Scholarship Committee Adds Members

SEMA Member News—March 2017

By Katie Carson

Scholarship Committee Adds Members

 Scholarship Committee
The SEMA Scholarship Committee is dedicated to activating the next-generation automotive workforce by providing programs and resources to students, educators and educational institutes.

The SEMA education department encompasses all of SEMA’s education efforts, including engaging youth in the automotive aftermarket industry, fostering employment efforts, professional education for SEMA members, and the SEMA Scholarship Program. The department’s mission is to provide the automotive aftermarket with outstanding professional development and training resources.

The SEMA Scholarship Committee is a group of industry volunteer leaders who share a passion for the advancement of the industry and affording students the opportunity for an education. New committee members were appointed recently. Meet some of the newest.

Laurel Dasher of MagnaFlow, SEMA Scholarship Committee Chair

Laurel Dasher has been in the automotive aftermarket for more than 20 years and is the national accounts manager for MagnaFlow. Dasher also currently serves on the SEMA Board of Directors and has a deep commitment to the growth and well-being of the industry.

Dasher’s passion for motorsports began as a Super Comp drag racer, which led to a commitment to serve the industry on various councils such as the Young Executives Network (which she chaired), the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network and the Truck and Off-Road Alliance. During her career, Dasher has been recognized as the Young Executive of the Year, the SBN Woman of the Year Award and was a recipient of the top female scholarship. She received a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA from Saint Joseph University in Philadelphia, and she has served on the university’s Board of Business Ethics.

Dasher keeps a set of key values at the top of her mind as she makes decisions to lead the Scholarship Committee forward.

“My values lie deeply within the growth of education opportunities available for the next generation of students, as well as the educators who devote their time, talent and resources for the betterment of these students,” she said. “Whether students go to vocational schools, universities or engineering schools, we should encourage their involvement in the automotive aftermarket. It is up to us as members to help invest in their future and the future of the industry.”

The Scholarship Committee recently updated its mission to embody those values, and Dasher would like to share this new mission with the membership.

“SEMA is dedicated to activating the next-generation automotive workforce by providing financial support and career resources to students, schools, educators and programs that benefit the professional development of young professionals enrolled in various high schools, universities, colleges and/or vocational schools in the United States,” she said. “The SEMA Scholarship program is more than just a fund to contribute toward a student’s education.”

Myles Kovacs of DUB Magazine

Myles Kovacs is a leading voice of the trend-setting youth segment. Kovacs connects with young consumers through America’s influencers, entertainers, media, hot product designers and mainstream corporations. By creating a DUB revolution, Kovacs has transformed the way businesses approach and succeed in reaching the youth market. His cornerstone asset is DUB magazine.

“My goal for the SEMA Scholarship Committee is simple,” Kovacs said: “To ensure that the focus and recipients have ties to the automotive aftermarket in some way.”

Steve Gibson of K&N Engineering

Steve Gibson is a program coordinator with K&N Engineering, creating and managing programs between K&N and schools, teachers and students. Gibson has worked in the automotive industry since age 16. In his spare time, he enjoys land speed racing, NASCAR, waterskiing, camping and traveling.

“My passion for the performance aftermarket industry is huge,” Gibson said. “In high school, I dreamed of finding a career that involved cars, but I couldn’t find any useful resources to help me identify what kind of jobs were out there and what I needed to do to get to one of those jobs. Now that I’ve been working in the aftermarket, I realize that industry companies need to do a better job at reaching out to younger generations to fuel their enthusiasm about cars while helping to build a path for students to follow that leads to employment in our industry. Those industry needs are the same as the goals of the SEMA Scholarship Committee. With my experiences, I hope I can offer unique perspectives and opinions to our committee’s actions.”

Julia Johnson of Skyline College

Julia Johnson is a professor of automotive technology at Skyline College in San Bruno, California. She teaches the entry-level certificate classes, coordinates the intern and apprenticeship programs as well as the career advancement academy in auto tech. Johnson has worked in the field of auto repair and has been teaching for almost 10 years.

When asked what drives her to volunteer her time to this cause she said: “That’s an easy one to answer—the students! The very best part of my job is helping students learn and grow and find their passion. Being on this committee allows me to bring an educator’s perspective to the table and help create new ways of engaging the next generation.”