SEMA Member News—January/February 2013
SEMA Scholarship Fund Increases Awards
Two New Scholarships Established
The SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund has increased its award amounts to aid students who are seeking careers in the automotive industry. The Top Student award has been raised from $4,000 to $5,000. Scholarships for students attending four-year programs have been increased from $2,000 to $3,000. The awards for students attending two-year programs will rise from $1,000 to $2,000. And the Loan Forgiveness awards will also rise from $1,000 to $2,000.
The application deadline for all SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund awards is March 29, 2013. Complete details are available online at www.SEMA.org/scholarships.
Leo Kagan Scholarship Established
The Leo Kagan Scholarship has been established as part of the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund, a group that promotes industry leadership by supporting the educational efforts of current and future automotive professionals.
Leo Kagan is an automotive industry icon who was instrumental in the founding of the SEMA scholarship program. The new scholarship in his name will be presented annually to a female interested in a career in the restyling market.
“While women were not traditionally involved in our industry, they have become more and more integral over the years,” said Kagan. “I’m glad that this SEMA scholarship will ensure that females receive support and encouragement to pursue careers in the automotive restyling market. Such diversity in our industry is what contributes to the excitement and innovation of the specialty-equipment market.”
Kagan began his career in the automotive specialty-equipment industry at Hurst in 1964. He went on to work for convertible top manufacturer Amco for about 15 years before serving as the president of SEMA from 1975–1979. During his tenure, Kagan played a key role in moving the world-famous SEMA Show from Anaheim, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada.
In 1982, he was recognized for his contributions with induction into the SEMA Hall of Fame, a prestigious honor reserved for very few individuals.
“Leo has contributed a great deal to SEMA and to the industry for nearly 50 years,” said Joel Ayres, SEMA Scholarship Committee chairman. “It’s great to recognize his long-time work and support through this scholarship. His impact and contributions to this industry will continue to be felt for generations to come.”
The Leo Kagan Scholarship will be among the many scholarships that SEMA awards annually. SEMA Scholarships are presented to students pursuing careers in the automotive aftermarket. A total of $130,000 was awarded to 69 individuals in 2012. Applications for the next school year are available at www.SEMA.org/scholarships.
Nat Danas Scholarship
Nat Danas, founder and publisher of Auto Trim & Restyling News magazine—the oldest publication serving the restyling, restoration and trim industries—was dedicated to education and training and served as a mentor to many restylers nationwide. He entered the industry with a small trim shop in New York City during the ’40s and ’50s, founding his magazine in 1952.
A long-time SEMA member until his retirement, Danas was instrumental in the development of the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) and served multiple terms on its select committee. He was the first person to receive the PRO Lifetime Achievement Award, and PRO subsequently named one of its awards in his honor—the Nat Danas Person of the Year.
In 1987, a $25,000 endowment at a midwestern university was established in his name to help students seeking auto-trim degrees. That endowment stayed in place for a number of years, but when the school’s auto-trim program was discontinued, the Nat Danas Scholarship Committee—Ellen McKoy of EMK Marketing, Phil Edwards of Infinity Sales & Marketing, Neil Rosenberg of ITTCO Sales and Maria Roman of Roman Chariot—entered discussions with SEMA to transfer the endowment in the amount of $58,000 to the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund. The transition was recently completed, and the endowment will now be called the Nat Danas Scholarship and will be administered as part of the SEMA Memorial Scholarship program.
The Nat Danas Scholarship will provide financial assistance to students pursuing or advancing careers in the auto-trim and restyling segments of the industry. It is presently slated to be included as part of the 2013 SEMA Memorial Scholarship awards. Complete criteria for the awards are available at www.SEMA.org/scholarships.
For more information about any SEMA educational opportunities, e-mail Juliet Marshall at julietm@SEMA.org.