FROM THE ASSOCIATION
When We Honor Industry Leaders, We Honor Achievement
Recognizing successful individuals and companies is an important aspect of SEMA’s role as it pursues its mission of helping the industry succeed and prosper. Along with helping to enhance the aftermarket community, awards provide a way of sharing best practices and achievements.
Over the years, volunteers have worked together to develop a range of awards to honor members who have made conspicuous contributions. Each award has a different reason for being, in consideration of the many segments and categories that make up our industry.
To properly honor awardees, venues that offer the biggest stage, brightest spotlight, and most advantageous timing are top priorities. One of those events, the upcoming SEMA Awards Gala, is the July event that brings the industry together to honor SEMA Hall of Fame inductees. These are always outstanding individuals who, over multi-year careers, have significantly contributed to the industry and the association’s growth. The Gala offers a moment for the community to come together in celebration, enjoy cocktails, networking, sit-down dinner, and the opportunity to renew friendships.
As the industry evolves, it’s not uncommon for volunteer task forces to periodically review the purpose of each award and, on occasion, recommend adaptation to assure that the award maintains contemporary relevance. From time to time, new awards are also appropriate to reflect new ways of working.
One recent example is the decision to recognize the contributions of social-media content creators who have helped foster enthusiasm for car culture and engage new audiences. This year a new award, the SEMA Influencer of the Year, will be presented at the Thursday-night SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet to honor an influencer who has built an engaged audience and used his or her platform to make a positive impact with car enthusiasts of all ages.
Two other individual awards, the GEN-III Innovator Award and SEMA Person of the Year Award, will also be celebrated at the SEMA Show Banquet. The SEMA Gen-III Innovator Award was established to honor an under-40 industry professional who has contributed innovative breakthroughs that have benefitted the industry in the last 12 months. The recipient of the SEMA Person of the Year Award, established to honor a person for outstanding contributions to the aftermarket community over a 12-month period, is always a closely held secret and will continue to provide a dramatic moment when the honoree is revealed at the Banquet.
As e-commerce expands and data-driven transactions become more routine, the SEMA Warehouse Distributor of the Year Award has been updated and renamed Channel Partner of the Year, still continuing to recognize beneficial efforts by distribution companies as they support retailers. The Manufacturer of the Year Award rewards companies that exhibit outstanding business practices.
For 2022, those two awards will be announced at the New Products Breakfast. The New Products Breakfast, the opening keynote event for the SEMA Show, draws a huge audience eager to learn about the top new products as judged by volunteer teams in every segment. These awards, which were announced at the Show Banquet in prior years, will be revealed earlier in the week in order to give Show attendees the opportunity to work with winning companies for the entire Show week. In addition to the 16 categories in place in the prior year, the breakfast event will also include two new categories for 2022 to better represent product innovation in the fields of electric vehicles and advanced driver-assistance systems.
In the end, it’s work by teams of dedicated volunteers that define the criteria, sort through the candidates and select the awardees. But in a sense, when awards are made, we all win. That’s because, as we celebrate industry accomplishments, we spotlight best practices and innovation, sharing pathways to success that serve to educate and inspire all of us.