SEMA Member News—January/February 2014
YEN Presents 2013 Annual Awards and Crowns Inaugural SEMA Launch Pad Winner
By Lindsay Hubley
Every year, the Young Executives Network (YEN) presents two prestigious awards: the Vanguard Award and the Young Executive of the Year. Both recognize companies and individuals for their contributions and commitment to the development of young executives in the industry.
The Vanguard Award is presented to a person, company or sanctioning body that has made a major impact in cultivating young professional talent within the automotive aftermarket. Vic Wood embodies that objective and has worked tirelessly with YEN and its membership to mentor and inspire young professionals in today’s industry. He currently holds the chair position of the SEMA Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council.
Anyone who knows Wood is aware of his no-nonsense, “let’s get it done” attitude, which carries great respect inside the industry while also teaching the young professionals of today how to climb the ladder of success.
Young Executive of the Year
The Young Executive of the Year award was presented to Robert Wityczak of Magnaflow. The award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional service, integrity and business ethics.
Wityczak has helped to build YEN to more than 1,200 members strong, making it the largest network in SEMA. His dedication to SEMA shone through when he helped get Magnaflow involved in SEMA Cares, getting more than 785 backpacks stuffed to be distributed to kids in need.
SEMA Launch Pad
SEMA also celebrated young entrepreneurs as five candidates pitched their business plans to a group of industry experts at a live event. The judges evaluated the contestants at based on their business plans, product analyses and presentations. Following the presentations, Jonathan Mill was declared the inaugural Launch Pad winner. Mill’s product, the E-Stopp, is a pushbutton emergency brake and anti-theft device for custom vehicles.
“I’m extremely honored to be the first Launch Pad winner, and being so has truly fueled my passion for what I do,” Mill said. “I take the responsibility of representing YEN and the Launch Pad seriously and plan to utilize my prize package to the fullest.”