SEMA News—January 2023

SEMA Member News

By SEMA Editors

ARMOAutomotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO)

ARMO Tips Its Hat to the Industry

For members of the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) and classic-car aficionados, the SEMA Show is an ideal setting to showcase and shop for products and services which drive the restoration market.

It is also the place to eyeball the vehicles in ARMO’s exhibit, jointly shared with the Hot Rod Industry Alliance on the Show floor. Likewise, it’s equally important for council members to connect with likeminded peers and celebrate a vibrant industry segment.


The Business of the Year Award went to Carlisle Events for its long-standing support of, and vested interest in, the Hot Products Showcase.

Cool Cars, Council Celebration

ARMO kicked off events on Tuesday morning with the unveiling of three crowd-pleasing restorations representative of current market trends, from vintage to restomod, including Cool Hand Customs’ 1974 Plymouth Duster and a ’34 Chevy Roadster built by Devlin Rod and Customs. Ryan’s Rod & Custom’s candi-green ’66 Corvette rounded out the trio.

On Tuesday evening, ARMO members were treated to a walk down memory lane at the council’s ’70s-themed awards reception. The event, held at the Westgate Resort & Casino, conjured up memories of iconic musclecars and street machines as members enjoyed a night of good fellowship and an awards ceremony.

The festivities began with announcing the new-product award winners. The awards were previously determined during ARMO’s Hot Products Showcase at Spring Carlisle. Honorees included Dakota Digital, Flaming River, Retro Manufacturing, AMD and Magnuson Superchargers, also named People’s Choice.

ARMO next presented four awards. Person of the Year honors went to Joe Improta, founder of The Parts Place, in recognition of his decades-long support of the restoration industry. The IPC Award honored Immediate Past Chair Ben Tucker for his passion, dedication and vision to transform the ARMO Awards Reception into a premier-theme-style event.


ARMO kicked off events on Tuesday morning with the unveiling of three crowd-pleasing restorations representative of current market trends like this candi green ’66 Corvette by Ryan’s Rod & Custom.

The Business of the Year Award went to Carlisle Events for its long-standing support of and vested interest in the Hot Products Showcase. Jeff Broadus, Carlisle sponsorship development specialist, was inducted into the ARMO Hall of Fame. Among his contributions as a volunteer member, Broadus crafted the proposal for what is now Car Collector Appreciation Day, celebrated annually in the United States and Canada.

“On behalf of ARMO, we thank our award winners for their time, efforts and sacrifices as members of the select committee or as members-at-large to help ARMO succeed and grow,” said Chair Randall Bates.

ARMO Eyes Education

Helping members expand their knowledge of key issues is top of mind for ARMO. To this end, ARMO assembled an impressive slate of four interactive webinars.

The one-hour webinars are presented quarterly. Prior to the SEMA Show, ARMO hosted “Social Media Basics: Introduction to the 3 Cs” to help members maximize their social media marketing activities with a focus on content, community and commerce.

The next session, “Supply Chain: Facing Domestic and International Challenges,” is slated for the first quarter of this year. “Sponsorship Tips: Making Sponsorships Meet Your Expectations” is on tap for the Spring, to be followed in the third quarter by “What Can ARMO do for Your Business: Overview of Membership Features and Benefits.”

“We have a subcommittee that works very hard to bring in top-tier presenters, experts in their field to talk about specific topics, such as the social media aspects of growing a business or the supply chain issues that everybody across the board is facing,” said ARMO Chair Randall Bates.

“These webinars are very well thought out and very relevant to all ARMO members, and it’s a great way to stay up to date on what’s happening in the industry.”

On a side note, Bates said there is no time like the present for ARMO-member manufacturers to express their interest in participating in the 2023 Hot Products Showcase at Spring Carlisle. “It’s an excellent way to get your company’s products in front of thousands of enthusiasts.”

For more information, contact SEMA Council Director Marcy Yanus at

ETTNEmerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN)

ETTN Symposium Earns High Marks

Automotive technology is evolving at breakneck speed. So, it’s imperative for SEMA-member companies to have access to resources that allow the continued development of innovative aftermarket products. This is especially true for those on the front lines of product development, who often lack opportunities to access needed resources.


Engineers at the N.E.R.D Symposium partaking in networking with product and service

To help fill the gap, the Emerging Trends & Technology Network hosted the first-ever ETTN N.E.R.D. Symposium at the SEMA Garage in Detroit. The Symposium—whose acronym stands for Networking, Education, Resources and Development—linked engineers, product developers and programmers with service providers and top-tier presenters.

The event included a firsthand look at tools and resources available at the Garage, in-depth education sessions, informal gatherings to encourage networking, one-on-one meetings between attendees and service providers, and concluded with the Grand Opening of the Garage.

“It was the first time we have ever done this. We didn’t know what to expect, but it was a great event,” said ETTN Chair Rob Simons. “The feedback from attendees has been phenomenal. People were grateful to have been included and felt it was 100% worthwhile.”

Education, Meetings Deliver Results

The first day featured a deep dive into tech-centered topics aimed at helping attendees improve skillsets and product-development processes. Topics included ADAS, emissions calibration and compliance, diagnostics and simulations.

The next day, attendees met with service and product providers. The 30-min. sessions emulated the MPMC Media Trade Conference’s speed-dating format. In between structured activities, participants gathered in informal settings to share ideas, talk tech and forge new

“The event provided an opportunity to grow our business and learn from others’ backgrounds and knowledge in a low-key, open environment,” said engineer Joshua Sally. “It was a good blend of networking with open discussion and structured meetings with a good setting.”

Tim Michaliszyn of Performance Electronics said the Symposium offered an opportunity to network with other SEMA members, discover new technologies and learn about resources at the new Garage.

“As a service provider in the industry, the majority of our customers are other SEMA members. This was the perfect environment for us to convey what we do and how we can help other companies. The N.E.R.D. Symposium was just as beneficial to attend as the SEMA Show and provided a more direct and focused experience for manufacturers like us. It was the perfect venue for us to attend.”

FLNFuture Leaders Network (FLN)

FLN Honors Volunteer Leaders, Renews Partnership With Dale Carnegie

For members of the Future Leaders Network (FLN), the annual FLN Reception is a time to reconnect and engage with colleagues and celebrate the accomplishments of young professionals who have made significant contributions to the network’s growth and progress.

The after-hours event took place Tuesday at the Renaissance Hotel Rooftop. Complete with drinks, appetizers and a car show, FLN capped off the evening with an awards ceremony. The FLN Vanguard Award was presented to Tayler Edwards of PDM Automotive. Trim Illusion COO Evan Cook was named FLN Professional of the Year. The Chairman’s Award honors went to Emily Boden with Lodestone.


The FLN Vanguard Award was presented to Tayler Edwards of PDM Automotive at the FLN Reception at the 2022 SEMA Show.

In acknowledging their contributions, Chair Nick Caloroso noted that each honoree demonstrated exceptional support for FLN and its Professional Development Program. “It’s important,” he said, “to recognize the actions of FLN members who have consistently gone above and beyond to encourage involvement in the Future Leaders Network.”

Sharpen Skills to Advance Careers

Building on the success of its inaugural Professional Development Program, FLN is again teaming with world-renown Dale Carnegie to present a second training event at the new SEMA Detroit Garage in Plymouth, Michigan. The two-day, interactive program is on tap for Thursday and Friday, May 11–12.


The FLN Reception after-hours event took place Tuesday at the Renaissance Hotel Rooftop at the 2022 SEMA Show.

The in-person event is open exclusively to FLN members at a significant discount. Sessions led by Dale Carnegie trainers will center on improving individual and professional growth and development, as well as networking opportunities. To help attendees master essential skills to grow their personal and business proficiencies, core learnings will address such key topics as sharpening communication skills and confidence building as well as strengthening relationships and building rapport.

“Last year’s inaugural event was very successful and we’re excited to again provide this value-added resource to our members,” said Caloroso. “Not only is this an opportunity to experience the new SEMA Garage, it’s also strategic. The new location opens up the opportunity to those who are in the Midwest or eastern parts of the country. FLN is committed to offering resources and learning opportunities to help our members advance their careers.”

Program details are pending. For more information, or to be placed on a contact list once applications open, contact SEMA Council Director Denise Waddingham at

HRIAHot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA)

HRIA in the Limelight

Eye candy is virtually everywhere at the SEMA Show. And nowhere does the spotlight shine brighter on street rods than in the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) exhibit.

As Showgoers know, HRIA shares space in Central Hall with the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO). Each council showcases three vehicles representative of their respective markets.

Dodge Van

The Evolution of Hot Rodding award celebrated a vehicle that pushed the boundaries of tradition and embodied evolving trends, and was won by Goolsby Customs with a ’69 A108 Dodge Van.

This year’s crop consisted of modified Chevrolets: Ringbrothers’ off-road interpretation of a ’72 K5 Blazer, a custom-fabricated ’85 Camaro built by the Greening Auto Company, and a bespoke ’67 Chevelle built by BBT Fabrications.

The rods chosen for the display not only represented the best of the best, but they also spotlighted the talented builders who created them and helped raise the profile of HRIA-member products and the hot-rod industry.

Lauding Leaders

HRIA hosted its popular industry reception on Wednesday evening at the Westgate. The gathering brought together hundreds of hot rodders for a night of celebration and good fellowship that began with an honor guard trooping of the colors and the national anthem.


The Industry Recognition Award was presented to Jeanette Ladina, CEO and president of Flaming River.

As guests mingled and ogled an array of rods drawn from HRIA’s outdoor vehicle display, emcee Tim Strange, Strange Motion and Custom, kicked off the awards program.

The Industry Recognition Award was presented to Jeanette Ladina, CEO and president of Flaming River. The HRIA Business of the Year title was bestowed on QA1. Hot-rod aficionado and land-speed racer George Poteet was inducted into the HRIA Hall of Fame.

Two new awards were also announced. The Design & Innovation Award recognized a builder or business that pushed the limits of creativity and innovation, and the winners were the Ringbrothers with their ’48 Loadmaster. The Evolution of Hot Rodding celebrated a vehicle that pushed the boundaries of tradition and embodied evolving trends, and was won by Goolsby Customs with a ’69 A108 Dodge Van.

Becoming a Builder

The Hot Rod Builders’ Panel, powered by HRIA took place on Thursday morning. The interactive session, known for its lineup of top-tier builders, was moderated by Vintage Air President Rick Love.


HRIA hosted its popular industry reception Wednesday evening at the SEMA Show and brought together hundreds of hot-rodders for a night of celebration and good fellowship.

Panelists included Bobby Alloway, Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop; Kyle Tucker, Detroit Speed & Engineering; Jim and Mike Ring, Ringbrothers; Art Morrison, Art Morrison Engineering; and veteran journalist Brian Brennan, In the Garage Media.

Discussion centered on the state of the hot-rod segment, affording the audience of aspiring hot rodders a chance to soak up stories and insider tips, learn about trends and interact with the experts.

MPMCMotorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC)

MPMC Hosts Media Conference, Webinars

Following two years of a virtual format, the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) is hosting a newly refreshed in-person Media Trade Conference, January 24–26, at a newer, more modern Embassy Suites in Anaheim, California.


“People tend to think of MPMC as being just the media conference. We’re the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council. We want to center attention on the manufacturing and business side of being in motorsports, apart from the media, marketing and advertising.”—Melissa Scoles, MPMC Chair

The event brings together editors, print and online journalists, content creators and other media types in one-on-one meetings with exhibiting MPMC-member manufacturers.

According to MPMC Chair Melissa Scoles, the hotel’s upgraded facilities are ideal for the event’s speed-dating-style format. “It’s still the same format, but the newer hotel offers better meeting space and guest rooms and faster internet service, which has been a concern.”

Based on positive responses to post-event surveys, she said, “People are anxious to get together in person and reconnect with colleagues.” To help facilitate engagement, instead of casual buffet luncheons and an evening reception, dining arrangements are designed to foster networking and relationship building.

One luncheon will group participants at separate tables, where preset topics are aimed at sparking conversations and networking. Another luncheon features a panel presentation with journalist and NHRA broadcaster Brian Lohnes as the moderator.

“People have missed personal connections, to be able touch the product and get to know others on a one-one basis,” said Scoles. “We’ve planned events that will allow manufacturers to network and collaborate. As we bring in new types of media, collaboration is also key. So, there will be opportunities for the media to get to know one another.

“This will be a fun year. We’re excited to be back in person and move to a new venue.”

Manufacturer-Centric Education

In 2018, MPMC released an updated version of its “Business Guidelines Manual.” The rebadged “SEMA Business Guidelines Manual, presented by MPMC” contains business practices and procedures, terms and information to help member manufacturers improve their businesses.

While hailing the manual as a significant accomplishment, Scoles noted that MPMC as a stand-alone entity has been overshadowed by the trade conference. “People tend to think of MPMC as being just the media conference,” said Scoles. “We’re the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council. We want to center attention on the manufacturing and business side of being in motorsports, apart from the media, marketing and advertising.”

This led to quarterly manufacturer-centric webinars on product liability insurance and working with social media. Future webinars will focus on emissions compliance and product prototyping. Dates and additional topics to be announced.

“We’re going through the manual to identify relevant topics and go more in depth in each webinar,” said Scoles. “We want to be the go-to resource for motorsports parts manufacturers and other companies that would want to join MPMC.”

PROProfessional Restylers Organization (PRO)

PRO Prioritizes Training, Recognizes Excellence

The Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) hosted its second annual Installer Training and General Membership Meeting at Auto Image in Plainwell, Michigan. The daylong event drew 38 PRO members who participated in sales strategy sessions and installer training.


Former SEMA Board member BJ Leanse (center), who served multiple terms on the PRO select committee, including a stint as chair, received the prestigious Jim Borré Lifetime Achievement Award during the council’s awards reception.

Hands-on instruction was provided by Llumar, Champion Automotive Systems, VOXX, Brandmotion and Katzkin Leather. Manufacturers also shared tactics for upselling accessories to car dealers.

“The manufacturers provided in-person training and also offered great information on the sales side,” noted PRO Chair Josh Poulson. “They did a fantastic job.”

Poulson also said PRO plans to build on the event’s success, perhaps expanding to a multi-day format. “The meeting was very well received. But we want to keep improving and give our members the biggest bang for their buck.”

Saluting Achievement

PRO began Show Week with its annual awards reception. Held on the West Hall third-floor terrace on Tuesday evening, the venue gave everyone a chance to hobnob with colleagues and salute industry luminaries.


Hannah Coulter with Automotion Customs, Inc. won the 2022 PRO Cup Challenge with a ’22 Toyota RAV4 XLE build package at the 2022 SEMA Show.

Top Coverage earned recognition as PRO Restyler of the Year. Champion Automotive Systems was awarded PRO Manufacturer of the Year.

Kevin Gillis was named Nat Danas Person of the Year. The award honors the late founder of Auto Trim & Restyling News.

BJ Leanse of The AAM Group received the Jim Borré Lifetime Achievement Award, named in remembrance of the late PRO chair and SEMA Hall of Famer.

“The PRO awards are our industry’s highest honors. We’re proud to recognize the achievements of our award winners,” said Poulson.

Real-World Opportunities

The PRO Cup Challenge also highlighted members’ accomplishments. Designed to raise awareness of vehicle accessorizing, the Challenge pitted restylers against one another as their customized vehicles vied for a trophy.

The third annual event, held in PRO’s West Hall booth, featured seven vehicles: Ford Mustang Mach E, Cadillac Escalade Sport, Toyota RAV4 XLE, Jeep Grand Cherokee, GMC Sierra 2500, and two Ford F-150 Lightnings. The PRO Cup Challenge winner was Automotion Customs Inc.’s ’22 Toyota RAV4 XLE, and the PRO Cup Fan Favorite was awarded to Top Coverage Ltd.’s ’22 Ford F-150 Lightning.

Eligible builds must be suitable for dealership display, be marketable and appealing to a range of customers and easily replicated by other restylers, ultimately generating profit for restylers and their dealer clientele.

“PRO always tries to bring value to our members,” noted Poulson. “It’s about restylers coming to the Show and going home with seven fresh ideas they can immediately implement over and over in their local market using member-manufacturers’ parts. It’s one of the few programs that actually helps our membership make money.”

Other activities included PRO Happy Hour on Wednesday afternoon, where members networked while awaiting results of the PRO Cup Challenge, plus two council-powered seminars.

At Lunch with the PROs on Thursday, members talked about the state of the industry. “Lunch with the PROs is about meeting in person with our members, talking about what PRO is doing and finding out about our members’ needs and concerns,” said Poulson. “That’s where we take the time to listen to our members.”

SBNSEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN)

SBN Champions Engagement, Leadership

From Gear-Up Girl to an evening reception and educational offerings, the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) championed opportunities for engagement and career growth throughout Show Week.


Gear-Up Girl, exclusive to women, gave female students and young women an opportunity to connect with industry veterans, learn about career pathways and expand their networks at the 2022 SEMA Show.

The well-attended Gear-Up Girl event, exclusive to women, gave female students and young women an opportunity to connect with industry veterans, learn about career pathways and expand their networks.

“Gear-Up Girl is an excellent networking opportunity for young women and female students,” said SBN Chair Cathy Clark. “It’s a chance to make connections with successful professional women, ask questions and sharpen networking skills.”


Lana Chrisman (right), SBN past chair, was named #SheisSEMA Woman of the Year.

Women were also recognized for their accomplishments. Rachel Garrett, SBN scholarship awardee and University of Northwestern Ohio student, received the Jessi Combs Rising Star Award. The award recognizes a woman under 30 who is advancing her career and paving the way for her peers.

Lana Chrisman, executive director of Lions Automobilia Foundation and Museum and SBN past chair, was named #SheisSEMA Woman of the Year. The award honored Chrisman for her dedication to SBN and the aftermarket industry.

The SBN Reception immediately followed. The event was open to men and women. “We welcome everyone at our reception,” said Clark. “It’s a great opportunity to network with our select committee and other council and network leaders.”

Listen and Learn

SBN rounded out its schedule with two women-centric seminars. “Women Who Build” featured a team of SBN women volunteers who built a modified Ford Bronco Wildtrak, provided by Ford’s Bronco brand. Participants shared how teamwork and collaboration empowered the team to successfully accomplish its vision.


SBN rounded out its schedule with two women-centric seminars. “Women Who Build” featured a team of SBN women volunteers who built a modified Ford Bronco Wildtrak, provided by Ford’s Bronco brand.

During “Engaging the Next Generation of Women in Motorsports,” a panel of leading ladies in racing revealed how they have overcome adversity to achieve success and offered insights and advice on career pathways in motorsports.

Sharpen Skillsets

Mark your calendars. SBN is gearing up for its Women’s Leadership Forum, March 1–3, at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel in Costa Mesa, California.

The Forum, which debuted last year, is designed to help industry women advance their careers through focused leadership training. The three-day program—which fittingly occurs during National Women’s History Month—includes workshops and presentations. Sessions led by experts and top trainers, including Dale Carnegie, focus on building skills sets through education, mentorship and group discussions.

“Last year’s event was impactful, meaningful and inspiring,” said Clark. “The environment was very conducive to open conversations. We’re excited about what’s to come to make it even more robust.”

TORATruck & Off-Road Alliance (TORA)

TORA Highlights, Upcoming Events

From a dazzling feature vehicle display to a rousing industry gathering, the Truck & Off-Road Alliance (TORA) put its best foot forward in Las Vegas.

The TORA Feature Vehicle Program is a council mainstay. For 2022, a new location on the walkway between the North and West Halls gave prominence to the rebranded TORA Feature Vehicle Trail. The display featured 10 customized trucks showcasing market trends, diversity and opportunities, while also raising awareness of the council and the program.


Industry veteran Rick Hermann (center) was inducted into the TORA Hall of Fame at the TORA Industry Reception at the 2022 SEMA Show.

“We were excited about the new location,” said TORA Chair Troy Wirtz. Noting the council’s desire to pique interest in the program and tell the TORA story, he credited SEMA Vice President of Events Tom Gattuso and SEMA Vice President of Sales Warren Kosikov with helping to raise the bar.

“We wanted to bring more awareness to the council, get more visibility and brand the program to create a buzz. The location was great. We are pleased with the way it turned out,” said Wirtz.

Celebration and Camaraderie

The TORA Happy Hour was held on Tuesday afternoon in the West Hall Members Lounge. “We moved the event to the Members Lounge to give everyone more quality time to network and connect with leadership in a relaxed atmosphere,” said Wirtz.

TORA’s Industry Award Reception was moved inside the West Hall third floor due to unforeseen weather. Pivoting to the indoor location did not hinder the excitement of the event and allowed more than 250 members to reconnect over food, drink and the Pinewood Drags.

Industry veteran Rick Hermann was inducted into the TORA Hall of Fame. Radco was named TORA Retailer of the Year. Fred Wiley, executive director of the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA), was awarded Jessi Combs Ambassador of the Year.

“All three winners are a great representation of our industry,” said Wirtz. “We’re super proud to recognize their contributions to the truck and off-road market and to TORA.”

Hit the Trail

TORA plans to host council mixers at six regional events. First stop, King of Hammers, Johnson Valley, California, in early February, followed by the Keystone Big Show at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, Aurora, Colorado, February 10–11.


The TORA Feature Vehicle Program at the 2022 SEMA Show had a new location on the walkway between the North and West Halls.

Following a pit stop at the Easter Jeep Safari in early April in Moab, Utah, TORA will head to Jeep Beach Week in Daytona, Fla., later that month. Two additional events to be announced.

“Regional events create an opportunity to bring TORA members together and network with others in the industry, including other SEMA councils and networks,” said Wirtz. “We’ve been really successful with our regional events, but more than anything, it’s our way of saying thank you to our members for being part of TORA.”

WTCWheel & Tire Council (WTC)

WTC Lauds Industry Luminaries

Members of the Wheel & Tire Council were recently treated to segment-specific activities at the Show: the WTC Industry Reception, Happy Hour and Coffee & Conversation.


The WTC Reception at the 2022 SEMA Show.

On Tuesday evening, members congregated with colleagues and saluted three legendary leaders during the awards reception held in the South Hall Members Lounge. Two honorees received the WTC Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Roy Littlefield, former CEO of the Tire Industry Association (TIA), and Stuart Gosswein, former SEMA senior director of federal government affairs.

Littlefield, who retired in 2021, joined the National Dealers & Retreaders Association—the predecessor to TIA—in 1979. He is best known for his advocacy on behalf of the industry and for supporting technician training processes and procedures.

Gosswein retired last year after four decades of safeguarding the specialty-equipment industry’s interests on such critical matters as cash-for-clunkers, the Low Volume Replica Act and preserving the Bonneville Salt Flats. He currently serves on the board of the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA).

Greg Parker, Wegmann Automotive, was inducted into the WTC Hall of Fame in acknowledgment of his volunteer leadership. Parker has long supported SEMA Cares, previously served as chair of the Young Executives Network (now Future Leaders Network/FLN) and, more recently, was WTC chair.

Cars and Coffee

WTC Coffee and Conversation at the 2022 SEMA Show.

“We should all look at Roy, Stuart and Greg as role models to define how we measure our service to the industry,” commented WTC Chair Todd Steen. “When we reflect on what they’ve accomplished, they have modeled actions we should follow. These awards are our way of thanking them for their dedication and service to the industry.”

Building Community

Other WTC activities gave members and nonmembers a chance to connect with colleagues, talk shop and learn more about the council.

During Happy Hour, held on Wednesday afternoon in the South Hall Members Lounge, guests got to meet and mingle with the select committee as they relaxed and enjoyed beverages and

WTC wrapped up the week on a high note with Coffee & Conversation. The early morning get-togethers were held on Wednesday and Thursday near the entrance to the Global Tire Expo. During the low-key gatherings attendees discussed a range of topics, learned about the benefits of council membership and how to get involved.

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