Looking Ahead: WTC to Partner With Clemson University

SEMA Member News—September/October 2013

Looking Ahead: WTC to Partner With Clemson University

By Amanda Gubbins

Three years ago, SEMA teamed with Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) to offer SEMA members access to product-development analysis, testing, simulation resources and engineering talent. John Waraniak, SEMA’s vice president of vehicle technology, sees this as an unprecedented opportunity for members.

“Technology is integral to both the relevance and the future of SEMA and the performance aftermarket,” he said. “To ignore its impact is a fundamental mistake. The association’s vehicle technology programs and initiatives are investments in SEMA’s collective future.”

The Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) will be the first SEMA council to fully take advantage of the Clemson partnership. Identifying an important industry need, the WTC will work with CU-ICAR on a research study to determine the effect of aftermarket wheel and tire plus sizing on vehicle dynamics/physics and to utilize the established baseline in consideration of new and emerging vehicle technologies. Stay tuned, as the WTC will be providing a public status report in the Vehicle Technology Center during the 2013 SEMA Show.

Introducing WTC’s New Select Committee Members

Three newly elected members took seats with the WTC Select Committee on July 1, including Tim Dietz, accounts manager and technical sales for Standards Testing Labs; Greg Parker, marketing manager at Wegmann Automotive; and Wayne Williams, president of ExSell Marketing Inc. They recently shared their perspectives about some of the resources WTC offers its members as well as the value of volunteering.

SEMA Member News: Why are you volunteering your time as a Select Committee member?


Greg Parker, marketing manager at Wegmann Automotive.
Greg Parker, marketing manager at Wegmann Automotive.

Tim Dietz: I wanted to be more involved in my industry and be a part of inciting positive change and growth.

Greg Parker: SEMA offers its membership the opportunity to participate in the growth and direction of the industry—not only as a whole but also as segments. Whether you work in the wheel and tire industry, the hot-rod industry or the truck industry, SEMA provides a place for you to showcase your talents and make a difference. It’s up to all of us to protect and grow our industry, and this is just one way that we can continue to do that.

Wayne Williams: I’m volunteering to give back to SEMA members and my clients, who can all benefit from my engagement with the WTC.

SMN: How does WTC benefit the automotive industry?

TD: WTC really benefits the industry in three ways. It helps promote business, it grows and shapes the industry, and it keep us aware of legislation that impacts our businesses. The council allows us to make current ideas relevant to the industry.

GP: It is very important for the SEMA councils to deliver upstream and downstream communication. The WTC maintains a strong voice upstream and delivers influence for the wheel and tire segment to SEMA staff and the SEMA Board of Directors. The WTC also continues to provide valuable information downstream to the WTC membership, all in an effort to better equip the segment for everyday business and what is coming in the future.

WW: WTC benefits the industry with improved communication and clarity regarding a wide variety of current issues.

SMN: Why would you encourage council members to get involved in WTC?

TD: Getting involved does matter. You have the chance to network and learn what goes on behind the scenes. There is so much information to know, and you are privy to that as a council member.

GP: The WTC is your voice and partner. Without participation, there is no clear line of communication between you and the people of influence where your voice needs to be heard. We all play a role in continuing to grow this industry and our individual segments. The SEMA councils are the gatekeepers to helping that happen, and we are stronger by partnering together than if we remain separate.

WW: I would encourage involvement for the simple purpose of building value, both personally and professionally.