TORA - A Call to Arms

SEMA Member News - May/June 2009

An Open Letter From Outgoing Chairman Ron DiVincenzo

 SEMA News-May 2009-TORA
The annual TORA Industry Reception at the SEMA Show provides the perfect atmosphere for casual, constructive networking with industry peers. Presentation of the TORA Industry Awards will be added to this year’s reception agenda. Here, Anne Johnson receives the 2008 TORA Hall of Fame Award from TORA Chairman Ron DiVincenzo and Chair-Elect Kelly Kneifl.

This is my last issue of SEMA Member News as chairman of the Light-Truck Accessory Alliance (TORA). My tenure as chairman has been exciting, to say the least. As Dickens said, it’s been “the best of times and the worst of times.” When I joined the Select Committee—and even during my first year as chairman—the light-truck industry was enjoying the best of times. Now the aftermarket and our segment, in particular, are experiencing what certainly must be the worst of times.

While researching this article, I realized that this issue is usually dedicated to covering the annual TORA spring event. The light-truck accessories industry has been represented by a strong trade association since Truck Cap Industry Association (TCIA) was formed in 1989. In the years since, as TCIA became the Truck Cap & Accessory Alliance (TCAA) and then TORA, we have always had some type of spring function to showcase and celebrate our industry segment. As you know, this year’s brand-new spring event, the Technical Skills & Training Conference, was postponed due to lack of registrations.

So this will be the first year our association does not have a spring event—another indication of just how tough things are right now. But that does not signal the end of our association or our industry. These difficult times will pass, and our organization and industry will emerge stronger than before. But in order to accomplish that, we must stick together. There is no more critical time to be active in the TORA and SEMA than now.

I have written and spoken many times about the value of networking, and there is no better vehicle for networking within the industry than an TORA membership. While the spring event will not happen in 2009, there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of.

 SEMA News-May 2009-TORA
 All of the many TORA member benefit resources originated at the annual TORA Long-Range Planning Meetings. What will come out of this year’s meeting? The TORA needs your ideas!

As of this writing, details on when and where the annual TORA Long-Range Planning Meeting will be held have not been finalized. But by now details will have been posted on the TORA webpage and sent to members via e-mail and hard copy. I urge everyone to attend, if at all possible. All of the member benefits that are afforded by TORA membership have been developed at the Long-Range Planning Meeting. The CHMSL, Altered Truck Heights and Paint Matching CDs came from individual member ideas. Last year’s meeting alone resulted in the development of the Bed Dimensions and Keyless Entry wiring reference sheets and the SEMA webinar compilation CD. What sort of ideas will we collectively develop this year? I can’t wait to find out.

While the current state of affairs has put many of us in survival mode, we must continue to look forward and be ready for the future. If you are unable to attend the Long-Range Planning Meeting in person but have ideas or thoughts, please forward them to TORA Council Liaison Jim Skelly so that we may include them on the agenda.

The Select Committee election process will be all but over by the time you read this. I am proud of all the members who stepped up to volunteer their time on the Select Committee and the companies that allow them the time to do so. If you are not fortunate enough to have the time and resources to serve on the Select Committee, I urge you to stay involved and contribute your ideas nonetheless. TORA membership has been invaluable to me and the company I work for, as it has for countless others. My tenure as chair is ending, but I will continue to stay involved and contribute wherever I can on behalf of the industry.

Yes, these are tough times, and so it is time for the tough to get involved. The future depends on us. I intend to be a part of it. How about you?

—Ron DiVincenzo
TORA Chairman

Upcoming TORA Events

Long-Range Planning Meeting: Join other industry professionals to brainstorm and strategize for the collective future of the light-truck accessories industry. Details are available here.

Annual Industry Reception at the SEMA Show: This annual event is a true networking function, allowing TORA members and other industry professionals the opportunity to interact and network in a relaxed atmosphere. New to the event for 2009 is the presentation of the annual TORA Industry Awards.

Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Time: 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Location: Las Vegas Hilton Hotel

Details are available by here.