SEMA Member News - September/October 2010
Select Committee Spotlight
Brian Downard: Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Lokar Performance Products
Brian Downard, vice president of sales and marketing for Lokar Performance Products, was recently elected to the HRIA Select Committee.
Brian Downard was recently elected to the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Select Committee. He has been working in the automotive industry since 1984. He got his start in his father’s shop, Downard’s Automotive Specialties. After graduating from Kent State University, he went to work with Summit Racing in the company’s tech department. He later worked in sales and marketing with SLP Performance Parts, Mickey Thompson Tires and Stainless Works.
Downard has been with Lokar for three years. His job with the small company requires him to do whatever needs to be done. “We all pitch in where we have to,” he said, “and I also travel to many trade shows and consumer shows such as Goodguys events and NSRA events.”
Downard still has his first car, a ’66 Chevelle that was featured in Super Chevy and Hot Rod magazines. The car and he have been together since Downard was 15 years old. “My wife drives a ’23 Ford T-Bucket that I built for her,” he said, noting that he also just traded for a ’64 Ford Falcon that will be his son’s first car. “He’s 12, and when he’s not racing quarter midgets, he’s helping me get the Falcon roadworthy,” Downard said.
Downard said that the thing he is most proud of is his relationship with his wife of 19 years. Lisa is his best friend and someone whom he enjoys spending time with in the garage. She grew up a car kid, too, and they both appreciate cars so much that they have made it a family affair.
“I don’t know if cars would be any fun for me if it weren’t for my wife and son Cale to share them with,” Downard said. “I think the best thing for me in this industry is to stop and think of all the friends I have all over this country because of cars. It really is pretty cool!”
Downard enjoys racing quarter midgets with Cale. His cars are owned and crew-chiefed by John Impy, the research and development manager at Lokar. “We all have a bunch of fun racing,” Downard said, “and when we aren’t on the race track, I enjoy R/C boat racing on the local lakes.” And, of course, he enjoys spending time in the garage. He has always been fascinated by all things mechanical.
He recently traded for a ’64 Ford Falcon that will be his sons Cale’s first car. “When he’s not racing quarter midgets, he is helping me get the Falcon roadworthy,” Downard said.
|Downard enjoys racing quarter midgets with 12-year-old son Cale.||He still own his first car, a ’66 Chevelle that was featured in Super Chevy and Hot Rod magazines.|
Downard said that has had the good fortune to work for some of the most innovative and hardest-working individuals in this industry, from learning how to swing wrenches at his father’s shop to working with and for such people as Paul Surgi, Ed Hamburger, Rick Craze and now Skip and Debbie Walls. He hopes to use his experience as a member of the HRIA Select Committee to support the industry and address issues such as too much government regulation.
Join HRIA for its annual awards banquet on Wednesday, November 3, at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. All HRIA members are encouraged to attend this great opportunity to network with industry peers and meet this year’s Hall of Fame inductees and award winners. In addition, the HRIA reception features several one-of-a-kind hot rods that will debut in Las Vegas.
Message from HRIA Chair, Dennis Overholser
Why Join HRIA? The HRIA represents both the past and future of the hot rodding industry. While maintaining a link to our history as street rodders, we recognize the growth in automotive customization of today’s hot rodders. For this reason, HRIA supports activities such as the HRIA Youth Awareness program, which introduces high school and college students to the professions of our industry. We also support the HRIA Hall of Fame, which recognizes the contributions of the legends of our industry, and now the HRIA Pinewood Builders Race, which brings both legendary and new hot rod builders together in good-spirited competition.
In all the activities supported by HRIA, our goal is to never lose track of our past while building a stronger future for hot rodding. If you and your company are passionate about the future of hot rodding, then you should consider joining HRIA. If you have a passion for the history and legacy of hot rodding, then you are also the kind of individual we are looking for. Join us at any of our open meetings, or contact SEMA to learn more about joining HRIA today.