SEMA Member News—November/December 2013
MPMC Hall of Fame, Class of 2013
By Jim Skelly
In 1994, a small group of original SEMA-member manufacturing companies formed the World Motorsports Society. Their goal was to refocus collective efforts specifically on issues facing motorsports parts manufacturers. Chuck Blum, then the president of SEMA, quickly recognized the potential of a segment-focused group and brought it under the SEMA banner as the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) in 1995.
Today, the MPMC Hall of Fame honors those who have made a significant contribution to MPMC and/or the motorsports parts manufacturing segment of the aftermarket. Each year, nominations are solicited from the MPMC general membership, and an MPMC Hall of Fame task force votes on the final selection of inductees based on stringent criteria. The formal induction ceremony will take place for this year’s honorees, detailed below, on Friday morning, December 13, at the Performance Racing Industry Show in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Dennis Overholser has devoted much of his life to the automotive aftermarket, not only producing quality products that benefit hot rodders, restorers and race teams, but also through his volunteer efforts with SEMA and its councils. Overholser received formal training in electronics and automotive repair while in the Air Force and spent 20 years at Ford Tractor before co-founding Painless Products in 1990.
Overholser’s volunteering efforts over the years included serving on the Street Rod Marketing Alliance select committee, six years on the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) select committee and as HRIA chair from 2009–2011. He also served six years on the MPMC select committee, six years on the SEMA Board of Directors and has served on more SEMA task forces and committees than space allows. Beyond all of the documented accomplishments, Overholser is well known in the MPMC community as a guy who never turns his back on anyone and is always there to lend a hand when needed.
Like so many in the automotive aftermarket, Bob Ritzman spent his entire career working for motorsports parts manufacturers. After graduating from Cal State Northridge in 1975, Ritzman worked for several different aftermarket companies in and around the San Fernando Valley. He eventually landed at B&M and held several positions there, including director of motorsports and customer service. During his time at B&M, Ritzman served several terms on the MPMC select committee, where his wide breadth of industry experience helped move council projects from idea to reality. After 20-plus years at B&M, Ritzman joined McLeod Racing in 2012 as its manager of purchasing and inventory control.
MPMC Hall of Fame
“Bob has devoted his life to the motorsports manufacturing industry,” said MPMC Chair Vic Wood of Hedman. “He served three straight terms on the MPMC select committee, during which time he was a prime mover in the development of the Business Guidelines Manual. The manual lives online now and gets updated regularly. But getting that first edition published was an epic undertaking, and Bob’s contributions cannot be overstated. For his service to MPMC and the industry, his induction into the MPMC Hall of Fame is well deserved.”
Earl Gaerte’s contributions to motorsports and the aftermarket are well known, as was his reputation for always being available to help a racer in need, whether it was a mega-dollar, multi-car team or a privateer trying to win his first feature at the local dirt track. What may be less well known is that Gaerte was also one of the original members of the World Motorsports Society.
The organization eventually became the MPMC in 1994 and was one of the first SEMA councils. But as with fellow engine builder and 2012 MPMC Hall of Famer Keith Dorton, Gaerte could not be an official member of the MPMC, since his was not a manufacturing business. Nonetheless, Gaerte always made himself available to MPMC companies and to the council itself. He passed away in 2011.
“Earl was a driving force in the formation of the World Motorsport Society,” said former SEMA Board of Directors Chairman Rick Rollins of Filter Technology Solutions. “And without the WMS, there might not have been an MPMC. In fact, the subject of a motorsports group was first brought up and came together at an annual Gaerte function called ‘The Gaerte Gathering.’ Though quiet, and a person who preferred to stay in the background, racers and any motorsports parts manufacturer large or small knew they could count on Earl for advice, feedback and support. The MPMC community owes him countless thanks, and I’m proud to see him in the MPMC Hall of Fame.”
2013 SEMA Show
Join MPMC at the SEMA Show for “Debunking the Myth: Pricing Policies and MAP Policies to Control Resale Price Erosion,” a seminar by Eugene F. Zelek Jr., co-chair antitrust and trade regulation group, Freeborn & Peters LLP. Monday, November 4, 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. in the Las Vegas Convention Center, room N256.