TORA Shines at the SEMA Show

SEMA Member News—January 2019

TORA Shines at the SEMA Show

 TORA PinewoodThe iconic TORA Pinewood racetrack gave members the opportunity to purchase a pinewood to help SEMA Cares charities and race against fellow members.

The Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) hosted its Media Preview Exclusive on Monday of the 2018 SEMA Show, held October 29–November 2. With its sights set on connecting its members with journalists, editors and influencers, the annual preview affords member manufacturers a chance to maximize product exposure by meeting with key media representatives who focus on the light-truck segment. Media Preview exhibitors also had an opportunity to submit their new products for award consideration in two categories.

The award for Best New Product Over $500 was presented to CargoGlide for its Truck WallSlide storage system. Comprised of a steel framework, it allows users to customize interior truck walls with shelving of their choice. It also allows everything stored on a fixed shelf, drawer or bin to be rolled out.

Dee Zee’s new Hex Series Side Steps were chosen as the Best New Product Under $500. Made of lightweight extruded aluminum and overlaid with a protective powdercoat, the side steps feature an integrated channel that allows for adjustment of the drop step.

The presentation of the Influencer of the Year award was also a much-anticipated highlight. The award recognizes and rewards media for their efforts in supporting the light-truck, Jeep, diesel, SUV and, more recently, off-road markets. It’s a thank you to those individuals who help TORA-member companies sell products, connect with consumers and cover events that reach new markets.

To qualify for the award, which includes both traditional and nontraditional media outlets, candidates must have an influential presence in digital, social and/or print media, be focused on the truck market and/or emerging markets associated with trucks, SUVs and off-road, as well as concentrate on the aftermarket.

In recognition of their successes in reaching flourishing truck-centric audiences, this year’s winners of the Influencer of the Year award were Velocity TV and motorsports hosts Matt Steele and Bruno Massel of Truck U, a show dedicated exclusively to trucks, 4x4s and SUVs.

Honoring Leaders, Supporting SEMA Cares

TORA ReceptionSelect Committee Member Sara Morosan networking with other TORA members during the reception. 

Every year during Show week, TORA members gather to hobnob with council leadership, connect with colleagues, and pay tribute to industry movers and shakers. On Tuesday afternoon, nearly 100 people stopped by the TORA booth in the Upper South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center during Happy Hour to mingle and check out a ’19 Ford Raptor from Fox Factory Inc. The Raptor, along with five outdoor feature vehicles, helped to raise $5,000 for SEMA Cares.

On Wednesday evening immediately following Show closing for the day, a crowd of close to 400 council members headed to the TORA awards reception, held outside the South Hall next to the BFGoodrich and Hoonigan exhibits. From all reports, the event was a smashing success. TORA sold 144 Pinewood Derby cars, raising an additional $2,880 for SEMA Cares. Select committee member Matt Reasoner of Retrax was the lucky derby winner.

No TORA reception would be complete without an awards ceremony, which included an impressive roster of honorees. In recognition of superior customer service, community outreach to local schools and volunteer service in SEMA councils and networks, Sara Morosan of LGE-CTS Motorsports was named TORA Retailer of the Year.

The Ron Webster Award for Engineering Excellence is named in honor of the late founder of Guidon Truck Covers, one of original members of Truck Cap Industry Association (TCIA)/Truck Cap and Accessory Association (TCAA), which eventually evolved into the TORA. This year’s recipient, John Marking of Fox Factory Inc., received the award in recognition of his engineering ingenuity, including creating and patenting 24 technologies for Fox since joining the company in 1992.

TORA Chair Kathryn Reinhardt presented the 2018 Chairman’s Award to Mike Hallmark of Hellwig. Hallmark is known as an ardent and active supporter of council activities. In her remarks, Reinhardt noted that, because Hallmark consistently declines the opportunity to run for a seat on the select committee, the award represents TORA’s heartfelt appreciation for his ongoing dedication and support.

The TORA Hall of Fame award recognizes an outstanding individual whose creativity, dignity, integrity, industriousness and accomplishments have enhanced the industry. This year’s inductee, Bill Cole of Yankee Custom Caps, was a founding member of TCIA. During his 45-year industry career, he has grown his once-small company into one of the largest truck-accessory suppliers in New England, with five locations throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.