|Visit HRIA's website|
HRIA is sponsoring the annual Pinewood Builders Challenge and looking for top hot-rod builders or custom vehicles to take part in this charity event. Builders will be given small blocks of wood to complete their own unique and one-of-a-kind pinewood race car. All cars will be raced at the annual SEMA Pinewood Drag Races and then placed on display at the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas. In addition, the cars will be placed on eBay for auction, with all proceeds going to two great children’s charities—ChildHelp and Victory Junction Camp. To participate, contact Eric Saltrick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-483-9343 for more information.
|HRIA is looking for top hot-rod builders to participate in the annual Pinewood Builders Challenge.|
Influence Decisions That Impact the Rodding Industry
Join the Hot Rod Industry Alliance in Detroit for its Annual Long Range Planning (LRP) Meeting. Held in conjunction with Championship Auto Shows Detroit Autorama,
the seminal meeting will take place February 24, 2012, at Detroit’s
COBO Center. In addition to a great Show, guests of HRIA will be treated
to a catered lunch and be provided with the opportunity to help
influence policy that directly impacts the hot rodding industry.
Topics are diverse and range from legislation and regulatory
implications to youth awareness and maximizing growth markets. If you
have ever wondered what exactly the SEMA councils are all about, wanted
to get more involved or expand your network of industry contacts, come
to Detroit and participate in the HRIA Long-Range Planning Meeting.
For more information contact Zane Clark at email@example.com.
The Hot Rod Bucket List
Check them all off your list at the same time. The Hot Rod Industry Alliance will once again hold its annual Education & Training Day in conjunction with the 14th Annual Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show in Indianapolis, March 22, 2012.
|Forty educational sessions will be offered at the 2012 HRIA Education Day in Indianapolis.|
This is truly an event you must experience for yourself. Manufacturer
seminars start at 8:00 a.m. and run through 6:30 p.m. The 40 sessions
offer something for everyone and are designed to help your business
grow. Beyond the actual educational seminars, you will find an
environment full of networking opportunities fueled by enthusiasts, not
just sales guys. Take a look the lineup of participating manufacturers
and you will understand why you need to be there:
- Advanced Clutch Technology
- American Autowire
- Art Morrison Enterprises
- Borgeson Universal Co. Inc.
- Bowler Performance Transmissions
- Classic Instruments
- COMP Cams
- Crane Cams
- Custom Autosound Manufacturing Inc.
- Dakota Digital
- Detroit Speed Inc.
- Eaton Detroit Springs
- Eaton Performance Products
- Edelbrock LLC
- FAST (Fuel Air Spark Technology)
- Fatman Fabrications
- Flaming River Industries
- Hedman Performance Group
- Ididit Inc.
- Inland Empire Driveline Service Inc.
- Painless Performance
- Planet Color
- Powermaster Performance
- Powertrain Control Solutions
- Ron Francis Wiring
- Royal Purple
- Schwartz Performance
- SEMA Business Technology Committee
- Stainless Steel Brakes Corp.
- Steele Rubber Products
- Street & Performance
- TCI Automotive
- Vintage Air Inc.
- Wilwood Disc Brakes
|Adam and Noah Howard of No Joke Upholstery LLC.|
Hot Rodder Highlight: Adam and Noah Howard, No Joke Upholstery LLC
HRIA thanks Adam and Noah Howard with No Joke Upholstery LLC for their
continuous support. No Joke Upholstery is a true "cut n' sew" automotive
upholstery shop. Services include but are not limited to: full custom
interiors, custom motorcycle seats, leather upgrades, OEM repairs,
convertible and sim-con tops and mobile electronics.
As brothers, Adam and Noah have always been intrigued by cool cars.
While growing up, they basically lived at a local drag strip slot car
track, which was where their roots were planted in the custom automotive
world. After they graduated high school, Adam and Noah decided to start
their own custom car shop. They basically asked themselves, "How hard
can it be if these guys are still in business?" Well, truth be told now,
it isn't easy by any means. They still feel like they've got a lot to
learn and this motivation has helped them grow. The Howard brothers
started off just selling aftermarket car parts but quickly realized that
to make an impact, they would have to discover a unique niche, so they
found that niche in the upholstery/trim part of the industry. The
upholstery segment fit well with their mix of detail-oriented and
creative personality traits.
In just nine years, Adam and Noah have received a Platinum and two Gold placings in Upholstery Journal Magazine's
2010 Design & Craftsmanship Awards. They are members of SEMA; the
PRO, HRIA and YEN councils; the Mobile Electronics Retailers Association
(MERA); and Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI).
This year’s project car is a ’27 Ford Roadster, which was displayed at
the 2011 SEMA Show in true charitable fashion. “When we think of hot
rods, this is what first comes to mind—the original raw and rough salt
flat racers," Adam said. "This vehicle was actually our 2011 HRIA
Pinewood Builders Challenge entry. We will eventually build a fullsize
hot rod, but at this time, we are way too busy keeping up with all the
customer projects to even think about our own.”
Have You Registered a Patent or Trademark? Your Competition Has
Protecting the intellectual property rights (IPR) of its members is a
top SEMA priority. The process begins when companies register their
patents, trademarks and copyrights with government agencies in the
United States (and other countries). Registration is a key to
establishing legal rights.
To assist its members, SEMA has created a webpage called Introduction to Intellectual Property Rights,
explaining the different types of IP, including protecting new products
(utility patents) and product designs (design patent), identifying the
source of the product (trademarks) and protecting product brochures or
website designs (copyright). It also contains information on how to
register IP along with links to seminars, webinars and SEMA News articles.
With respect to enforcing IP rights at the SEMA Show, the association
has developed an effective policy for pursuing infringement allegations.
SEMA’s IP enforcement policy is posted on the IPR webpage and is also
published as part of the Exhibitor Services Manual. Questions may be
directed to Stuart Gosswein (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? HRIA is!
Be sure to follow HRIA on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/hria and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
HRIA Column in SEMA Member News
Read HRIA's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit ARMO's website.|
ARMO members may now access the ARMO Trademark Licensing Guide online. Previously available only in hard copy, the Guide is now located on the ARMO education track on the SEMA Education Institute (SEI).
Ever wonder how a company gets a restoration product officially licensed
by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) carmaker? ARMO members can
now find introductory information from three OEMs, including preliminary
application forms, in one document.
Obtaining a trademark license is one of the few remaining processes that
cannot be accomplished "online" or with a simple application. OEM
carmakers are very proud and protective of their trademarks. There are
many steps involved in order to display an "Officially Licensed" logo on
your product. Just finding out where to begin can be a daunting task.
The Trademark Licensing Overview provides ARMO-member companies with the
information they need to begin the oftentimes lengthy process in one
handy reference document. Ford, GM and Chrysler have supplied contact
information, application forms and general process overviews. While the
Overview is not a complete guide to trademark licensing, it does provide
you with information necessary for all those important first steps.
ARMO Seminars Available on SEI’s New ARMO Education Track
Two ARMO-sponsored education seminars, recorded earlier this year at the
2011 Hotrod & Restoration Show, are now available as part of the
ARMO Education Track on the new SEI eLearning Center. The seminars may
also be accessed directly from the ARMO website at www.sema.org/armo.
Dick Dixon presents “The Art of Selling” in session one. Dixon is a
popular speaker who combines his passion for all things automotive and
his experience as an educator to present ideas in new and informative
Session two features ARMO Chairperson Laura Bergan moderating a panel of
industry experts through “Internet Marketing on a Budget.” Panelists
Tyler Tanaka, Eric Saltrick and Robert Basha answer questions and
provide real-world examples of how a small business can utilize the
benefits of the Internet without breaking the budget.
Each seminar is approximately one hour in length, and each is presented in its entirety.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? ARMO Is!
Be sure to follow ARMO on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/armo and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
ARMO Column in SEMA Member News
Read ARMO's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit TORA's website.|
TORA is pleased to announce the launch of an TORA education track for the SEMA Education Institute (SEI). TORA members may now reference and download a number of technical resources from the new TORA learning track that were previously available in hard copy only. Now, TORA members have the information at their fingertips via an Internet connection.
Resources currently available are:
- TORA Pickup Truck Bed Dimensions – pdf
- TORA Keyless Entry Connection Guide – pdf
- TORA CHMSL Wiring Connection Guide – pdf
- Why Paint Colors Vary – video
“This is very exciting for the Council,” said TORA Chairman George Lathouris of Keystone Automotive. “These reference tools are always appreciated by installers and counter people in the field. SEI provided us a solution that keeps the tools as an TORA-member benefit and makes for quick and timely updating of data. TORA members received an e-mail recently with instruction on how to access their account on SEI. I encourage all members to get familiar with this TORA education track because this is only the beginning—I promise you!”
Learn more about the TORA education tools.
What's the Value of Being an TORA Member?
New Products Showcase – Put your product in front of one of the largest gathering of truck enthusiasts in the country at the Carlisle Truck Nationals.
Networking – TORA mixer at the Carlisle All Truck Nationals, Annual Long-Range Planning meeting and access to TORA members and light-truck industry professionals around the world.
Tools and resources for the retailer and installer – "Pickup Bed Dimensions Sheet," "Keyless Entry Wiring Pickup Points Reference Sheet," "Why Paints Don’t Match" DVD and more.
Education – and TORA-specific learning track on the new SEI from SEMA, coming soon!
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? TORA Is!
Be sure to follow TORA on all of your favorite social networking sites.
To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/TORA and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
TORA Column in SEMA Member News
Read TORA's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit MRC's website.|
Here are the top 10 reasons why your company should use a rep:
1. Results Driven. Our success is your success. Reps are highly motivated to sell your products because they make money when you sell products.
2. Cost Effective. Better utilize your time and resources. Minimize the labor and travel expenses of hiring your own employees.
3. Territory Expansion. You get the instant benefits of territory and customer knowledge that takes years to learn.
4. Relationships. Reps already know companies with whom you want
to do business. Take advantage of strong, pre-existing relationships
that have been cultivated through trust and action.
5. Quick. Hiring a rep is quickest way to get results and to get your “feet on the ground” selling.
6. Access. Your products and services will have better exposure with your customers because reps are already doing business with them.
7. Sales Calls. Focused and increased face-to-face time with your customers equals greater sales.
8. Training. Field training and professional development sets
reps apart. Reps will educate your customers about the features and
benefits of your programs and services.
9. Feedback. Get instant and accurate feedback on your products and programs.
10. Industry Knowledge. Receive an insider’s perspective that allows you a clearer understanding of the “ins and outs” of your industry.
Interested? Want to know more? The SEMA Manufacturers' Rep Council (MRC) can answer your questions and share more reasons why hiring an Independent sales rep may make sense for your company.
A Message From MRC Chair Wade Cobb
The MRC council has been chipping away at what our Long-Range Planning
session of 2010 identified as a need—benefits for our membership! MRC
recently put a program together with TeleNotes,
offering our members a business tool to elevate their company’s ability
to capture data and reporting. We are also continuing to work on travel
programs, possibly offering an “MRC” rate at our industry events, such
as PWA and the SEMA Show, with select lodging. We also recognized the
need to reach out to our general members and non-members to determine
what it is they need from MRC.
In February we conducted an online survey to 3,500 rep agencies
associated with SEMA to find out more about reps and how MRC can
maximize its efforts as a council to provide you with benefits. Thanks
to all who took the time to respond; it’s the only way we can build a
better MRC. Just as any council or association, it’s imperative to get
the feedback from members on what works or needs to be fixed. As we move
on reviewing the data MRC has been able to obtain through the survey
and the information from our LRP, the council will continue to put
action plans in place to address the concerns.
Looking to continue the efforts put forth by our members, MRC attended
the MPMC Media Trade Conference held in Los Angeles this past January
with the purpose of representing MRC to the manufacturers present. MRC
Chair-Elect Chris Fairless and I had an MRC room all three days of the
event, conducting meetings with members interested in utilizing reps and
showing them the value of using rep agencies. We provided each
exhibiting company with an MRC brochure and offered the MRC DVD for
additional information. Both Chris and I were very pleased with the
event, realizing this was a first for MRC and a great opportunity given
to MRC by MPMC to explore the venue and take away ideas to build even
better programs for coming events. We truly wish to thank Kyle Fickler
and Vic Wood of MPMC for working with us during the MPMC Media Trade
We look forward to working with other industry segments to continue
educating our fellow industry members on the benefits of utilizing a rep
agency as their sales force. Your thoughts and comments are welcome any
time. We need to hear your voice, so please speak out!
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? MRC is!
Be sure to follow MRC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/mrc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
MRC Column in SEMA Member News
Read MRC's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit MPMC's website.|
MPMC hosted a seminar at the PRI Show in Orlando, Thursday, December 1. Entitled, “The Business of High-Performance Engine Building,” the seminar featured a panel of six of the nation’s premier engine builders. Moderated by motorsports television personality and industry expert Alan Reinhart, the panelists answered questions on various topics related to the “business” side of an engine-building operation, such as hiring and keeping quality employees, shop equipment and machinery and upcoming trends. With such a gathering of industry leaders in one place, a crowd of more than 100 attendees packed the seminar room for two full hours.
|From left to right, veteran engine builders Tracy Dennis, Keith Dorton, Ron Hutter, David Reher, Scott Shafiroff and Carl Wegner answered questions from moderator Alan Reinhart during an MPMC-sponsored seminar at the PRI Show.|
“We are so grateful for the panelists who participated in this seminar,” said MPMC Chairman Kyle fickler of Weld Racing. “I don’t know that such a great group of industry leaders has ever been assembled in one place to answer questions about how they succeeded in the engine-building business. And thanks also to Alan Reinhart. This is the second time he’s helped us out with a seminar; he really lends an air of professionalism to our functions.”
“We also have to thank MPMC Select Committee members Scott Hall of Moroso and Steve Williams of K&N Filters,” said MPMC Chair-Elect Vic Wood of Hedman Hedders. “They took the ball and ran with it and arranged the entire function from top to bottom on their own time. They contacted the panelists and Alan worked with Steve Lewis at PRI to arrange a time and location and develop the questions. Great job, guys. You showed by example what 'volunteer leadership' is all about.”
MPMC Hall of Fame Induction at PRI
On Friday, December 2, MPMC formally inducted four new members into the MPMC Hall of Fame. The event took place during the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Orlando, Florida. Chuck Blum, Rick Rollins, Nate Shelton and the late Todd Gartshore were recognized by an enthusiastic crowd at the early morning ceremony, which included a continental breakfast. Full details of this event, and the MPMC educational seminar also conducted during PRI, will be available in next week’s issue of SEMA eNews.
|From left to right, MPMC chair-elect Vic Wood of Hedman, Chuck Blum, Nate Shelton, Hal Baer (accepting for the late Todd Gartshore), Rick Rollins and MPMC Chairman Kyle Fickler of Weld Racing.|
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? MPMC Is!
Be sure to follow MPMC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/mpmc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
Take a Friend to a Race Fan Page
The MPMC Motorsports Awareness campaign, highlighted by the Take a Friend to a Race program, now has its very own Fanpage on Facebook. If you’re not a fan yet, you should be!
MPMC Column in SEMA Member News
Read MPMC's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.
For information about MPMC, contact Jim Skelly.
|Visit PRO's website.|
If you wandered through the North Hall during the SEMA Show, chances are
you regularly saw crowds of people congregated around the Professional Restylers Organization's (PRO)
booth. This hub of activity was generated as the result of transforming
SEMA’s own plain-Jane Ford Transit Connect into a rolling billboard
promoting SEMA's councils and committees. Three times daily, Show
attendees were treated to live installations showcasing vehicle wraps,
graphics, paint protection and window films with the support of the
following industry leaders:
|Before, during and after photos of SEMA's
Ford Transit Connect being transformed into a rolling billboard
promoting the association's councils and committees.
- American Tire Distributors
- Eagle Enterprises
- Nitto Tire
- Restylers’ Choice
- StarShield Armor
- Universal Products
PRO was able to showcase a few of the products and services that help
drive the restyling segment of the specialty-equipment industry.
Consistent with PRO’s goal to increase installation standards and
provide additional revenue streams for its members, the live
demonstrations mirror much of what occurs during the annual Technical Skills & Training Conference.
Located at Northwood University’s campus in West Palm Beach, Florida, the 2012 PRO TSTC takes place March 16, 2012. The one-day conference provides
attendees with the technical know-how to become more proficient, while
providing business owners and managers the opportunity to explore new
“TSTC is unique in that it provides both classroom and technical
training. The hands-on demonstrations offered practical techniques that I
could easily implement in my shop. The classroom sessions provided a
deeper understanding of the products and services I could use to grow my
Howard’s Auto Body Restoration
Be proactive about growing your business. Register today at 2012 PRO TSTC.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? PRO Is!
Be sure to follow PRO on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/pro and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
PRO Column in SEMA Member News
Read PRO's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit SBN's website.|
The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network committee is a great resource of minds. All ladies in the specialty-equipment industry can join the SBN, so pass the word around to your colleagues and friends! We are encouraging all new and existing SBN members to log-in to the MySEMA portal to update their profile with a photo so we get to know each other's faces before the SEMA Show.
And don’t forget to turn your notifications settings “ON” so you can stay in “the loop.” Want to know more about the SBN? Interested in becoming a member?
Want to get involved in the industry but don't know how? We have an app for that! Go to www.SEMA.org, click on the Leadership tab, click on Council/Committee, click on SBN and join! Don't delay—get involved and join now. You are just a few clicks away! We look forward to "seeing" everyone!
Don’t Be Out of the Loop—Stay in Touch
The very best way to stay in touch and to read the latest news, discussions and topics posted from SEMA and the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) is to make sure that your notification settings are turned on in your MySEMA account. Next to your photo on your MySEMA page, at the top right, is a link to the "Edit My Settings" page.
On the “settings” page, look for the “notifications” tab, where it will ask how you would like to receive your news. Check whichever method is most convenient, but either way, make sure you're in the loop by turning “on” your notifications. Visit http://my.sema.org to make sure you don’t miss a thing!
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? SBN is!
Be sure to follow SBN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/sbn and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
SBN Column in SEMA Member News
Read SBN's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit SPC's website.|
Participate in the automotive aftermarket at a whole new level by joining the SPC.
The purpose of SEMA councils is to help our member companies succeed
and prosper. In the SPC, our mission is to provide market information,
education and support to our members concerning new and emerging
trends. Whether it’s the latest business technology, forecasting sales,
future marketing solutions or up and coming vehicle platforms, we give
you and your company the chance to see what’s on the horizon.
Then we’ll help you understand and acquire the skills, tools and
technologies to lead the way. The SPC has the most diverse membership
of any SEMA council, and that will allow you to network with other
professionals from every facet of our industry and gain insights into
areas you may not have previously considered. Find out about the parts,
people, technologies, strategies, trends and, most important,
This is your chance to give something back to the industry, your
profession and to grow personally along the way. Join the SPC today and
become an active member of the specialty equipment and automotive
market — Tracie Nuñez, Advanced Clutch Technology, SPC Chairman
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? SPC is!
Be sure to follow SPC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/spc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
SPC Column in SEMA Member News
Read SPC's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit WTC's website|
The WTC Long-Range Planning Meeting and industry discussion will be held Wednesday, February 8, 2012, at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, from 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Lunch will be served. Get feedback and provide your thoughts to industry leaders during the open discussion. Whether you have questions regarding testing standards, increasing sales, vehicle technology or other pertinent issues, come to the open forum and share your thoughts.
Have you ever wondered how to get more involved in the SEMA Wheel & Tire (WTC) Council?
What exactly do the council leaders do throughout their term? Very simply, the Select Committee is elected by members of the council to serve a two-year term. They participate in monthly conference calls and meetings that are held at various trade events throughout the year. Each Select Committee member volunteers for at least 20 hours throughout the year, and some volunteer even more. Some share their experience and vision, others provide creative solutions to challenges our member companies are facing and others get their hands dirty and get it done. Each Select Committee member is supported by their company in their WTC efforts, and for that we say “thank you” to those companies!
The leaders of the WTC gathered last year at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, for its annual Long-Range Planning meeting. This meeting focused on bringing value to the WTC-member companies. The past 18 months have been extremely challenging for all of our companies and the council is dedicated to utilizing SEMA’s resources to further benefit each WTC member.
Guiding the group’s effort was the council’s mission statement to “identify common problems and opportunities relating to the wheel and tire industries that the council, as an interested body of companies, can address for the common good.” A handful of exciting objectives are being developed for the council over this year and next. If you are passionate and have an interest in being involved, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer for a task force with a limited investment of time that provides a great way to network and share your ideas. Please reach out to the task force chair if you want to participate or have comments.
Science and Technology Task Force
Tim Dietz (Standards Testing Laboratories Inc.) and can be reached at email@example.com. This group focuses on aftermarket and OEM advances that affect our industry. From creating wheel standards to improved processes for tire-pressure monitoring systems and electronic stability control, the Science and Technology Task Force plays a pivotal role in the industry’s advancement.
Education Task Force
Kelly Austin (Ultra Wheel Company) chairs this group and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The education task force is charged with developing successful programs for members to enhance their businesses. The WTC Task Force is responsible for partnering with the SEMA Educational Institute to create and promote online learning resources.
Communication and Marketing Task Force
Doug Frymer (Law Offices of Douglas A. Frymer) chairs this group and can be reached at email@example.com. This group focuses on membership outreach, growth and retention. It is imperative that councils effectively communicate services provided by WTC and SEMA to our members. Communication and services ensure that there is proper dialogue between leadership and membership.
SEMA Show Task Force
David Insull (American Tire Distributors) chairs this group and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The SEMA Show in Las Vegas provides the backdrop for critical networking functions. This group focuses on making WTC’s awards reception an ideal place to get together, honor one another and network with all those who share a common passion.
There are so many other things the council leadership does throughout the year. You are the expert at what your business needs and this council wants to deliver. Feel free to get in touch with us or come to one of our WTC events. Our hope is that, if you haven’t been a part of WTC yet, you will be in 2010 and beyond.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? WTC is!
Be sure to follow WTC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/wtc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
WTC Column in SEMA Member News
Read WTC's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.
Join the SEMA Council Family
SEMA hosts 10 distinct councils and committees that represent
focused niches within the specialty-equipment industry. These groups
are comprised of elected volunteers (Select Committee) who guide and
direct council activities while representing the membership at large.
Although each council acts independently and represents a different
segment, they are all focused on the betterment of the industry as a
The value councils provide SEMA and the industry is beyond refute.
It is inspiring to witness a diverse collection of company
representatives, many of which are direct competitors, come together
and develop educational, training, youth awareness and networking
events that are, at the core, designed to give back and promote
business. An equally important council function is to ensure that
SEMA sustains a pulse on the industry and maintains a
presence with its members.
The question is often asked, “Why should my company join a council?”
The answer is simple. SEMA councils open the doors and provide you
exposure to industry leaders, decision makers, trendsetters and a
community of like-minded individuals who share your passion and desire
to see business succeed and prosper. Once the doors are open, it is your
responsibility to take advantage of the benefits by becoming actively
Learn more today.
|Visit YEN's website
Mike Giles – SuperFlow Technologies Group
This month’s interview is with Mike Giles, marketing manager with SuperFlow Technologies Group, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.
Giles, a graduate of the University of Iowa, has worked for SuperFlow Technologies Group, as it is called today, in some capacity since he was six years old. At the present, Giles' main job functions include a whole array of marketing functions, but above all, he is responsible for managing SuperFlow’s brands and their respective images. Giles also oversees SuperFlow’s web developer and graphic designer; plans tradeshows and ensures they happen without issue; coordinates the advertising schedule and budget; organizes e-mail blasts; and writes press releases, newsletters and ad copy.
“We’re a small company so we’re all asked to go above and beyond our core responsibilities," he said. "For me, that is usually some minor IT work or building maintenance projects or anything else that needs some extra attention.”
What is your role at the company and how many years have you been there?
My current position is marketing manager, and I have had that position since March 2011. I’ve worked in the marketing department since I graduated in May 2009. Prior to that I’ve held positions ranging from lawn maintenance at age six, to parts runner, to janitor. My dad was very clear when I was young that he wanted my brothers and me to be involved in his company if we chose to, but that like anyone else, we would start at the bottom and work our way up.
How have you personally progressed through the company?
There are old company photos floating around where I’m still in diapers. As I said above, I’ve held many positions at SuperFlow on the production floor and in the front office. I enjoy both sides of the business and have a great appreciation for how hard all the employees at SuperFlow work, regardless of what they do.
Where do you live and work? Where is the company's headquarters located? Has the company always been there?
SuperFlow headquarters are in Des Moines, Iowa. We also have locations in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Pulle, Belgium. I’m currently living and working in Colorado Springs where we design, engineer, sell and service our engine dynamometers, chassis dynamometers and flowbenches. I grew up in the Des Moines office where we manufacture all of our transmission testing products. I moved to Colorado Springs about two years ago to learn and understand the products that are handled at this location on the same level that I do the products I grew up around.
How have you seen the business (SuperFlow) change over the years?
SuperFlow was founded in the early ’70s by Neal Williams. His first product was a flowbench, hence the name "SuperFlow." My dad grew up working for a company called Hicklin GM Diesel where he started mowing lawns and progressing through the company as he went through high school and college. Shortly after he graduated from college, a spin-off company was formed to produce heavy-duty transmission dynamometers. He had the opportunity to buy it and from there started acquiring other companies around the country in similar markets. It wasn’t until 2004 that he purchased SuperFlow and the organization as it sits today was formed. We’re now operating five brands capable of testing anything from the engine all the way to the rear axles of vehicles that range from passenger cars to M1 tanks. We also have a handful of other brands that we operate separately from the SuperFlow banner.
What is the greatest challenge of being employed in a family-owned company?
I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform because I know how hard my dad has worked to get his company to where it is today. The main thing is I don’t want to let him down. I struggle sometimes to separate work from home life because the company has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
How do employees perceive you?
This one’s tough because I have a great respect for everyone who works here. I’ve had other jobs over the years and can honestly say we’re fortunate at SuperFlow to have great employees. I like to believe I’m given the same respect that everyone else in the office gets, but I’m sure there are some people who believe the obvious rumors, like I’ve been handed everything, I’m dumb, etc. I do my best to earn everyone’s respect through hard work and results. I won’t say I’m the first one in the office in the morning, but I’m usually the last one to leave.
Are you held to a different standard?
Actually, no. At least I don’t feel like I am, which is nice. I put enough pressure on myself as it is. Naturally, I’ve made some mistakes and there’s been no shortage of input letting me know about it, which is fine with me. I’m relatively inexperienced when compared to people at other companies in my role so I welcome any advice, tips, info or criticism that will help me improve.
What are the advantages of a family-owned company?
My opinion on this is probably biased, but I believe the culture is great. We’re a small company, so there is a lot of autonomy and a relatively relaxed atmosphere. We work very hard, but we don’t miss an opportunity to have fun. For me, this is more than a job, which is good and bad. I’m so invested in what we’re doing that the highs are really high and the lows are really low. In other jobs I worked just as hard, but the outcome didn’t have such an impact on me personally. I love the challenges and the satisfaction of seeing things go well.
I think the relaxed atmosphere is a huge plus. A strict corporate culture would never work here. Like I said, we all work very hard and get things done, but we also understand the importance of having fun.
How has the company been affected by the recession?
We’re still fighting every day to provide local jobs and managing our business for the long term. The economy has had its impact on us just like it has on so many other manufacturing companies, but we’ve done our best to weather the storm. Ironically, it’s been a great time to focus on improving our core products and we’re looking forward to the tradeshows this fall where we can show everyone what we’ve been up to.
What advice would you give to a young person considering a career in the industry?
Do it! The automotive, racing and performance industries are exciting and fun. I’d get as much experience as possible while completing a degree. By the book, I was fully prepared for all the core duties of my job. However, I didn’t get enough experience through internships to be fully prepared. For example, many of the marketing principles I studied were based around large companies with massive budgets. We’re a relatively small company with a small budget, so it’s often hard to apply things exactly the way I was taught. As a result, we get to develop some creative solutions, which keep things fun and interesting.
Also, it’s cliché, but time management is critical. You start each day with a list of things to accomplish, but with e-mail, phone calls, office interruptions, etc., you really only get part of the day to finish your tasks. I believe this skill is critical to success. We’re all trained and educated in our particular area so generally speaking, we all know what to do. It’s the people who know how to do these things efficiently that really succeed.
2011 SPC/YEN Awards
Three significant industry awards were given out at the 2011 SPC/YEN reception, including the YEN Vanguard Award, Young Executive of the Year Award and SPC/YEN Industry Icon award.
The YEN Vanguard Award was presented to John Hotchkis of Hotchkis Suspension. As a 20-year member of the aftermarket and current member of the SEMA Board of Directors, Hotchkis has inspired, influenced and mentored dozens of young SEMA members. He was an active YEN member, is active on Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) and passionate about his work on the board. Specializing in suspension for musclecars (among the first in the industry), he founded Hotchkis Performance in 1992. Since then, he has employed dozens of young people, inspiring them all. He continues to offer internships to students in the engineering departments of several local universities, and many employees whom he hired as teenagers still work for him nearly 20 years later. He recently fought and defeated cancer and he remains an inspiration to us all.
The Young Executive of the Year Award was presented to Dan Dolan of DiabloSport Inc. Dolan worked tirelessly to promote and grow the YEN membership over the past year. His enthusiasm has been a great asset in getting the general membership more involved in YEN. He has been a positive influence in the performance aftermarket arena. Dolan is the type of person that any company would want to be represented by because of his “can-do” attitude that looks at problems as opportunities.
The SPC/YEN Industry Icon award was presented to Mike Spagnola of Street Scene Equipment. As the leader of an automotive aftermarket business, Spagnola understands the cost of doing business and the pressures that manufacturers face in all aspects of the industry. Over the past couple of years, Spagnola has served on the SEMA executive committee and governance committee, chaired the SEMA Show committee as well as the SEMA Show ‘n Shine and Gala Fundraiser efforts. In addition, he has been very active in the SEMA Cares committee and has served as the Board of Directors liaison to the Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA). He was honored as SEMA’s Person of the Year in 2010.
you know that the SEMA Young Executives Network has more than 500
members networking in the industry and is the largest SEMA committee?
If you are employed by a SEMA-member company and are under the age of
39, then you can join the SEMA Young Executives Network for FREE. If
you are interested in becoming part of the team, please visit our
website at www.sema.org/yen.
YEN Member of the Month Spotlight
Did you know that YEN has a Member of the Month Spotlight on the SEMA
website and that anyone can be nominated? To view previous selections
or to make a nomination, visit www.sema.org/yen.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? YEN is!
Be sure to follow YEN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/yen and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
YEN Column in SEMA Member News
Read YEN's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.