YEN Turns Attention to Live Chat Program

SEMA Member News—March/April 2015 

YEN Turns Attention to Live Chat Program

By Kirstin Stone and Rory Connell

Jim Liaw, founder and CEO of Formula Drift, was featured in YEN’s first live chat.
Jim Liaw, founder and CEO of Formula Drift, was featured in YEN’s first live chat.

The Young Executives Network (YEN) held its first live chat with Formula Drift founder and CEO Jim Liaw. The live chat was held on October 24, 2014, via the YEN Facebook page and was a huge success. Questions came from YEN members far and wide and featured many topics, and they brought insights into the growth and continued success of aftermarket companies. Much of the focus was on how to get the most out of a company’s SEMA Show investment.

With the success of the first live chat, YEN moved immediately into the planning and preparation of the next one. The successful second chat on January 16, 2015, featured Rich Barsamian, vice president of sales and marketing at Advanced Clutch Technology and chair of the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC). It focused on what manufacturers can do to make the most of the MPMC Media Trade Conference event.

Check in at the YEN Facebook page often to learn about future chats and other YEN activities.

Member Insights: Getting to Know Fellow YENsters

SEMA Member News recently had the opportunity to briefly interview three innovative YEN members about their backgrounds and advice for others. Nick Gramelspacher is vice president of sales and marketing for Meyer Distributing and a member of the SEMA Board of Directors. Michael Chapin is the CEO of RxSpeed.com, and Eric Coomer is the company’s CTO.

SMN: Did you choose the aftermarket or did the aftermarket choose you?

Gramelspacher: I chose the aftermarket. I was tinkering on and fixing up trucks in early high school and fell in love with it. We have a family business in the furniture industry, but I wanted to plow my own path to do what

     

Rich Barsamian, vice president of sales and marketing at Advanced Clutch Technology, answered questions about the Media Trade Conference.
Rich Barsamian, vice president of sales and marketing at Advanced Clutch Technology, answered questions about the Media Trade Conference.

I love and love what I do: cars, trucks and Jeeps. That, along with working for a great company like Meyer, which has had tremendous growth, and having a hardworking team, made it a great decision 16 years ago.

SMN: Have you always been into cars?

Chapin: I think my mother knew I had a problem when the hood of my ’92 GTI ended up in her living room, but the bloodline traces back to my great grandfather. He traded a horse for a Cadillac to start a taxi service, which ended up becoming a successful Hudson dealership in the ’40s. I keep one of his original newspaper ads on my desk—his phone number was 930, just three digits.

Coomer: My grandfather was a seasoned mechanic who taught me to wrench and weld, among other things. It satisfied my curiosity to take everything apart and understand the systems, likely one of the reasons I love computer systems and hardware. My father’s company was ahead of its time building advanced data-logging hardware and software that was used by top IndyCar and Motocross teams. As a Formula Mazda racer myself, anything with a motor excites me.

SMN: What career advice would you give YEN members?

Gramelspacher: Don’t expect it to come easy. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed. If you slip or fall, use it as a learning experience to better yourself.

SMN: What SEMA resources have you found valuable?

Coomer: The background and education SEMA provides on the industry’s data revolution—and more specifically the SEMA Data Co-op—have by far been the most helpful in educating myself and others about the need for standardized product data. It wasn’t very long ago that every small business was told it needed a website in order to survive, and now, getting your products seen and sold online carries that same message. Clear business communication doesn’t end with conversation but continues with every file and piece of data you exchange.

Visit www.sema.org/yen to stay in the know about upcoming events, live chats and to read additional member insights.

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