SEMA Member News - January/February 2010
PRO at the 2009 SEMA Show
NovemberFest Is an Outstanding Success!
The inaugural Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) industry awards reception at the 2009 SEMA Show was, by all accounts, a resounding success. Four ballrooms at the Las Vegas Hilton were utilized to accommodate the approximately 250 attendees.
The PRO Jim Borre Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed on Ellen McKoy (second from right) for her continual contributions to the restyling industry and to the PRO council. Joining McKoy for the award presentation were (from left) PRO Chair-Elect Eldon Bracken, Lisbeth Borre, her daughter Amy and PRO Chairman Karl Stearns.
Joey Johnston (middle) of Tops and Trends was named the 2009 PRO Restyler of the Year. Johnston was joined onstage by David Stringer of Insignia Group (left) and Stearns.
|Stearns (left) presented the Manufacturer of the Year to Katzkin Leather Interiors. Stefan Majlinger (center) of Katskin accepted the award and was joined onstage by John Grote of Grote Industries.|
The Nat Danas Person of the Year Award was presented to B.J. Leanse (center) by Travis Weeks (left) of Truck and Auto Customizing magazine and Stearns.
“The concept of NovemberFest was born during a breakout session at the PRO Long-Range Planning (LRP) meeting back in June,” said PRO Chairman Karl Stearns. “A task force was formed to design and organize the event, and they just ran with it, straight to the end zone. I cannot say enough about the dedication and hard work the task force—and the entire Select Committee, for that matter—put into this project. The NovemberFest brand, logo, creative bookmark-style invitation, German-themed menu and bar selections, commemorative T-shirts—everything came from PRO Select Committee members. SEMA staff and management were great to work with and gave us total cooperation and support every step of the way,” added Stearns.
The Select Committee pushed the invitations aggressively at the SEMA Show, from the PRO booth, from their own booths and in the aisles in order to boost attendance at the first-time event. Getting people into the seats was only half the battle, however. Organizers worked with the SEMA and Hilton hotel staffs to design a German-themed menu (in keeping with the Oktoberfest theme), an awards presentation and valuable door prizes. A DJ was also secured to keep the atmosphere jumping.
“Some people say you can judge a good party by how long people stay,” said PRO Chair-Elect Eldon Bracken. “The reception was officially over at 7:30 p.m. That’s when the bars closed down. The Hilton staff broke down the room and only bare tables were left at 8:30 p.m. But dozens of people were still there chatting away as if the music were still playing. I have no doubt that PRO now has an event of its own at the SEMA Show, and folks will be looking forward to it next year.”
The gathering wasn’t just a social affair. The PRO membership taskforce utilized the captive audience to aggressively pursue new council and SEMA memberships. The taskforce displayed a PRO “Tool Kit” of deliverables at NovemberFest to entice new members into the fold. Tim Johnson, SEMA membership data specialist, volunteered his time to process the membership applications and help “close the deals.” The extra efforts paid off in the form of seven new PRO memberships.
“I am so proud of this Select Committee,” said Stearns. “They are totally committed to PRO and to the restyling industry. In their hands, the future is bright for both.”
PRO Presents Industry Awards
While branding PRO and bringing restyling professionals together was one goal of NovemberFest, PRO also used the event to present its annual industry awards. Amid the cheers of friends and colleagues, the following awards were presented.
Jim Borre Lifetime Achievement Award
The PRO Jim Borre Lifetime Achievement Award honors an outstanding individual in the restyling, trim or light-truck accessory industry whose creativity, dignity, integrity, industriousness and accomplishments on a national level have enhanced the stature of the industry, while significantly contributing to the industry’s growth, progress and professionalism. The 2009 award was presented to Ellen McKoy.
Restyler of the Year, Sponsored by Insignia, Simplified Accessory Sales
The PRO Restyler of the Year Award honors an outstanding restyler/installer in the restyling industry whose creativity, dignity, integrity, industriousness and accomplishments have enhanced the stature and growth of the industry within the candidate’s community. Joey Johnston of Tops and Trends was the 2009 honoree.
Manufacturer of the Year, Sponsored by Grote Industries
The PRO Manufacturer of the Year Award honors an outstanding manufacturer in the restyling industry whose creativity, dignity, integrity, industriousness and accomplishments have enhanced the stature and growth of the industry within the aftermarket community. Katzkin Leather Interiors Inc. received the honor for 2009.
Nat Danas Person of the Year, Sponsored by Truck and Auto Customizing Magazine
The Nat Danas Person of the Year Award honors an outstanding individual in the restyling industry whose creativity, dignity, integrity, industriousness and accomplishments have enhanced the stature and growth of the industry within the candidate’s community and nationwide. B.J. Leanse was presented with the award for 2009.