by the PRO Select Committee and approved by the SEMA Board of Directors, the council’s innovative car-show initiative will play a key role in building consumer awareness of the benefits of vehicle accessorization.


Aligning Objectives

PRO leadership kicked off the groundwork last year with a presentation to 62 auto-show executives at the Auto Shows of North America (ASNA) Summit. The presentation focused on the benefits of restylers displaying customized vehicles in their respective markets and how these exhibits inspire consumer engagement. ASNA members responded favorably, agreeing to provide complimentary exhibit space along with exhibit-related services.

“PRO Chair Josh Poulson, Chair-Elect Colby McLaughlin and Immediate Past Chair Dino Perfetti did great work when they met with ASNA,” noted Ron Leslie, who chairs the council’s Auto Show Subcommittee. “The auto-show people said this would be an awesome way to promote their shows and bring in more excitement.”

Moving forward, PRO’s objectives aligned neatly with several SEMA Board priorities. At each event, for instance, industry-related consumer issues will be promoted, including awareness of legislative issues such as the RPM Act, youth engagement and career opportunities. The exhibit will also help to promote the automotive lifestyle, raise PRO’s profile and build brand awareness of SEMA and the SEMA Show.

“It’s a perfect marriage of the SEMA Board wanting to reach the consumer market and what we could do as PRO members,” Leslie said.

Hitting the Road

The SEMA PRO Auto Show Tour will kick off at the Denver Auto Show in September. Other likely destinations include Seattle, Charlotte, St. Louis, Austin or Tulsa, Dallas and Columbus, Ohio.

The exhibit will feature a specially designed, high-profile SEMA booth. The display will occupy at least 3,000 sq. ft., providing ample space to showcase vehicle builds and promote awareness of the restyling segment.

As PRO finalizes the show schedule, member restylers in target markets will be invited to feature vehicle builds to help educate consumers about the restyling market and how new vehicles can be transformed.

“We’ve had great success with the PRO Cup Challenge, so we’ve merged the ASNA opportunity with the idea of taking the Challenge concept to regional shows,” Leslie said. “We plan to work with restylers in each market to execute the display, to rebuild some of the award-winning Challenge vehicles and build some vehicles that are market-appropriate. It’s a great way to reach consumers nationally, to reach dealers in a more professional way and build real value for our members. SEMA made a huge investment to bring this about, and we are thrilled to bring the excitement of the SEMA Show and PRO to these shows.”

The SEMA PRO Auto Show Tour will kick off at the Denver Auto Show. Shown here is a sampling of the Automotive Concepts exhibit at last year’s show in Minneapolis, which was featured in PRO’s presentation to ASNA.

The auto-show people said this would be an awesome way to promote their shows and bring in more excitement.

—Ron Leslie

SBNSEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN)

SBN Forum Presents Pathways of Opportunity

Women bring a lot of pluses to a workplace environment—empathy for co-workers, a team-oriented mindset, and a variety of communication styles, to name a few—that can be beneficial in any industry, especially one that is traditionally male-dominated. To help women employed in the automotive specialty-equipment industry advance their careers, sharpen leadership skills and amplify their voices within their companies and the industry, the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network hosted its inaugural SBN Women’s Leadership Forum in March at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel in Costa Mesa, California.


Participants of the Women’s Leadership Forum in March at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel in Costa Mesa, California, joined together for education and networking.

The three-day, in-person event focused on providing industry women with opportunities to improve skill sets through education, mentorship, group discussions and networking. To this end, SBN’s Leadership Forum Task Force assembled an impressive roster of immersive and interactive sessions presented by sought-after independent and Dale Carnegie-affiliated speakers, all of whom were women.

The first day kicked off with a keynote titled “Creating Your Community and Finding Inspiration.” An interactive session, “Overcoming, Surviving and Thriving,” was followed by two breakout tracks presented by Dale Carnegie—one centered on personal development, the other on leadership. Other topics covered during the event included “Creating a Culture of Fun,” “The Art of Executive Presence: A Woman’s Guide to Amplifying Your Career,” and concluded with a keynote session, “Pulling it all Together in a Bow.”

“The whole event was inspiring and uplifting,” said SBN Chair Cathy Clark. “We wanted to create an intimate event where women would not only learn and be exposed to new ideas but also feel safe and comfortable to help build a sense of sisterhood. The intimate atmosphere at the hotel created a perfect environment for that through networking.

“Our mission is to help women in our industry develop relationships, develop their skills, advance their careers and to stay in the industry. We want them to build their careers working for SEMA-member companies and to remain part of the SEMA community. I look forward to doing whatever it takes to make that happen, because it was a really great event.”

Cathy Clark
Cathy Clark

SEMA Council Director Nicole Bradle, staff liaison to SBN, echoed Clark’s

“It was mind-blowing and very moving to be with women from different levels in the industry, to see their ability to break down their thoughts, look at what they’re doing and try to improve their skills and abilities,” Bradle said. “SEMA is still a male-dominated industry. For these women to find other women they could talk to, work with, learn from and build each other up will help get more women into the field and help the industry

Participants of the Women’s Leadership Forum in March at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel in Costa Mesa, California, joined together for education and networking.

“We wanted to create an intimate event where women would not only learn and be exposed to new ideas but also feel safe and comfortable to help build a sense of sisterhood.”

—Cathy Clark, SBN Chair

TORATruck & Off-Road Alliance (TORA)

TORA Mingles With Members, Promotes Feature Vehicle Participation

The Truck & Off-Road Alliance (TORA) recently co-hosted successful cross-council/network mixers. At the Keystone Big Show, TORA teamed with the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN), the Professional Restylers Organization and the Wheel & Tire Council. During the Easter Jeep Safari, TORA hosted a day of off-roading with a “Behind the Rocks Tip-Toe Trail” run, followed by a mixer in conjunction with SBN.

“We always get a good turnout,” said Chair Troy Wirtz. “It’s a great opportunity to bring our community together.”

Builder Growth Opportunities


Imagine the thrill of seeing your accessorized truck or off-road vehicle at the 2022 SEMA Show. If your company is a TORA member, the council is seeking builder participants for its Feature Vehicle Program.

The program has long been a council mainstay. The exhibit features six vehicles—five positioned outside the West Hall and one in the TORA booth. Eligibility centers on specific categories, including diesel, off-road, Jeep, lowered, lifted, overland or UTV. Candidates must apply and pay a feature vehicle fee of $1,500, of which $500 is donated to SEMA Cares.

According to Wirtz, TORA aims to raise awareness of the program and highlight the value of participation while securing a mix of vehicles emblematic of the truck and off-road segment.

“We need to bring more attention to the program, and we encourage more people to submit applications,” he said. “It’s more than just four days at the SEMA Show. For builders, the recognition, having their vehicles displayed and the networking creates enormous opportunities.”

Seth Ravndal concurred. His company, Blacklake Research and Development, displayed a Silverado 1500 in the lifted/off-road category last year.

“Being chosen as a feature vehicle was a great compliment and endorsement of our company and its capabilities, and it was a great opportunity to showcase this segment of the market,” he said. “The increased exposure helped us engage and build relationships with many peer companies, potential suppliers and customers. If it fits your company’s marketing strategy, it’s a no-brainer.”

“It’s a thrill and an honor to have a vehicle at the SEMA Show,” added Seth Gortenburg, co-owner of Defco, which built two lifted Ford trucks (an F-250 and an F-450) made for street and towing. “Besides the invaluable exposure, we received many leads from potential customers. We met current and potential vendors and established new

“The aftermarket is all about networking. When you have a feature vehicle at the SEMA Show, you have the opportunity to showcase your talents. It’s not just bragging rights. It’s a truly unique opportunity to grow your business.”

WTCWheel & Tire Council (WTC)

WTC Webinars Deliver Value

Since the start of the pandemic, online learning has taken on a more important role. As many organizations adapt to an evolving workforce environment, virtual education is an effective way to deliver information and knowledge to a wide audience and keep colleagues connected, no matter where they may be.


This is true for the Wheel & Tire Council (WTC), which has made virtual education a top priority and last year experienced success with its webinar tracks for tire and wheel professionals. Beginning in February of this year, WTC launched a new webinar series. The sessions are live and run monthly through September.

The new series, “Wheel and Tire Insights, Powered by WTC,” is targeted specifically to wheel and tire manufacturers, equipment suppliers, dealers, retailers and service providers. Each session targets a specific topic and is presented by industry experts sharing insights into issues relevant to the wheel and tire segment.

The first webinar, for instance, centered around the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act and the impact on the wheel and tire segment if street-certified vehicles cannot be modified for racing. Presenters included Tire Rack’s John Rastetter; Garry Ruede of Discount Tire; Eric Snyder, SEMA director of congressional affairs; and Ryan Fuller of Standards Testing Lab. During the webinar, they shared their knowledge of the issue and how the Environmental Protection Agency ruling would jeopardize future sales of race wheels and tires.

The March webinar, “PAC Membership From a WTC Membership Perspective,” was presented by SEMA Director of Government Affairs Christian Robinson and John Hotchkis of Hotchkis Performance, chair of the SEMA Political Action Committee (PAC). During the session, they explained how the SEMA PAC helps to ensure that elected officials support the aftermarket industry. They also talked about the importance of the new SEMA Individual Membership and how WTC members can work with elected officials.

Future webinars will tackle other topics. Among them: “Building Your Business Through Profit Sharing,” “Future of Wheels and Tires in Five, 10, 20 Years,” and “Staffing, Training, Retainment of Tire Shop Employees.”

From WTC’s perspective, the sessions are a valuable member benefit.

“We want to help our members become stronger in their end of the business in our industry,” said Chair Todd Steen. “We’re not here to tell them how to modify autonomous vehicles. We want our members to understand what’s coming down the pike and to see the challenges and opportunities and be their education resource. I can think of no better way to bring value to our members than by helping them with their businesses through education.”

Easter Jeep Safari cross-council networking event with the Truck & Off-Road Alliance and SEMA Businesswomen’s Network.

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