YEN Power Tour Participants Chronicle Experience for Social Media
Over the summer, 10 members of the Young Executives Network (YEN) embarked on the Hot Rod Power Tour to promote the network and highlight the variety of career choices available to young professionals in the automotive specialty-equipment market. The tour route began in Charlotte, North Carolina, and visited Tennessee, West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana before ending in Iowa. Amy Fitzgerald, Ian Lehn, Scott Lowe, Paul Makarucha, Brit Mansell, Jonathan Mill, Michelle “Missy” Perez, Dylan Sievers, Kirstin Stone and Jerid Suchy were chosen to participate through an application process.
Fitzgerald, Mansell, Mill, Perez and Sievers are all proud of their collector vehicles, which they drove while the other participants rode along as passengers. Despite a few breakdowns along the way, all of the cars made it to the end.
The tour was packed full of networking opportunities for the participants, who felt more like family than peers by the end of the week. As they traveled the route, the candidates interacted with attendees, sharing their own experiences in the industry and promoting the network.
The participants’ assignments included several tasks during the day. Each individual conducted video interviews with employees of industry companies as well as enthusiasts who owned vehicles in a variety of segments. Several celebrities also interacted with the group, including “Top Gear” host Rutledge Wood and seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty. Each of the two-person teams took turns visiting local schools to highlight the career paths available for students interested in the industry. All of these experiences were shared via Facebook and Twitter.
Launch Pad Voting Underway
The SEMA Launch Pad presented by YEN has returned for 2014. The applications and videos are in, and voting is underway until September 5 on YEN’s Facebook page. The five contestants with the most “Likes” at the end of the voting period will proceed to the final competition at the 2014 SEMA Show.
This competition offers innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs under the age of 40 an industry platform to showcase their business plans for marketing a product or service. A panel of judges made up of respected industry veterans will select the winning YEN executive during the live show.
The grand-prize winner will receive a prize package that includes advertising, consultation services for public relations, social media, warehousing and manufacturers’ representatives, an event sponsorship package, marketing resources and a 10x10-ft. booth at the 2015 SEMA Show.
Last year’s winner was Jonathan Mill with E-Stopp Corp., a manufacturer of pushbutton emergency brakes and anti-theft devices for custom vehicles. Over the past months, Mill made the most of the prize package and leveraged his new platform to promote his product line.
“[Winning the competition] allowed me to boost my presence among the automotive community tremendously,” Mill reflected. “Not only do you get attention from the accolades, but everyone involved goes above and beyond to ensure that you get maximum exposure. Not to mention that SEMA having your back is the most priceless prize you receive. Everyone from the organization has gone out of their way to help guide me with my business.”
Mill believes that the industry exposure and coaching from the judges make the experience valuable for all of the contestants, regardless of who wins the final competition.
“My advice is to showcase yourself just as much as your business,” he said. “YEN wants to launch you just as much as your product or service. If the judges see your passion for the industry, it will only help you in the long run. Even if you do not win, the judges are such influential people that having a few minutes of their attention is worth the whole experience.”
Each of the five finalists in the 2014 competition will make a live, 10-minute business pitch to a panel of judges on November 6, 2014, at 11:30 a.m. in the SEMA Show Super Session Room in the North Hall.