A Few Words With the New SPC Chairman

SEMA Member News—July/August 2011

A Few Words With the New SPC Chairman

Tyler Tanaka Assumes Leadership of Council

Tyler Tanaka, vice president of business development for PostRelease, has been an active participant in the automotive aftermarket for more than 20 years. He will take the leadership reins of the SPC beginning in July. 
The next chairman of the Street Performance Council (SPC) has been involved with the organization since it was a fledgling committee trying to get attention for tuner manufacturers and enthusiasts. Tyler Tanaka, vice president of business development for PostRelease, a developer of next-generation interactive entertainment and rich Internet applications, has been an active participant in the automotive aftermarket for more than 20 years. Foreseeing the importance of forums and social networks, he became an early adopter and firsthand user. SEMA Member News recently engaged in a Q&A session with this forward-thinker.

SEMA Member News: What is your two-year vision for SPC as its new chairman?

Tyler Tanaka: Tracie Nuñez did a remarkable job leading this group to where we are today, and we can continue to successfully deliver on the great foundation she was able to cement. Our first priority is to bring tangible council-member benefits through market research. The second is to try to use this data to call out trends that are currently important and to identify those that may not have gained widespread notoriety. Finally, we need to properly disseminate and communicate this information to our member companies.

SMN: How do you hope to overcome the specific challenges that face the Street Performance industry?

TT: There is now a completely different business landscape from when I started in the automotive aftermarket. What I fear is that the auto industry as a whole will continue to move at a pace that is not conducive to success in today’s rapidly changing economic and consumer climate. Technology can be our ally during this time. One of the SPC’s primary goals is to gather technology information—why location-based services are changing how local commerce is developed; how handheld smart devices are creating more sales opportunities; and how to market through video deployment, group buys or the king-of-the-moment social media.

By growing and evolving our already successful Business Technology Symposium, holding timely consumer focus groups across the country and working with SEMA’s education and OE departments, we are positioned to help make a difference for many companies in the automotive aftermarket.

SMN: What drives your high level of passion for our industry? What got you started?

TT: I am truly blessed that I was able to turn my hobby and passion for the automotive aftermarket into a career. I also have a real interest in education and teaching, and I enjoy sharing anything about the latest digital and online advancements with anyone willing to listen. The aftermarket is changing rapidly in the areas of digital marketing, green technology and online commerce. Anything I can learn and pass along to others is a real personal reward.

SMN: How has being an SPC member been beneficial to you and your company?

TT: Serving in the councils has been an incredible way for me to cut my teeth as a young manager and interact with industry professionals from a variety of different market segments. I was able to listen and learn, which would often lead to then being able to quickly apply good practices in a new and creative way in my own market. More than anything, I benefitted from being able to share my thoughts openly and honestly with others in a setting that I trusted would be held in confidence and treated with respect. It is great to now be able to interact with a wide range of people, share ideas and then be able to take away things from those encounters that can help my business.

SMN: What will you do, as chairman to encourage SPC-member companies to become more actively involved?

TT: I like to use attending church as an analogy to describe people’s involvement with SEMA and the councils. Many people only go to service on Easter and Christmas, but if you want to get the most out of your church, you sign up for the choir, join a small group Bible study or volunteer for the children’s ministry. That same attitude should be taken when it comes to industry organizations, such as SEMA and the councils. Get your young employees into the Young Executives Network to groom them for SPC service later or help with a task force that suits their interests. Believe me, there are plenty of ways to get involved.