New Members Join TORA Select Committee
On July 1, three individuals joined the select committee for the Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA). Jason Christiansen, president and CEO of Rigid Industries, Erika Garcia, national sales manager for Bolt Locks by Strattec, and Jerrod Strauss, director of sales and marketing for T-Rex Truck Products Inc., will join Todd Hoffman of A.R.E. Accessories and Kathryn Reinhardt of MagnaFlow, who were re-elected to fill the remaining two seats on the committee. SEMA Member News caught up with the three new members to share an introduction.
SEMA Member News: What is your history in the industry and in the council?
Jason Christiansen: I started Rigid Industries back in 2006. We became a SEMA-member company in 2008. We currently do more than 100 shows across the United States and more than 15 shows internationally per year. I have worked with and joined the Portable Lights American Trade Organization to help standardize testing parameters for LED products so that there is no confusion or stretching of the truth with marketing materials. Over the past 18 months, I have tried to get more involved with the TORA and have a better understanding of where the industry is headed.
Erika Garcia: I have been in the industry for 14 years, all of them with Strattec, a manufacturer of automotive OEM locks and keys. We joined TORA in 2010 with the purpose of learning more from other aftermarket companies in the industry. I’ve had the pleasure of working with manufacturers, WDs, jobbers, restylers, media outlets and other service groups since then and have been volunteering with the TORA communications committee for the last few months.
Jerrod Strauss: I started fresh out of college 19 years ago. Always being passionate for anything with an engine and wheels, I knew I wanted to work in the industry. Being very green yet ambitious, I cold-called my way into my first job.
SMN: Why do you that feel it’s important to serve on the select committee?
JC: I feel it is very important to serve and better understand trends and also help educate other committee members on what we see in our industry.
EG: I can support the committee with fresh new ideas and look forward to learning more from the experience of others to help shape the future of the light-truck accessory and off-road industries.
JS: It is important for me to serve because I want to be a part of a group that makes changes for the good. The market is evolving rapidly. A fair amount of companies need the help of groups like TORA to bring them new and fresh ideas to help keep them relevant, stable and profitable. The light-truck accessory segment is a growing and vibrant market segment, but continued growth only comes from using every tool available to you.
SMN: What are your goals and how might your experience benefit the council?
JC: My goals are to help and be an active part in growing the council and the awareness of what TORA does and to try to get other industry leaders active in the growth and education within our industry. I also want to learn from others on the council and hear about experiences and also share some of our experiences in the hopes of creating strong and healthy companies.
EG: My goal is to help members to grow and be successful. The council can benefit from my manufacturer’s point of view as well as my ability to interact and learn from others.
JS: My goal is to help the TORA plan and successfully execute its events with more awareness focused on each individual event. My media background will hopefully help with these goals as we move forward.