Year in Review

SEMA Member News—March/April 2012

Year in Review

  member news, automobile events, automotive industry news, tire-wheel industry, tire dealers, tire expo, tire retailers
Attendees at the WTC Learn & Show conference explored outdoor exhibits, which provided manufacturers with the opportunity to showcase their products to a local audience comprised of retailers, wholesale distributors and media.  
For SEMA’s Wheel and Tire Council (WTC), 2011 was a year marked by change and fueled by opportunity. In February, the council hosted an interactive conference in conjunction with its annual Long-Range Planning meeting at the SEMA offices in Diamond Bar, California. Learn & Show, as it was called, provided manufacturers with the opportunity to showcase their products to a local audience comprised of retailers, wholesale distributors and media.

Attendees of the conference were also offered three educational sessions ranging from tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) sales to an all-star professional panel that featured Myles Kovacs, president and CEO of DUB Publishing. Rounding out the one-day event, WTC members and interested parties were given the opportunity to participate in the council’s seminal strategic meeting for the year.

Throughout the year, the council’s Science and Technology Task Force continued its efforts to promote the best interests of the industry’s wheel and tire segment. Working closely with SEMA’s vehicle technology and legislative-affairs offices, the group provided invaluable insight into such issues as wheel tariffs, TPMS regulation and testing standards.

Some of the WTC’s most important work included its ongoing involvement in SAE’s Wheel Standards Committee, serving as an advocate for the aftermarket. The WTC repeatedly expressed concern over the SAE committee’s J2530 registration and certification program.

“We are a self-policing industry, and there should be the means to provide some oversight in our industry,” said Tim Dietz of Standards Testing Laboratories Inc. and WTC’s Immediate Past Chair. “SAE J2530 testing practices help provide the tools with which a company might ensure that it is producing a safe product that will perform in the field as expected. However, there are companies that already test their products and others that still do not.

“We are not entirely convinced that this portion of the SAE program will solve this problem. We feel that this program will only affect those companies that are already performing the testing and will not reach those companies that are not testing. As this program progresses, we hope to find ways of prompting the manufacturers that do not legitimately test their products without adding unnecessary burdens to those responsible manufacturers that already conduct testing.”

In July, David Insull of American Tire Distributors took over as WTC chairman, with Joe Schaefer of Konig Motoring Accessories assuming chair-elect responsibilities. With more than 65 years experience between them, the two mapped out a plan to help the Select Committee further the resources and benefits offered through WTC membership and to increase awareness of council activities that promote member engagement. The work of the entire Select Committee who serve as volunteers is instrumental in SEMA’s ability to develop programs, offer solutions and provide services that benefit the wheel and tire segment of the automotive specialty-equipment industry.

A strategic priority for the council is to expand upon its already impressive library of educational offerings. Through SEMA’s Education Institute (SEI), WTC provides learning tracks for sales and technical training. In September, the council hosted an interactive webinar entitled “TPMS 101: Identifying and Understanding the Opportunity.” Lead by Russ Fuller of Revolution Supply Co., the webinar focused on sales practices that provide retail outlets with the tools and resources necessary for maximizing TPMS transactions. All of the council’s educational content is offered at no cost for WTC members and can be found by visiting SEI’s homepage.

In November, the group turned its attention to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. During the week, the group held a general membership meeting that included a presentation on technology by John Waraniak, SEMA vice president of vehicle technology, and another by Dietz, who discussed the history and future of testing standard J2530.

From there, the WTC turned its attention poolside. The Las Vegas Renaissance once again served as the backdrop for a tropical-themed networking reception and awards presentation. Adorned with WTC-logoed Hawaiian shirts, the select committee hosted a networking mixer that provided guests with the opportunity to discuss business, share strategies for the future, expand their contact networks and build new partnerships. During the awards presentation, the WTC honored Ricky Guevara of Konig Motoring Accessories with the prestigious WTC Lifetime Achievement award and recognized the late Webster Carter with a special recognition award.

With such a busy and productive year behind it, the WTC is primed to carry its momentum into 2012. The ability to influence and drive meaningful change is only possible through a strong and active membership. If you are interested in getting more involved and making a difference, contact SEMA Council Director Zane Clark by e-mail or by phone at 909-978-6696.