A Few Words With the MPMC Chairand Chair-Elect
Following its most recent election cycle, the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) will soon install new leadership. Rich Barsamian, vice president for sales and marketing at GT Performance Products LLC, will take over the chair position, and Chris Douglas, marketing director for COMP Performance Group, was chosen to serve as chair-elect. Each laid out his goals for the group in recent interviews with SEMA Member News.
Barsamian began working in the industry at a rep agency in 1984, so this marks his 30th year in the automotive specialty-equipment marketplace. He worked for manufacturers that included Grant Products, Edelbrock and Advanced Clutch Technology before joining new startup company GT Performance.
SEMA Member News: Why are you involved in MPMC?
Rich Barsamian: I am involved in the council because I want to give back to the industry that has been so good to me and my family. I also want to help ensure its future by empowering younger executives in the industry to get involved.
SMN: What value do you or your business find in your council membership?
RB: There are a variety of reasons we find value with the MPMC. The Media Trade Conference is a remarkable opportunity to get exposure with editors and to let the media know what new products we have for the current sales year. In addition, we look for help and solutions to some of the most sensitive issues that motorsports parts manufacturers face today.
RB: I have five key points that tie closely with SEMA Board of Directors initiatives:
- PRI Educational Seminar Expansion: We want to build this seminar series into a venue for MPMC members to utilize to help them promote their products and empower jobbers, builders and wholesalers with the technical knowledge they crave.
- Vehicle Data Initiatives: This is a program that will promote cross collaboration with other councils and networks.
- Membership Expansion Through the SEMA “Street Team” Concept: I want to broaden the MPMC membership and engage different facets of racing.
- CU-ICAR: Utilize the CU-ICAR program to help MPMC members discover one of the most valuable resources we can provide.
- Streamline Task Force Initiatives: Engage our membership with more members at large to help on projects. We have many hands up to volunteer on smaller projects that don’t require a major time commitment.
Chris Douglas grew up in a family of circle-track racers and raced professionally with career starts in NASCAR, ARCA and ASA. Shortly after graduating from the University of North Alabama with a B.A. in marketing, he stepped away from competitive racing to focus on business. After spending several years as the operating partner of a start-up stock car driving school, he joined COMP Cams as a marketing coordinator in 2003 and has since progressed to the position of vice president of marketing. He has participated in numerous volunteer positions with SEMA and its councils.
SMN: Why are you involved in MPMC?
Chris Douglas: I choose to serve within SEMA and the MPMC for three primary reasons: to give back to an industry that has been very good to me; to ensure that the industry remains strong so the next generation can have opportunities that are even better than those afforded to me; and to learn from the best and brightest in the industry who also serve within the SEMA volunteer leader system.
SMN: What is your vision for the group? What do you hope to accomplish during your term?
CD: This council has a history of meaningful work, and I will work extremely hard to be sure that we not only uphold that legacy during my tenure but also improve on it. With that being said, there are a few general areas that will serve as a roadmap for our efforts. These project areas are only a starting point, and the council will be flexible enough to respond to changing member needs. They include:
- Growth and evolution of the Media Trade Conference in a changing media landscape.
- Expansion and diversification of MPMC membership.
- Creating impactful business tools for small to midsize member companies.
- Designating and supporting SEMA-approved charity causes.