MRC - MRC at the 2009 SEMA Show

SEMA Member News - March/April 2010

Council Honors Industry’s Best at the MRC Awards Ceremony and General Membership Meeting


Bob Cook of Bob Cook Sales was inducted into the SEMA MRC Hall of Fame, which is the council’s most prestigious honor. Cook was recognized at the MRC awards ceremony and general membership meeting, held prior to the opening of the 2009 SEMA Show, and again at the SEMA Awards Banquet.  

The annual Manufacturers’ Rep Council (MRC) awards ceremony and general membership meeting was held at the Las Vegas Hilton prior to the opening of the 2009 SEMA Show. The event attracted a packed room of manufacturers’ representatives gathered to witness the induction of Bob Cook of Bob Cook Sales into the SEMA MRC Hall of Fame and the presentation of the Sales Team Annual Recognition (STAR) award to Magnaflow Performance Exhaust.

Induction into the MRC Hall of Fame is the most prestigious recognition awarded by the council and is reserved for individuals who have made significant contributions toward enhancing professionalism, integrity and growth of the manufacturer’s rep industry. The individual must have been involved in the profession for a minimum of 10 years. MRC Hall of Fame induction is conferred upon a viable candidate only when the Select Committee deems that an individual has met the requirements of the award.

Cook has been involved in the automotive industry since 1962. From 1962–1967, he gained experience at the jobber/wholesale level as a retail counter salesman, phone salesman and, finally, as a buyer. Cook then joined the Holley Carburetor division of Colt Industries in 1970 as one of four technical specialists in the United States. He served as district manager at Colt from 1972–1974 before leaving to establish Performance Marketers Inc. with 13 fellow Colt associates. Cook formed his own agency in June of 1979.

Cook has been a dedicated SEMA member and an integral part of MRC. Not only did he serve on the SEMA Board of Directors from 1987–1993, but he was also a founding member of MRC and served on it when it was a committee before it was established as a council. He has been awarded a SEMA Rep of the Year recognition four times.

  The MRC awards ceremony and general membership meeting attracted a roomful of attendees eager to hear about current MRC programs and an outlook on the council's future plans 
The STAR award is presented to an outstanding manufacturer’s sales team that promotes professional partnership with the rep community. The recipient team is deemed to have best dealt with manufacturers’ representatives by providing timely and accurate updates on products and company policies and introducing new products as demand warrants. Other criteria include considering manufacturer representatives’ and customers’ comments when developing products and forecasting; providing representatives with necessary sales strategies, including samples, sales literature and competitive comparisons; and participating with representatives in fieldwork. Recipients of the STAR award are nominated and voted on by members of the MRC only.

Magnaflow Performance Exhaust has come a long way in the past six year in terms of understanding the role of a manufacturer’s rep. The company previously had only a direct factory sales staff to handle the responsibilities of a manufacturer’s rep. Over the years, as it recognized the partnership that exists between the manufacturer, customer and rep, Magnaflow established a rep council to help direct its internal efforts to better serve the customer.

Magnaflow has an efficient process of announcing new products that involves an e-mail blast referred to as an MPG. The MPG is sent to all reps, WDs and jobbers and informs them of when a product is out of the engineering stage and is prepared for sales. The MPG includes everything from drawings to complete volumetrics, allowing the product to be loaded into the recipient’s system.


Bryan Shirley, president and CEO of the Manufacturers’ Agents National Association, shared his more than 25 years of experience as a business owner, business consultant and coach with attendees of the MRC membership meeting.  

Magnaflow prides itself on being the first to market. It has a direct line to most automakers and a dealer network that enables it to have an exhaust available for sale as soon as a new vehicle hits the streets. The company also uses an online rep network for ordering literature. Magnaflow does not overlook the importance of timely commissions
and reports. The company is a model of professionalism when it comes to providing sales figures on a monthly basis and paying commissions on time.

The SEMA MRC Hall of Fame and the STAR award recipients were initially announced at the general membership meeting and then recognized again during the SEMA Awards Banquet at the SEMA Show.

In addition to recognizing outstanding industry peers, the MRC awards ceremony and general membership meeting included a presentation on relevant legal issues by Steven Sack, the council’s legal counsel. Bryan Shirley, president and CEO of the Manufacturers’ Agents National Association, also spoke at the meeting. Shirley has more than 25 years of experience as a business owner, business consultant and coach who reaches all segments of consumer product sales and marketing.

The MRC’s hosted activities, in conjunction with the SEMA Show, also included the MRC Breakfast With the Students. During the breakfast, reps met and discussed the manufacturer’s rep segment of the industry withcollege and tech students. After the breakfast, the students accompanied MRC members onto the SEMA Show floor to visit and network with manufacturers. Past breakfasts have resulted in several students being employed by their MRC-member hosts.

As always, one of the key highlights of having attended the MRC events at the SEMA Show was the opportunity to network in an informal and friendly setting. All manufacturers’ representatives—MRC members and non-council members—who participated in the council’s activities were able to benefit from shared trends, information and, most importantly, general camaraderie between fellow industry peers.