Fresh Formats and Locations for YEN Events at the SEMA Show

SEMA Member News—November/December 2014

Fresh Formats and Locations for YEN Events at the SEMA Show

Last year’s Launch Pad winner, Jonathan Mill of E-Stopp, answered questions from the judges as part of the competition.

Last year’s Launch Pad winner, Jonathan Mill of E-Stopp, answered questions from the judges as part of the competition.

The Young Executives Network (YEN) will maintain a strong presence at the SEMA Show in 2014, but some of the events that have become staples for members will have a new look. Each of the main initiatives geared toward young professionals will include a networking component, so members are encouraged to make plans early to join the festivities and meet with peers.

General Membership Meeting

First up for YEN members is a general membership meeting, which will be held Monday, November 3, from 5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Room N242. This meeting will offer two main draws for members. For those who are new to the network and have never attended an event or plugged in, the format will lend itself to hearing more about the programs and initiatives YEN is passionate about. The network leadership will be in attendance to answer questions about the focus of the group and to help members learn how to gain the most from their membership. It will also be a chance for seasoned members to connect, catch up and contribute to the discussion over drinks. For everyone who has wondered about next steps after joining, attending the meeting is a great way to start.

Industry Awards Reception With ETTN

For the first time, YEN will collaborate with SEMA’s Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) for a reception in the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino (formerly the LVH), Ballroom C. ETTN’s focus is on the future of the industry, a topic that resonates with many of the younger generation of automotive professionals. This reception will open that discussion and allow members to make new connections. YEN will bring the party, with casino tables for gaming and networking throughout the evening.

As in past years, YEN will honor two exceptional individuals nominated and voted on by peers. The Vanguard Award recipient is an individual, a business, an organization or a sanctioning body that has had a positive effect on a young executive’s career within the automotive industry. When considering individuals for this award, YEN members focus on the contributions and visions of a past or present SEMA member who mentored young talent.

The Young Executive of the Year Award honors a current YEN member whose performance over the last year demonstrated an exceptional level of service, integrity, professional growth and business ethics. Many of the past recipients have gone on to serve on various council and network select committees and even SEMA’s Board of Directors. To learn more about past award winners, visit

Members of both networks and others still on the fence about joining are invited to the reception, Tuesday, November 4, from 5:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

Launch Pad Live Event

The following day, Launch Pad will return for a second year, with some exciting changes and additions. This 2014 live event will take place 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 5, in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Room N258. Lunch will be served to the first 125 attendees, so guests are encouraged to arrive early.

Each of the final five contestants will present a business pitch to an impressive lineup of judges, all respected industry veterans:

  • Mark Arcenal is a creative director, overseeing all advertising and marketing efforts for Illest Brand and Fatlace LLC, with an impressive client portfolio that includes well-known companies all over the world.
  • Ron Coleman’s background in law and legislative issues uniquely prepared him for his current role as president and CEO of COMP Performance Group.
  • Jessi Combs holds a degree in custom automotive fabrication and has shared her skills and passion for the industry on TV Shows such as “All Girls Garage,” “Mythbusters” and “Overhaulin’.”
  • Doug Evans is SEMA’s chairman-elect and has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, with companies ranging from small manufacturers and warehouse distributors to Fortune 500s. He is currently executive vice president of aftermarket media for The Enthusiast Network.
  • Glenn Rogers is a partner at Beyond Marketing and The Armory and has been active in publishing for years.

Each of these judges brings a unique background and perspective to the table. As coaches and mentors for the contestants, they will offer advice from which the audience members may also learn. More than being entertained, attendees will walk away with a better understanding of how to pitch a product or service and what it actually takes to launch a business.