The program funding included an airfare voucher worth up to $350 toward travel to and from Las Vegas; three nights’ hotel accommodation at a hotel of SEMA’s choosing; $50 per diem for three days at the Show; and three lunch vouchers.
The three winners of the SEMA Show YEN Scholarship Program were Justin Bird of Bully Dog, Matt Cartwright of Meyer Distributing and Antoinette Belton of Westin Automotive Products. Each represented different functions in their respective organizations, coming from the technical support, sales and marketing divisions of their SEMA-member companies. Each was enthusiastic regarding the networking opportunities presented to them and the openness of all of the SEMA members they spoke with at the Show.
“The point-of-view gained from networking is undoubtedly something you can’t learn anywhere else,” said Belton. “When you have a chance to speak to people on a one-to-one basis, you begin sharing experiences and ideas. And when you make a point to share logical knowledge, you can actually feel a sense of empowerment being exchanged.”
Each of the award winners was encouraged to go to various educational seminars that took place during the Show. All three found seminars that they believed gave added value. But it was the networking that Bird found most valuable.
“The contacts that we all made during the networking portion of the event shall be priceless,” he said. “I feel that was the best part of the entire thing. I meet people and made contacts that I would (never) have made in a normal day. I look forward to using the information learned to help myself and my company grow.”
Each of the three winners of the SEMA Show YEN Scholarship Program had nothing but praise regarding their overall experiences at the 2011 SEMA Show. “As my fellow YEN scholarship winners and I were attending a variety of meetings, breakfasts, banquets and seminars, I kept thinking about how amazing it is to be a part of the automotive aftermarket world,” said Belton.