SEMA eNews Vol. 15, No. 13, March 29, 2012

What Has SEMA Done for You Lately?

  •   armo new products showcase

    The ARMO New Products Showcase at Spring Carlisle puts
    restoration products directly in front of 100,000+ enthusiasts—the very
    customers who use them. Participation in the Showcase is an exclusive
    ARMO-member benefit, and included in the annual $100 dues.


    The Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO), a SEMA council, is dedicated to preserving our automotive heritage for future generations to enjoy. ARMO provides a number of benefits to its 275 member companies, which include direct access to ARMO-member companies, education and outreach for small businesses in the restoration market, product exposure through an annual New Products Showcase and collective support of the restoration hobby.

    Top Reasons to Join ARMO:

    • Networking Opportunities: The primary strength of ARMO is its member companies. The organization provides multiple venues for ARMO members to interact and share ideas through its long-range planning meetings, new-products mixer at Spring Carlisle and the ARMO awards reception at the 2012 SEMA Show, as well as discussion groups on MySEMA and social media websites.
    • Education: The annual ARMO education seminars at the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show bring industry leaders and experts together to share their real-world experience with small-business owners, providing tips and insights to help them grow their businesses. The ARMO Restoration Trademark Licensing Guide provides ARMO members with the basic forms needed to begin the process of getting products licensed by an original-equipment manufacturer. The licensing guide is available through the SEMA Education Institute.
    • Supporting Hobby Growth: ARMO recognizes the importance of the individual hobbyist to the industry and supports Collector Car Appreciation Day activities across the country. Every April, the ARMO New Products Showcase puts member company products directly in front of 100,000+ restoration enthusiasts each year at Spring Carlisle. In addition, ARMO’s “Take a Kid to a Car Show” (TKCS) program strives to get children involved in automotive hobbies at an early age. The interactive TKCS website provides information on how to get involved for kids and adults alike.

    ARMO membership is open to virtually any business in the restoration industry, large or small. Annual dues are $100, and an application is available on the ARMO website.

    Contact ARMO’s staff liaison Jim Skelly at for more information.

Breaking News

  • The ’13 Audi allroad Quattro Measuring Session will be held April 18, 2012, from 8:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m. at Audi America Inc. Ontario Learning Center in Ontario, California.

  •   sema scholarship

    The deadline to apply for an automotive scholarship through the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund is April 6.


    April 6, 2012, is the deadline to apply for an automotive scholarship through
    the 2012 SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund (SMSF), which offers students preparing for careers in the automotive industry an opportunity to receive between $1,000–$4,000 to help pay for school. The scholarship
    application requires college transcripts and letters of recommendation
    and is now available at

    Since the fund's inception in 1984, it has awarded more than $1.5
    million in scholarships to more than 600 students engaged in studies
    leading to careers in the automotive aftermarket or related fields.

    “Paying for a high-quality education is a challenge for many people,
    particularly in today’s tough economy,” said Jamie Eriksen, SEMA
    education director. “SEMA is pleased to play a part in helping students
    prepare for careers in our industry. The specialty-equipment industry is
    innovative, dynamic and holds many opportunities for the next

    Unlike financial aid and student loans, the SEMA Memorial Scholarship is
    a one-time award that does not have to be paid back. Awards are granted
    to eligible applicants based on academic achievements, work experience,
    community involvement, essay content and recommendations. Students may
    re-apply each year, provided that they still meet the eligibility

    A loan forgiveness award is also available to recent graduates who are
    working for SEMA-member companies and paying off existing student loans.
    Details and applications for both the scholarship and the
    loan-forgiveness awards are available at

    Winners will be notified in the summer of 2012. Scholarship payments are
    sent directly to the student’s college, university, trade or vocational
    school to help offset the cost of tuition. Loan-forgiveness payments
    are sent directly to the financial institutions.

    To review eligibility requirements or to access the application, visit or contact Juliet Marshall at, 909-978-6655.


      aftermarket news, automotive news
      NHRA Pro Stock legend Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins passed away March 29. Here's Jenkins and his Grumpy’s Toy IV Camaro making a run at the Super Stock Nationals held at the York U.S. 30 Dragway in Pennsylvania in 1969. Photo courtesy of the Petersen Archives.

    NHRA Pro Stock legend Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins passed away March 29. He was 81.

    Jenkins was voted No. 8 among NHRA Drag Racing's greatest racers in a 2001 experts poll because of his contributions to drag racing's advancement of normally aspirated engines.

    In August 1969, Jenkins and his Grumpy’s Toy IV Camaro dominated the competition at the Super Stock Nationals held at the York U.S. 30 Dragway in Pennsylvania. John Dianna, covering the Nationals in Hot Rod magazine’s October 1969 issue, said Jenkins’ driving that weekend caused “more spectator excitement than we’ve seen in years” with “wheel-standin’ 9-second runs” that were a “sight to behold.”

    Not long after that event, the NHRA adopted some of Super Stock’s match-race attitude for its new Pro Stock classes. Jenkins would lay down the first 9-second pass in the new class at the 1970 Winternationals, and he went on to revolutionize Pro Stock chassis design when he adapted a MacPherson strut front suspension to the ’74 Vega that was Grumpy’s Toy XI.  

    Read more about NHRA icon Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins.

Business Tools

  • SEMA News—March 2012

    By Mike Imlay

    App Crazy

    The Ins and Outs of Mobile Application Development

      aftermarket business, aftermarket research, automotive market research,
    The smartphone explosion has many businesses asking if app development makes sense for them.

    “Is there an app for my business?”

    With the explosion of smartphones and mobile devices, this may be a question you’re asking yourself. After all, apps are fast becoming one of the latest marketing trends, offering significant branding and revenue opportunities for a company. Unfortunately, they can also prove to be a huge boondoggle. So how does a company decide whether and how to jump on the app-development bandwagon?

    The term “app,” of course, is shorthand for a mobile application—a software program that enables a user to perform specific functions with a mobile phone, tablet or related device. Early apps were associated more with productivity (think e-mail), but today’s apps are increasingly about on-the-go utility, entertainment and branding. In fact, according to some marketing experts, apps can be divided into four main categories:

    Content: Apps that aggregate and supply news, statistics and other information, such as a weather app.

    Transactional: Branded mobile software that delivers a business service like ordering or purchasing, such as a mobile banking app.

    Entertainment: Games and other amusements, such as the popular Angry Birds game.

    Utility: Basic productivity tools like a calculator, calendar or scheduling app.

    Of these categories, research shows that entertainment apps rank number one in downloads, while utility apps rank the highest in “stickiness,” or longevity among consumers.

    It’s easy to see why so many businesses are going app crazy. According to the information technology research firm Gartner, worldwide sales of mobile devices hit more than 440 million units in the third quarter of 2011 alone—a 5.6% increase over the same period in 2010. That rise is expected to continue through 2012, with more tablets coming to market alongside iPads and smartphones. There are currently more than 140,000 mobile applications for the sales-leading iPhone, and more than 200,000 apps in Google’s Android Market. Even eReaders such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire now run apps.

    “There isn’t really any mystery about developing mobile apps,” said Luanne Brown, principal at eTool Developers. “The underlying rationale is the same as most marketing campaigns: getting your stuff in the face of your customers. Now that we have cool smart phones, the need to develop apps is more relevant.”

      aftermarket business, aftermarket research, automotive market research,
    This year tablets are expected to boom alongside smartphones, further extending the reach of apps.

    Companies are leveraging this phenomenon in various ways. For example, they may build a game app around their particular field of business as an exercise in branding. Or they may develop a branded content app that supplies customers with useful information related to their area of expertise. Creating a utility or transaction app that directly links their customers to products and services is another option. Plus, with total app development costs running about $3,000 on the low end, even small businesses are finding that they may be able to afford some sort of basic mobile app offering a reasonable return on investment.

    Still, Brown emphasized caution. Companies shouldn’t latch onto apps simply because they are cool or trendy.

    “If you’re going online with mobile, it better be because you know that’s where your customers are hanging out,” she said. “Marketing 101 still applies to mobile apps. Integrating all your efforts is the way to go.”

    The Right App

    “Candidly, this is all in its infancy,” agreed Brian Offenberger, president of the AfterMarketer Club, another agency specializing in digital marketing for the automotive aftermarket. “We believe a mobile app only makes sense if it’s going to do one of two things for your business—either help your revenue or help you build involvement with your audience through user engagement. If it’s not going to do one of those two things, you probably shouldn’t consider it any further.”

    Brown added that many times a business may not need an app at all but rather a tweaking of its current web assets for easier mobile access. In fact, eTool Developers has helped several clients realign their company and product websites to make them more searchable on mobile devices.

    “I think one of the hugest benefits in our industry for mobile applications is search,” Brown said. “Users on the road want to search for where to find parts so they can go buy them right now. While someone could use a mobile app to offer shopping online for aftermarket parts, I think most today want to find out where to buy things while out on the road.”

    The point is, companies should ask themselves why they want an app in the first place, then determine which type of app makes the most sense for their business.


    App Promotion

      aftermarket business, aftermarket research, automotive market research,
      Mobile apps can be powerful brand-promotion tools. SEMA’s Automotive Restoration Market Organization recently created
    an app to help promote its Take a Kid to a Car Show awareness campaign. The“coloring book” app allows users to “customize” a collection of cool show cars on their iPhones or iPads. Download the app.

    For example, many installation and repair operations on the retail side are currently finding value in utility apps that allow customers to schedule appointments through their mobile devices. Such apps encourage customer retention, especially when shops can text regular service reminders or special offers straight to customer smartphones.

    In the performance arena, companies such as GoPoint Technology now offer branded apps that can read OBD-II codes, assess fuel economy, check emissions and “test” car operating systems (including anti-lock brakes and airbags) and then deliver that information to an iPhone or other mobile device.

    After settling on the type of app, a company must next decide whether to build a “native app” confined to a specific operating system (i.e., Blackberry, iPhone or Android) or a “web-based” app that works on wide range of mobile devices. More often than not, companies will opt for web-based applications, but it again depends on overall marketing and intended audience goals.

    Having taken these initial steps, it’s time to outline the proposed project in writing. Experts say that this is where companies frequently fall short. The documentation should specify as many details as possible, including the goals, “wish list” and scope of the proposed project, the dollar amount the company is willing to invest, a development deadline and who the project’s point people or decision-makers will be. A good digital marketing consultant can help with this document. After it’s done, the company can move on to a careful search for the right mobile application developer.

    Above all, resist the temptation to turn to Internet dabblers or the 16-year-old down the street. There’s a big difference between technical competency and marketing competency—both of which are required for good application development.

    “One develops differently for mobile apps than for other digital mediums because you have to consider things like the size of the monitor and use of icons, pictures and video rather than words,” Brown said. “You also have to consider various phone company softwares, how the different web browsers display on said phone company software, etc. There are more variables for the developers to consider.”

    Moreover, because this is a relatively new field, best practices and industry standards are still emerging. A good mobile app developer should be able to understand your company’s business, your app’s intended audience and the processes they will go through when using the application. Look for vendors who belong to professional associations or trade organizations. These include the Mobile Marketing Association, the Search Engine Marketing Professional Association and various mobile application development forums.

    As far as production costs, expect to encounter two tiers between North American and offshore developers. Here in the United States, development can start as low as $100 an hour, but total pricing can run from $3,000 to well over $100,000, depending on the project’s scope and complexity. Overseas developers can drastically cut those costs but may lack the cultural and marketing understanding essential to the success of your app. Like anything else, you’ll want project numbers fully estimated before committing to an outside vendor.

    Finally, if these costs sound prohibitive for your business, there are still ways you can join the app revolution, observed Tom Myroniak, SEMA vice president of marketing and market research. “For many companies, developing custom or standalone apps just won’t make good business sense. However, they could benefit from tapping into existing tools such as maps and navigation apps by claiming online listings, ensuring that they are complete and accurate.”

    The Cloud’s the Limit

      aftermarket business, aftermarket research, automotive market research,
    Companies unable to create their own app can always tap into existing tools such as map and nav apps.

    Myroniak also pointed out that companies creating their own branded apps are only part of a wider mobile connectivity trend beginning to sweep the automotive aftermarket.

    “A lot of businesses are developing products and services around the iPad and iPhone,” he explained. “Many of them are also offering Android applications. Those devices have become personal electronics that people like to take with them to enjoy wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. The ability to connect to them in the car is still rather restrictive. People are looking for ways to enhance their driving experience, particularly younger people and people who are tech-centered. Right now, the wide range of infrastructure that’s offered by the OEs sometimes [limits] their abilities to do that.”

    According to Myoniak, the real opportunities for app-developing aftermarketers will be found in creating solutions that address the challenges of this fast-growing phenomenon. One major hurdle for application developers is the current climate in which OEs offer mobile connectivity through largely proprietary, closed-system platforms, such as Ford/Microsoft Synch or Chrysler’s Uconnect.

    “That’s a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity for the aftermarket to create systems that have greater ability to integrate third-party applications with vehicles, particularly for mobile-electronics companies,” said Myroniak. “A lot of companies have already figured out ways to tap into the vehicle systems and are writing applications to do that.”

    For example, Directed Electronics’ Viper division has offered car alarm systems featuring SmartStart for several years now. Through a module that plugs into a vehicle’s onboard systems, users can arm vehicle alarms and locate, lock, unlock or start their cars with their smartphones, iPads or iPod Touches. More recently, an upgraded SmartStart 2.2 version added the ability to share activity on Facebook, set speed and other safety notifications and control home security systems. However, a brand-new 3.0 version unveiled at the recent Consumer Electronics Show goes much further, allowing users to feed in information about their daily routines and receive weather and other pertinent notifications as they go about their scheduled activities. SmartStart 3.0 also receives vehicle diagnostics.

    In announcing the product release, Directed Electronics President Mike Simmons said Viper’s goal was to “change the way people start their day [and] introduce the promise of the Cloud-connected car, providing a robust, real-time, two-way link between cars and smartphones.”

    Although aftermarket companies large and small are learning to harness the power of mobile applications, there is a broad perception that the specialty-equipment industry still lags behind other sectors.

    “Many of our guys are not living a mobile lifestyle, and that’s the challenge of our industry,” observed Brown. “Sometimes I think we’re bowling over the industry veterans with the new, trendy marketing opportunities, and they’re thinking, ‘oh, that’s a job for the young guys.’”

    To address this gap, Myroniak said that SEMA is currently developing a number of educational outreaches designed to bring member companies and app developers together. The hope is that such programs will provide networking opportunities, create an information exchange and ultimately spur innovation.

    “If somebody has a piece of hardware they’re already using, perhaps they can enhance that piece of hardware by piggybacking different applications on top of it,” he said. “I think there’s also an opportunity for application developers to meet other performance brands in our industry to create performance-type applications that are branded through particular companies.”

    Who knows? With a little imagination and thoughtful development, your company’s marketing may soon include the message, “Yes, we’ve got an app for that.”

  • Are you hunting for a new job? The “Positions Available” section in the
    SEMA Member Classifieds lists more than 50 job openings around the
    country. Here are some of the latest classifieds posted to the website.

    • The Los Angeles Auto Show is hiring an administrative assistant responsible for managing multiple projects associated with major event planning and coordination. The ideal candidate is detail-oriented, has excellent written and oral communication skills and can work well under pressure. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and a minimum of two years' experience in event coordination and administrative work are required.
    • Custom Diesel Inc., located in Morristown, Tennessee, is hiring sales/tech support with exceptional communication skills, strong sales experience, knowledge of
      the light/heavy-duty domestic pickup truck and late-model musclecar markets and a technical background. Requirements include an Associate's degree and two years' related experience and/or training.
    • S&W Race Cars, located in Spring City, Pennsylvania, is hiring a full-time salesperson. This position requires an understanding of race car chassis parts and
      applications, excellent phone presence and basic computer skills.
    • Energy Suspension, located in San Clemente, California, is hiring an R&D technician/engineer to design molded polyurethane components and remove,
      re-assemble and install automotive suspension components. Requirements include excellent written and verbal communication skills, good
      mechanical aptitude, 3+ years' automotive suspension experience and 3D CAD modeling skills. An engineering degree is a plus.

    More automotive job listings.

New Products and Technology

  • future vehicles, spy photos, car spy shots, Chevrolet Spark

    The shooters at Brenda Priddy & Co. report that Chevrolet is finishing testing and gearing up for production of the long-awaited Spark EV. The team caught these photos of a U.S. spec Spark at a local car wash.

    The ultra-clean Spark seen here has a new front fascia, which includes a new grille and freshened fog lamps, and sports a charging port in front of the driver's door.

    Priddy's best guess for an on-sale date is early 2013, with a model-year designation of 2014.

    future vehicles, spy photos, car spy shots, Chevrolet Spark

    Photo: Eugene Sergienko for Brenda Priddy & Co.

  •   ford explorer sport
      The ’13 Ford Explorer Sport is expected to achieve fuel economy of up to 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway and at least 350 hp.

    Ford will add an EcoBoost 3.5L V-6 to the Explorer for the ’13 model year, resulting in projected fuel economy of up to 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, with at least 350 hp. With the new drivetrain, the ’13 Explorer Sport will be rated to tow up to 5,000 lbs.

    The new EcoBoost powertrain gives the Explorer Sport a fuel economy advantage of 2 to 4 mpg compared to V-8-powered versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Durango and Land Rover Range Rover Sport.

    Other upgrades will include a paddle-shift six-speed automatic transmission, electric power steering, larger standard brakes and terrain management settings for 4WD versions that adapt powertrain characteristics to cope with sand, snow, mud and for hill descent. A host of comfort and convenience features are available, including a power liftgate, dual-panel moonroof, remote start and power folding mirrors, just to name a few.

    Explorer Sport is manufactured at Ford’s Chicago production facility. The ’13 model will arrive in dealerships later this year.

  • CAD files for seven GM vehicles have been added to SEMA Tech Transfer,
    further enhancing the data-sharing program that features thousands of files
    from participating OEMs—Chrysler, Ford, GM and Scion.

    Tech Transfer is a collaboration between SEMA members, OEMs and SEMA staff, and the intent of the program is to minimize or eliminate the necessity for reverse engineering.

    New files are added weekly, and the amount of files and data available is fueled by requests made by SEMA manufacturing members. Here are the latest files added this week:

      automotive technology

    New CAD files for the Cadillac CTS and SRX, Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Corvette ZR1, GMC Terrain and more have been added to the SEMA Tech Transfer Program.


    Pontiac G8

    • 2008  Fuel Pump Feed Pipe Assembly - GT
    • 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP Fuel Tank Assembly
    • 2009 Pontiac G8 Fuel Tank Assembly - GT

    GMC Terrain

    • 2011 Rear Fascia Assembly

    Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

    • 2011 Front Bumper Splitter Assembly
    • 2012 Fuel Sender Pipe Assembly

    Cadillac CTS

    • 2011 Air Intake Assembly - 3.0L (LF1)

    Cadillac SRX

    • 2012 Wheels and Tire Assembly 20"

    Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

    • 2012 Fuel Injector Assembly

    Chevrolet Malibu

    • 2013 Front and Rear Wheel - Knuckle Assembly (ECO)

    To gain access to the files listed above, e-mail and make a request. Looking for additional files? Check out all that Tech Transfer has to offer by visiting

    In addition to SEMA Tech Transfer, the association also provides rapid prototype services as a benefit to SEMA members. This service is available to create ABS plastic prototypes of company designs at a reduced rate available only to SEMA members.

    For more information, visit For additional information or questions about the program, contact

Law & Order

  • Resolutions have been introduced in the Hawaii House of Representatives urging the City and County of Honolulu to create a 10% vehicle registration credit for residents who drive limited miles in their vehicles, like rarely used hobby cars. The resolutions were introduced by Representative George Fontaine to offset the burden put on certain vehicle owners by increased registration fees. Under the resolutions, the credit would extend to any resident who is registering their vehicle and can provide their two most recent safety inspections (at least 11 months apart) showing that less than 3,000 miles were driven between the two inspections. 

    More information on the resolutions is available. For details, contact Steve McDonald at

  • SEMA-supported legislation to create a registration class and special license plate for special interest motor vehicles was signed into law by Governor Dave Heineman. The new law authorizes owners of special interest motor vehicles to operate them on Nebraska’s roads displaying a single license plate on the rear of the vehicle. Under the new law, special interest motor vehicles are defined as those vehicles “of any age, which are being collected, preserved, restored or maintained by the owner as a leisure pursuit and not used for general transportation of persons or cargo.” 

    Under a SEMA-drafted amendment, special interest motor vehicles may be driven on the public streets and roads for occasional transportation, public displays, parades and related pleasure or hobby activities. SEMA worked with the bill sponsor and staff to delete provisions in the original bill that would have required proof of membership in a recognized car club; forced owners to account for all daily driver vehicles owned or operated by the applicant; obligated owners to a sworn affidavit that the vehicle would not be used for daily transportation; and mandated that these vehicles be essentially unaltered from the original manufacturer’s specifications. 

    For details, contact Steve McDonald at

  • Congress has approved bipartisan legislation designed to remove regulatory barriers for companies going public and seeking to attract investors. The SEMA-supported “Jumpstart Our Business Startups” (JOBS) Act makes it easier for small companies to comply with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules when securing outside capital investment. Companies will be able to file initial public offerings (IPO) more quickly as regulations will be phased-in over a period of five years.

    The legislation raises the threshold number of shareholders triggering SEC registration from 500 to 2,000 and increases the offering threshold from $5 million to $50 million in shares. Companies can raise capital using the Internet and social media so long as the website is registered with the SEC and investors are informed about a company’s financial condition and shareholder risks. Individual investments are limited to 5% of annual income for those earning less than $100,000 a year, and 10% above that amount. Companies with gross annual revenues of up to $1 billion can sell shares to the public while being exempted from some of the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. President Obama supports the legislation and intends to sign it into law.

    For more information, please contact Dan Sadowski at

  • Legislation (H.B. 5405) to increase the age requirement for vehicles eligible for registration as “antique, rare or special-interest motor vehicles” was approved by the Connecticut Joint Committee on Planning and Development by a narrow 10–9 vote. Under the bill, vehicles seeking registration as antique, rare or special-interest motor vehicles would be required to be at least 30 years old. Currently, vehicles 20 years old or older are eligible for this status and special license plates. 

    For the purpose of property taxes, the bill also increases the maximum assessment of these vehicles from $500 to $2,000. The bill will now be sent to the Connecticut House of Representatives for a vote by all members.   

    More information about this bill is available. For details, contact Steve McDonald at

  • The hearing scheduled for March 27, 2012 on California Senate Bill (S.B. 1224) has been postponed until April 10, 2012.

    S.B. 1224 would exempt all motor vehicles prior to the ’81 model year from the emissions inspection requirement. Current California law requires the lifetime testing of all ’76 and newer model-year vehicles.

    More information about the hearing is available

    For details, contact Steve McDonald at

Global Update

  • The California Manufacturing Technology Center (CMTC) is sponsoring a half-day complimentary export workshop April 3, 2012, from 1:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. at the Irvine Chamber of Commerce in Irvine, California. Topics to be covered will include:

    • How to export
    • How to identify markets
    • Financing and insuring overseas sales
    • Documentation and logistics
    • Sea and air cargo services 

    Representatives from the following agencies will be participating:

    • Trade Development, Port of Los Angeles
    • U.S. Department of Commerce
    • U.S. Small Business Administration
    • Center for International Trade Development
    • California Manufacturing Technology Consulting, ExporTech

    To RSVP, contact Victor DiCarlo at 949-502-4128 or

People, Places, & Racing News


    nhra fanfest

    POPULAR NEW YORK-NEW YORK HOTEL AND CASINO FANFEST RETURNS TO KICK OFF RACING ACTION AT THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: More than 25 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series drivers will be at the annual Fan Fest March 29 on the Brooklyn Bridge in front of the New York-New York Hotel & Casino, including all seven Don Schumacher Racing drivers and the Summit Racing Equipment duo of Greg Anderson and Jason Line. The party starts at 5:00 p.m., with driver autographs from 6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m. The free event will be hosted by Team Full Throttle and include music and giveaways. For tickets to the NHRA Nationals, call 800-644-4444 or log on to

    NAPA Auto Parts Funny Car driver Ron Capps served as NAPA’s Honorary Pit Crew Member for NAPA NASCAR teammate Martin Truex Jr. during the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. During the pre-race activities, Capps and son Caden were interviewed on SiriusXM satellite radio and on Speed’s NASCAR Race Day. Capps and Caden attended the driver meeting with Truex and participated in the NAPA team meeting, where Caden addressed the crew. Then they were off to driver introductions and pre-race festivities. When it was time for the engines to fire, Capps got on the team radio and gave the NAPA driver and crew words of encouragement. The highlight of Capps’ experience was signaling Truex in for his first pit stop by holding and waving the driver’s pit sign to help him negotiate his way into the NAPA pit stall. Capps’ name was prominently displayed on the No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota. Capps will return the favor to Truex when the NASCAR driver serves as the Honorary Pit Crew Member at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 13–15. The entire NAPA Sprint Cup team will show its support for Capps as well by attending the NAPA Race Day Experience and watching Capps during competition.

    CANDLEWOOD SUITES EXTENDS PARTNERSHIP WITH KALITTA MOTORSPORTS: Candlewood Suites, IHG’s midscale extended-stay brand, will rejoin Kalitta Motorsports in a two-year sponsorship as a major associate and primary sponsor for the team in the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. The Candlewood Suites logo will be prominently displayed on all four of the Kalitta Motorsports nitro-fueled, 7,000-hp, 300-mph race cars, including the Technicoat Top Fuel dragster driven by Doug Kalitta, the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Jeff Arend, and the Tequila Patron Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by rookie of the year contender Alexis DeJoria. The primary sponsorship on the David Grubnic-driven Top Fuel dragster kicks off at the NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas March 30.

    nhra zizzo

    ZIZZO WALKS RED CARPET AT GENESIS AWARDS IN HOLLYWOOD: Top Fuel driver TJ Zizzo attended the 26th annual Humane Society Genesis Awards March 24, in Beverly Hills, California, with his wife, Jennifer, and two marketing partners from Misix. The Genesis Awards is the nation’s premier animal-welfare consciousness-raiser acknowledging the efforts of the international media, entertainment, social, business and humane communities working to make a difference. The taped event is edited to become the “Genesis Awards Television Special,” airing nationwide on the Animal Planet network. At the after party/social media lounge, Zizzo challenged attendees to test their racing reaction time against him using NHRA’s race simulator.


    The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its first of two stops of the season in Sin City for the fourth race of the season. Defending event winners are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-644-4444 or log on to For media credentials, contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at

    NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS, zMAX DRAGWAY, April 13–15: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its first of two stops of the season in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the only four-wide national event. Winners from 2011 were Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-455-FANS (3267) or log on to For media credentials, contact Media Relations Manager Alex Baca at

    O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA SPRING NATIONALS PRESENTED BY SUPER START BATTERIES, ROYAL PURPLE RACEWAY, April 27–29: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its first stop of the season in the Lone Star State for the sixth race of the season. Winners from 2011 were Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Jeff Arend (Funny Car), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 281-383-RACE (7223) or log on to For media credentials, contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at

    nhra vegas   nhra k love
    a few scraps on the table with this Summit Racing team winning two of
    the three, so it’s a good but not a perfect start, and we strive for
    perfection,” said Summit Racing Equipment Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson
    of his team’s 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season. “It’s
    also a big deal every year when we go to Vegas because of it being (team
    owner) Ken and Judy’s (Black) hometown and combined with the fact that
    this is a Summit-sponsored race. With all of the brass coming out to
    cheer us on, it means there is a lot of added pressure and emphasis on
    doing well. The good thing about this year’s race is that we’re coming
    in on a high, so we’re hoping to continue that roll and put two Summit
    Pontiacs in the final round so we can put that big smile on everyone’s
    face again. It feels good to be going in with a little positive
    K-LOVE, a national radio broadcaster that features positive and
    encouraging music, will be the primary sponsor on two-time NHRA Full
    Throttle world champion Tony Pedregon's Funny Car for 12 of the final 20
    races of the season. K-LOVE will be a major associate sponsor on the
    car for the remainder of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series
    season as well. The K-LOVE Funny Car will take to the track for the
    first time at the NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas and
    banner the primary backing through the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA
    Southern Nationals in Atlanta. After a two-race break, K-LOVE will
    return as the primary sponsor at five of the eight remaining races
    leading up to the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Labor Day weekend. K-LOVE
    will finish the season at three of the Countdown to the Championship
    races, including the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals
    in Pomona.


    nhra hight

    RIDING A HOT STREAK: Hight will roll into The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the 13th annual NHRA Nationals, March 30–April 1, as the hottest Funny Car driver in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Not only is Hight the event’s defending Funny Car winner, but he is also riding a two-race winning streak. Funny Car driver Robert Hight is also the only two-time Funny Car winner (also 2007) at the NHRA Nationals. He’ll try to keep the momentum going and add a third-straight victory to his early season collection.

    “It is harder to start a winning streak than keep one going,” Hight said. “Once you have a couple wins, momentum carries over from win to win. Your team builds up confidence and it just seems to get easier. You never want to take it for granted because streaks can end just as quickly as they start.”

  • Shelby American to Introduce 1,100hp Shelby 1000 S/C
    Shelby American will introduce its most powerful Shelby yet April 5
    at the New York International Auto Show. Carroll Shelby started with a ’12 Ford Shelby GT500 and pumped up the handling, performance and
    braking. The Shelby 1000 will be offered in both a street and a Shelby
    1000 S/C “off-road” track version. According to Shelby American, the
    street-legal, pump-gas version dyno’s out at approximately 950 hp, while
    the track-oriented S/C edition is rated at more than 1,100 hp. 

    build the car that Carroll Shelby envisioned, Shelby American takes
    Ford’s 5.4L V8 down to the block to add new rods, crank and
    pistons. The team flows the heads, upgrades the cooling and exhaust,
    replaces the supercharger, tunes it and then sprinkles it with a little
    Shelby magic.

    To complement the new power, the Shelby 1000 has
    improved the handling and stopping capabilities with six pistons in front
    and four pistons in the rear, while the suspension includes new struts,
    sway bars and bushings. The new solid driveshaft is connected to a new
    9-in. rear end. Exterior cues incorporate aerodynamics while
    maintaining a stealthy appearance. The hood, rear panel and splitter
    are functional pieces. Shelby American will accept orders once the
    Shelby 1000 is unveiled at the New York International Auto Show. More
    information on the vehicle will be available after April 5, 2012, at

    GenRight Off-Road Donates $1,500 to
    In a move that GenRight Off-Road refers to as doing its part to protect
    the Johnson Valley OHV area from the 29 Palms Marine Base Expansion, the
    company donated $1,500 to Currently the Marines are
    looking to expand the 29 Palms Marine base west into the Johnson Valley
    OHV area. The Johnson Valley OHV area
    represents 50% of the area available for off-road recreation in
    California. More information is available at

    Alpine's Jim O'Neill Announces Retirement
    Alpine Electronics of America Inc. announced that Jim O’Neill, executive vice president of OEM and aftermarket sales and marketing, is retiring from the company. O’Neill also serves as the president of Alpine Electronics of Canada. His last day in the office will be March 30, 2012, after which he will support Alpine as an advisor and consultant. He has been an Alpine employee for 40 years. Steve Crawford, vice president and general manager of Alpine’s aftermarket business unit, will take on the additional duty of president for Alpine Electronics of Canada. “Jim O’Neill has had a major influence on Alpine’s entire business structure,” said Kazunobu Watanabe, president, Alpine Electronics of America, Inc.  “His wisdom and business acumen shaped the foundation of our OEM division, which remains a key part of our company.  We greatly appreciate his many years of dedication and service to Alpine.”

    Kristen Wentzell Joins NHRA as Director of Advertising and Promotions
    Kristen Wentzell has joined the NHRA as director of advertising and promotions. NHRA reports that her primary focus will be to increase ticket sales at national events through creative and innovative strategies designed to reach the core as well as a broader fan base. Wentzell will work in partnership with national event track owners and operators on all advertising and promotions for the 23-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

    Goodguys to Honor Ed Pink and Ed Iskenderian as "Hot Rod Heroes"
    Ed Pink and Ed Iskenderian will be honored as “Hot Rod
    Heroes” at the Goodguys 12th Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals, March 30–April
    1, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Pink, known worldwide as one of the
    premier engine builders in all racing platforms will have a booth on the
    midway showcasing Ed Pink Racing Engines as well as his red ’29 Ford Hiboy roadster, “Old Master” top fuel dragster and other Pink-powered
    hot rods. Iskenderian, better known as the “Camfather,” is still going
    strong at 90 years old. Isky’s iconic ’27 Ford hot rod roadster will be
    on display throughout the weekend.  

    Both icons will be available for autographs and bench racing all three
    days. They will headline a special “Meet & Greet” with fans on
    Saturday, March 31, beginning at 11:30 a.m. inside the Mission Tower at the
    Del Mar Fairgrounds. For more information, visit

    RK Motors Charlotte Named Primary Sponsor on Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 Camry
    RK Motors Charlotte will be the primary
    sponsor on Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 Toyota Camry this Sunday,
    April 1, during the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at
    Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. Brian Vickers will
    pilot the No. 55 Toyota in his second race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup
    Series. RK Motors Charlotte will not only be present on the race track,
    but also in Martinsville Speedway’s Midway. “This is the first time in
    history RK Motors Charlotte will be the primary sponsor of a NASCAR
    competitor,” said Joseph Carroll, RK Motors Charlotte’s president/CEO.
    “NASCAR is enjoyed by millions of passionate fans who love cars as much
    as we do. We want to connect with those fellow enthusiasts and share the
    NASCAR excitement with them this weekend through our sponsorship of
    Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 Toyota.”

    Atlas Copco Compressors Appoints Tom Poot to Business Line Manager
    Atlas Copco Compressors appointed Tom Poot as business line manager for oil-free products in the United States, a role he began during the first quarter of 2012. Poot joined the company in 1998 as a project engineer, and he was promoted to project leader within the same group in 2002 before serving as engineering manager, oil-free air from 2004–2008. He returned to Oil-Free Air marketing in 2008 as the product marketing manager for Atlas Copco's line of large Z compressors.

    Publication Founders Reacquire RACER Magazine and
    Paul Pfanner and Bill Sparks have acquired RACER Magazine and from Haymarket Media Inc. The purchase returns the magazine to its founding management team after 11 years of majority ownership by Haymarket. RACER celebrates its 20th anniversary in April with the release of the May issue. The acquisition also includes the company's custom publishing arm, which produces SportsCar magazine for the Sports Car Club of America and the Racer Special Projects Division, which creates collateral, advertising materials, publications, websites, custom content and editorial management solutions.

    Carlisle Brake & Friction Announces Senior Leadership Changes
    Carlisle Brake & Friction announced two organizational leadership changes. Chris Koch, president of Carlisle Brake & Friction since 2009, is assuming the newly created role of group president, diversified products, which consist of Carlisle Transportation Products, Carlisle Food Service and Carlisle Brake & Friction. Koch will work with the president of each of the businesses to ensure continued growth of Carlisle's revenues in these segments. Matt Dietrich was appointed president of Carlisle Brake & Friction as of March 1. Dietrich joined Carlisle in 2010 as vice president of sales and marketing after more than 20 years of significant commercial and managerial experience in other industrial businesses, including Timken and Ingersoll-Rand.


      parnelli jones
      Legendary racer Parnelli Jones will headline the Ford-Cobra-Shelby Reunion panel discussion at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum April 21.

    Grand Marshal Parnelli Jones Headlines Ford-Cobra-Shelby Reunion Panel Discussion
    On Saturday, April 21, legendary racer and Ford-Cobra-Shelby Reunion (FCSR) Grand Marshal Parnelli Jones will be joined by a stellar group of contemporaries on the panel discussion as part of the FCSR festivities at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by Automobile Club of Southern California.

    The panel discussion is scheduled for Saturday, April 21, at 2:00 p.m. in the Hall of Champions inside the NHRA Motorsports Museum. The cost is $20 (plus museum entry). Scheduled for April 21, the Ford-Cobra-Shelby Reunion is an event for all Cobras, Ford and Ford-powered vehicles, including GT40s and Ford GTs as well as all Shelby vehicles.

    The list of activities for the Reunion will include:

    Museum – Saturday, April 21    
    10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.   Show ’N Shine presented by Team Shelby Pacific Coast Division. $25 per car.
    2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.   Panel Discussion with Grand Marshal Parnelli Jones. $20 per person.
    5:00 p.m.   “Speed Merchants of Venice” 50th Anniversary Cobra Exhibit Opening.
    Presented by Racing Division Inc. Guest Curator Lynn Park. No extra
    7:00 p.m.   Banquet honoring Carroll Shelby. $100 per person. Proceeds to benefit the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum and the Carroll Shelby Foundation.
    Track – Friday and Saturday, April 20–21:    
    9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.   $250 for both days. For information contact or call 626-358-8092.

      team falken

    Jagged X will compete in the Mint 400 with a two-car team in the UTV class, fielding two Polaris RZR XP9000-4 race cars.


    Team Falken to Compete in Mint 400 With WildPeak A/T Tire
    Falken Tire has expanded its motorsports involvement in the off-road arena through its participation in the Mint 400. Falken will support two teams—Jagged X/Polaris Racing in the UTV class and Dave Cole, who will compete in the 4400 Class. Both teams will ride on Falken’s WildPeak All-Terrain tires. The Mint 400 will be held in Jean, Nevada, just outside Las Vegas March 23–25, 2012.

    Falken has begun competing in a number of off-road races and has done well, scoring its first win with Savvy Off Road at the recent Every Man Challenge in conjunction with the King of the Hammers event in mid-February. Savvy ran on WildPeak tires as well.

    Jagged X, a Phoenix-based company that specializes in custom off-road vehicle fabrication, will run Falken WildPeak A/T tires, sized 30X9.5R15, and compete with a two-car team in the UTV class, fielding two Polaris RZR XP9000-4 race cars—#1919 and #1932. The 1919 is driven by Justin Schueler with co-driver Blake VanDeLoo and the 1932 is driven by Matt Parks with co-driver Jason Spiess.

    Dave Cole, one of the founders of the King of the Hammers race and owner of Hammerking Productions, will compete in his 4400 series Ultra4 Racecar on Falken 37X12.50R17 tires. Cole was the winner of the Ultra4 Class at the 2011 Pike's Peak Hill Climb.

      The Rev'ved Up 4 Kids Charity fundraising event, hosted by Edelbrock, will be held May 5–6, 2012, and benefit The Center For Learning Unlimited.

    Edelbrock to Host Rev'ved Up 4 Kids Charity Weekend
 to Benefit Children with Learning Disabilities
    Edelbrock will host the Rev'ved Up 4 Kids Charity fundraising event May 5–6, 2012, benefitting The Center For Learning Unlimited—a private educational institution that provides comprehensive education to students with complex learning disabilities.

    The weekend's festivities will begin with a shop tour of Edelbrock's corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Torrance, California. Each tour will include a complete overview of everything from R&D to finished product manufacturing. The shop tours will take place Saturday, May 5, from 12:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. and are free to the public.

    Next on the weekend's list of activities is the "Back To Where It All Began" party, Saturday May 5, at 5:00 p.m. in Vic's Garage. This party will bring together legends of the aftermarket industry for a night of story telling and include: Vic Edelbrock, Ed Iskenderian, Gene Winfield, Alex Xydias, Parnelli Jones, George Follmer, George Barris, Sam Foose, Andy Brizio, Louie Senter, Ed Pink, Dave McClelland, Don Preito and hosted by Motor Trend radio host Alan Taylor. The evening will also include an autograph session, a silent auction and food and drinks. The cost for admission to the party will be $75 per person and is tax deductible. Limited seating is available.

    Finally, on Sunday, May 6, the 7th Annual Rev'ved Up 4 Kids Car Show will take place at Vic's Garage. Participants are invited to come out and enjoy a day of hot rods, food and live entertainment. All makes and models are welcome and interested participants can pre-register online at Standard registration is available from now until April 27 and costs $35 per vehicle. Day of show registration will also be available and will cost $40 per vehicle. A limited number of VIP spaces are also available for a $75 entry fee per vehicle. Show hours are 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Spectator entry is free; however, The Center for Learning Unlimited will be accepting donations.

    This year's show will feature live entertainment from MEGG Music, Shari Puorto and Scot Bruce as "Elvis." There will also be live broadcasts from "The Motorman" Leon Kaplan of KABC and Dennis Pittsenbarger of Hot Rod Radio LIVE. A Kid's Corner will be available with fun crafts and activities for children of all ages. New for this year, the KABC Clean Air Car Show, which gives consumers the opportunity to ride and drive some of the latest hybrid vehicles on the market today.

    Once again, the car show will host the 4th annual Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge Regional competition. Local high school students will compete in a high-energy engine-building competition. The top teams from each region will earn their spot to compete at the National Finals in Las Vegas at the "Showdown at SEMA" in early November. The top teams are honored with scholarships from Ohio Technical College, University of Northwestern Ohio and the School of Automotive Machinists.

      team competitive metals
      Geoffrey Cooley, Justin "Bean" Smith and Dave Mason Jr.

    Team Competitive Metals Launches New Off Road Joint-Venture for 2012 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series
    Team Competitive Metals (TCM) has announced a joint-venture between Justin "Bean" Smith, Alumi Craft, Mason Off Road and Competitive Metals that will field a three-car team in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series for 2012. Piloting the Competitive Metals/Metal Mulisha Pro-Lite will be Smith. Geoffrey Cooley will pilot the #22 Alumi Craft/Competitive Metals Pro-Buggy along with teammate Dave Mason Jr., who will pilot the #65 Rigid Industries/Competitive Metals Pro-Buggy. The team was initiated by Greg Parker, owner of Competitive Metals. All three drivers will pilot brand new race cars built by Alumi Craft.

    2010 Limited Buggy Champion Smith ended his 2011 Pro-Buggy debut second in the point's championship and also won the Challenge Cup. He is recognized as one of the top threats as he heads into his first-ever full season in the Pro-Lite Class. Cooley finished off last season by winning the Limited-Buggy Challenge Cup race, something he wanted to accomplish before moving up in class. Mason was one of the most consistent drivers in all of short-course racing last year finishing second in the Limited-Buggy point's championship. He will look for the same consistency as he moves up to the Pro-Buggy class.

    The team is in the process of finishing the new Alumi Craft cars and plans to have all drivers on track for a test session at Glen Helen this month. The first two rounds of the 2012 season will be held at Firebird International Raceway, Saturday March 31 (round 1) and Sunday, April 1 (round 2).

  • Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA)
    Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) Manufacturers' Rep Council (MRC)
    Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Professional Restylers Organization (PRO)
    Street Performance Council (SPC) Wheel & Tire Council (WTC)
    SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN) Young Executives Network (YEN)


    ARMO Logo
    Visit ARMO's website.
      armo restoration
      The ARMO New Products Showcase at Spring Carlisle takes place April 26–28, 2012, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

    Deadline is Near!

    The deadline to submit your best new restoration products for the 2012 ARMO New Products Showcase is Friday, April 13, 2012. Don’t miss out on this exciting and exclusive ARMO-member benefit. The event takes place April 25–29, 2012, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and online registration is now open.

    The ARMO New Products Showcase puts your product in front of 100,000+
    automotive restoration enthusiasts in the country at Spring Carlisle. In addition, each product is
    professionally photographed while on display. The photograph is posted
    in a gallery on the ARMO website and is also shown in video displays in the ARMO booth and during the ARMO awards reception at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

    For only the cost of shipping, your product effectively gets a full
    year's worth of exposure. This is available only to ARMO members and is
    included with the annual ARMO membership fee. Don’t miss out, register your restoration product now.

    For more information, contact Jim Skelly at

    ARMO Licensing Guide Now on SEI

    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).

    ARMO Licensing Overview:

    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.

    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 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.

    For more information about ARMO, contact Jim Skelly.

    Back to Top

    HRIA Logo  
    Visit HRIA's website
      hria pinewood
      HRIA is looking for top hot-rod builders to participate in the annual Pinewood Builders Challenge.

    Calling All Hot Rod Builders

    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 or 704-483-9343 for more information.

    Hot Rodder Highlight: Melanie Rushforth, Rushforth Wheels

    Melanie Rushforth started her business—Rushforth Wheels—approximately five years ago in Tacoma, Washington, and, like many others within the automotive aftermarket industry, she enjoys the people she meets at shows and other venues. With the help of the Internet, she has also built many relationships through Rushforth Wheels’ online forums.

    Rushforth’s current project vehicle is a ’64 Buick Skylark. It's the ultimate love story. Rushforth and her husband were looking for a project and found this ’64 Skylark on The car had everything they wanted and the original owner lived about a mile from their front door. Like a dream come true, the Skylark was at its new home that afternoon. Today, you might see Rushforth, her husband and the car that was meant to be theirs from the start taking a cruise on the beach.

      hria rushforth
      Melanie Rushforth

    However, Melanie’s true passion is late ’40s/early ’50s trucks, which she would use to transport her dogs and bikes and play in style.

    On a personal note, Rushforth spends much of her time volunteering with non-profits and in the rotary. She is also an officer on the Board of Tacoma Community College and was named a 40 Under 40 in 2009 and a 2010 Woman of Influence in the Puget Sound.

    Rushforth and her husband share their excitement for the industry with their 16-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter. Even though they travel a lot for work, it’s not nearly enough for pleasure. “If everyone we knew bought wheels from us, I’d make a point to spend more time on the beach in a tropical location,” she said.

    SEMA's Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) thanks Rushforth for her continuous support.

    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 (

    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 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.

    For more information about HRIA and how to join, contact Zane Clark or call 909/978-6696.

    Back to Top

    LTAA Logo  
    Visit LTAA's website.  

    LTAA Technical Resource Available on SEI

    LTAA is pleased to announce the launch of an LTAA education track for the SEMA Education Institute (SEI). LTAA members may now reference and download a number of technical resources from the new LTAA learning track that were previously available in hard copy only. Now, LTAA members have the information at their fingertips via an Internet connection.

    Resources currently available are:

    • LTAA Pickup Truck Bed Dimensions – pdf
    • LTAA Keyless Entry Connection Guide – pdf
    • LTAA CHMSL Wiring Connection Guide – pdf
    • Why Paint Colors Vary – video

    “This is very exciting for the Council,” said LTAA 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 LTAA-member benefit and makes for quick and timely updating of data. LTAA 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 LTAA education track because this is only the beginning—I promise you!”

    Learn more about the LTAA education tools.

    Not yet an LTAA member? Download an application or contact Jim Skelly at or 909-978-6690 for more information.

    What's the Value of Being an LTAA 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 – LTAA mixer at the Carlisle All Truck Nationals, Annual Long-Range Planning meeting and access to LTAA 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 LTAA-specific learning track on the new SEI from SEMA, coming soon!

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? LTAA Is!

    Be sure to follow LTAA on all of your favorite social networking sites.

    To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    LTAA Column in SEMA Member News

    Read LTAA's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.

    For more information about LTAA, contact Jim Skelly.

    Back to Top

    MPMC Logo  
    Visit MPMC's website.  

    How MPMC Membership Can Benefit Your Motorsports Business

    Does your company manufacture parts used in sanctioned motorsports events? The Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC)—a SEMA
    council—provides a number of benefits to its more than 200 member

    Benefits include access to a best practices reference guide dedicated to
    common manufacturing business questions, contact information for more
    than 200 fellow motorsports parts manufacturers and an opportunity to
    have three days of 30-minute meetings with editors from print and
    electronic media.

      mpmc, motorsports

    MPMC members produced the “Business of Engine Building” seminar at the
    2011 PRI Show in Orlando. 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. Have an
    idea for another seminar topic? Join MPMC now and help make it happen!


    Four Reasons to Join the MPMC:

    • Business Guidelines Manual: Written, produced and designed
      specifically for performance product manufacturers, the manual addresses
      the many challenges faced by manufacturing companies like yours.
      Definitions, resources, options, examples and even sample documents are
      included in the various sections. Each section is written and formatted
      for quick and easy referencing. Topics include bar coding, catalogs,
      counterfeiting, electronic data exchange, freight policies and much
      more. The manual is available for download or viewing, but only to MPMC
      members, through the SEMA Education Institute (SEI) MPMC Education Track.
    • Media Trade Conference: Another opportunity unique to MPMC, and available only to MPMC-member companies, is the MPMC Media Trade Conference (MTC).
      The MTC brings 100 MPMC manufacturers together with 200+ editorial
      staff from national and international media for three days of 30-minute,
      face-to-face meetings to discuss editorial content. Space is limited
      each year to 100 manufacturers, selected via lottery, but only MPMC
      members have the opportunity to participate.
    • Industry Outreach: MPMC members work with other industry
      contacts to produce seminars, panel discussions and events for the
      benefit of not only fellow manufacturers, but the shop owners and
      consumers who ultimately use their products. This past year at the PRI
      Show in Orlando, Florida, MPMC hosted a two-hour discussion in which six
      of the most renowned engine builders in the country shared their
      business experiences with an audience of 150+ shop owners and aspiring
      engine builders.
    • Networking: MPMC hosts various events throughout the year to
      further promote relationship building. A networking breakfast at the
      U.S. Nationals and a Hall of Fame Breakfast at the PRI Show are examples
      of how MPMC works to bring manufacturers together with media and other
      industry colleagues. In addition to meetings with the media, the Media
      Trade Conference also offers two evening receptions, lunches and break
      periods that present myriad networking opportunities.

    MPMC is the only SEMA council dedicated specifically to manufacturing
    companies. If you are not already a member, there is no better time
    to join than right now. Membership is only $100 annually and an application is available on the MPMC website.

    Contact MPMC’s staff liaison Jim Skelly at for more information.

    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 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.

    Back to Top

    MRC Logo  
    Visit MRC's website.  

    Why Using a Manufacturers' Rep May Be the Right Move for Your Company

    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 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.

    For information about MRC, contact Zane Clark.

    Back to Top


    PRO Logo  
    Visit PRO's website.  

    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 and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    PRO Column in SEMA Member News

    Read PRO's column featured in the March/April issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about PRO, contact Zane Clark or call 909/978-6696.

    Back to Top

    SBN Logo  
    Visit SBN's website.  

    Connect to the Fastest Growing Committee—the SEMA Businesswomen Network

    The SEMA Businesswomen Network (SBN) welcomes both women and men who work for a SEMA-member company to join the committee. Along with the benefit of joining a community of prominent industry leaders, members in the SBN offers several distinct advantages:

    Networking: The SBN offers access to more than 300 members, largely composed of women who understand the challenges and advantages for working in the automotive specialty-equipment industry. Via exclusive invitations to SBN mixers at industry events and SBN events at the SEMA Show, such as the Speed Networking Breakfast, members have the opportunity to network with key influencers in the industry.

    Recognition: Established in 1994, the SBN Awards have become the premier honor for recognition of industry veterans who have volunteered their personal and professional time to contribute to women in the automotive aftermarket. Also, through SBN’s Member of the Month (MoM) spotlight, select women are highlighted for acting as trendsetters in the industry. MoM spotlights receive the honor of being featured in SEMA eNews with a subscription of more than 150,000 recipients, along with a feature on the SEMA website.

    SEMA Show: The SBN offers members the ideal opportunity to become actively engaged in SEMA via volunteering time to help with SBN-sponsored events. Events featured throughout the week include the Speed Networking Breakfast, Café SEMA, and the Gear-up Girl, which act as a great medium to enhance professional growth, networking and business leads.

    There is no cost to join SBN, just many opportunities to meet other women in the industry who are as equally committed to professional growth as you are. Join the SBN now!

    You Ought to Be in Pictures!

    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, 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 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 and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    SBN Column in SEMA Member News

    Read SBN's column featured in the March/April issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about SBN, contact Bryan Harrison.

    Back to Top

    SPC Logo  
    Visit SPC's website.  

    Find the Business Possibilities Through the SPC

    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 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.

    For information about SPC, contact Bryan Harrison.

    Back to Top

    WTC Logo  
    Visit WTC's website

    Wheel and Tire Professionals Discuss State of the Industry at SEMA Headquarters

    Wheel and tire professionals gathered at SEMA Headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, for an open discussion to help guide the strategic direction of SEMA’s Wheel and Tire Council (WTC). “The meeting was full of awesome information, especially for someone like me who fields dozens of phone calls from the enthusiast up to the highest levels of purchasing,” shared Blake Warner of Primax Wheel Corp.

      Wheel and tire professionals gathered at SEMA Headquarters in Diamond
    Bar, California, for an open discussion to help guide the strategic
    direction of SEMA’s Wheel and Tire Council (WTC).

    Much of the conversation focused on continuing concerns revolving around tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), including their lifespan, the servicing of and opportunities for an additional revenue stream. In an attempt to help members better address TPMS, The WTC has made a webinar available through SEMA’s Education Institute (SEI) entitled, "TPMS 101: Identifying and Understanding the Opportunity," presented by Russ Fuller of Revolution Supply Co.

    Other topics included the Wheel and Tire Council's continuing effort to work with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) on wheel testing standard J2530. The WTC strongly supports the standard, but has concerns over the implementation of a conformance and registry program that could potentially increase the cost for aftermarket wheel manufacturers and ultimately extend the scope of the standard beyond it original purpose. At the same time, the WTC recognizes the importance of a voluntary testing mechanism that legitimizes the use thereof and addresses any misrepresentation of the standard.

    Based on the open discussion and in working with the Tire Industry Association (TIA), the WTC has also made it a priority to increase communication to its retail members in order to provide technical and sales training, as well as best practices that help improve consumer awareness. To help accomplish the Council’s agenda, the WTC Select Committee will make a concerted effort to solicit the participation and expertise of its general membership.

    To get involved, please email Zane Clark at or follow the Member Resource Pool link.

    Don't Miss WTC Long-Range Planning Meeting and Industry Discussion February 8

    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 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 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 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 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 and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    WTC Column in SEMA Member News

    Read WTC's column featured in the March/April issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about WTC and how to join, contact Zane Clark or call or 909/978-6696.

    Back to Top

    YEN Logo
    Visit YEN's website

    SEMA YEN Member of the Month Spotlight

    Mark Stek, Marketing Director, Kelderman Air Suspension Systems

    At age 35, Mark Stek, an Oskaloosa, Iowa, native, and Iowa State graduate, currently holds the position of marketing director for Kelderman Manufacturing. Also known to SEMA members as Kelderman Air Suspension Systems, Kelderman is a diverse and unique SEMA-member company that manufactures and fabricates everything, from agricultural parts to air suspension systems for a customer base that is as diverse as their products.

      yen, rampage jackson
      Mark Stek (left) with celebrity client Rampage Jackson.

    A 12-year veteran with Kelderman, Stek grew up around the automotive industry as the son of a hot rodder. He now applies a synergy of his sports marketing/management degree emphasis with his hot-rodding roots to foster relationships with celebrities and bring added value to both his company and his customers. We sat down with Stek to discuss his experiences working with VIP customers and how they may benefit other young executives in our industry.

    How did you get started with celebrity/VIP builds?

    The UFC's Rampage Jackson approached us a few years ago at the SEMA Show. He already had a lifted truck, but really wanted our suspension on it. Once the logistics were worked out, his truck came to our shop in Iowa and we totally transformed it. We created a video for YouTube that showed the build from beginning to end and that has really increased our exposure. Our celebrity clients, so far, all have reached out to us to receive our product.

    What’s the best part about developing this type of business?

    The best part about working with celebrity customers is that it is really a neat experience for all of our employees. When they visit our facility, everyone is eager to meet them and maybe get a picture and/or autograph. The guys we have worked with have been more than accommodating, which makes it a lot of fun.

    What do you find to be most difficult when working with this type of clientele?

    The most difficult part about working with celebrity customers is that their scheduling is very complex. Celebrities are often short on time on a fairly consistent basis. In Rampage’s case, he was training in the U.K. while we were working on his truck. He was coming back to the States for a couple of weeks to visit family, so we had a very small window of time in which the truck needed to be complete and he could visit our facility for the “reveal.” In other instances, you might be dealing with working around the end of a baseball season as was the case with Wes Helms. Being able to meet their schedule and their expectations are very challenging.

    How do you find and cultivate these types of contacts?

    We want the process to be as “organic” as possible. We know there are celebrities out there who like what we can offer, but maybe haven’t heard about us. Informing them about us is important so they can make a decision based on what they want rather than forcing it. We are confident that we have a great product and the satisfaction of our customers really speaks to that. We work closely with our outside PR agency (Martin & Co.) that, when necessary, can use their more appropriate contacts in order to help us develop a relationship between Kelderman and a particular celebrity.

    How do you utilize those relationships and builds in a positive way to impact customer interaction with your brand or products?

    We try to utilize the celebrity status of our customer in as many ways as possible to help promote our company. We had Rampage sign autographs at our SEMA Show booth in 2010. We have also included our celebrity customers in some of our promotional material, ads, website, Facebook, etc., in order to help people associate that celebrity with our brand.

    What benefit does Kelderman receive from working with celebrities?

    The benefit that our company receives from being associated with celebrities is that it increases credibility. When you consider the fact that they are able to have the best of the best and they choose your company, it says a lot. It also allows our products more exposure and the potential customers to associate a product they may be unfamiliar with to someone that they may already be familiar with.

    What advice would you offer to other YENsters looking to reach out to build these types of relationships either on their own or on behalf of their company?

    When doing anything to help grow a company, you must use every resource that is available to you to your fullest advantage. Developing relationships and trust will take time, so be patient.

    Are there any specific advantages that you feel the younger people in our industry may have when working with celebrity/VIP customers?
    Any disadvantages?

    A younger generation in the industry will have more experience with a younger, up-and-coming crowd of celebrities, so that will allow for a better understanding of the market to which that celebrity will appeal to. There is a good chance that a celebrity will be similar in age, so conversations about personal interests, family, etc., will even be easier.

    SEMA Young Executive Insight

    Ed Monte, Director of Sales, MSD Ignition

      ed monte, yen
      Ed Monte

    The consummate “nice guy,” Ed Monte has a reputation in the automotive aftermarket as one of the friendliest, most outgoing and positive people you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting. Having worked his way up from taking customer service calls to director of sales at MSD Ignition, Monte firmly believes in the value of hard work, maintaining a positive attitude and building relationships.

    Monte grew up in the Southwest and began riding Honda XR dirt bikes as a kid, exploring the desert and learning the terrain—a good primer for a budding desert racer. It also taught him to respect machinery. From there, he became interested in off-road racing, but focused on business in school knowing he’d need a real “day job” to support his passion for racing. After earning his business degree and working for a speed shop that specialized in desert racing, the Texas native got his first job out of college with MSD Ignition.

    Monte was hired as a jack-of-all-trades sales and marketing clerk, when he realized he was able to make a living talking about his passion—cars and trucks. Monte began making friends and building relationships, which grew into sales accounts and long-term partnerships. He worked his way up to director of sales—a position he still holds at MSD. We spent some time with Monte to learn more about his business philosophy—one we believe would benefit SEMA members of all ages.

    When did you first become interested in cars/trucks?

    When I was in school, I worked for a fellow who ran a paint and body shop by day, but went desert racing on the weekends. I’d spend my afternoons at the shop tearing down off-road cars and prepping them for the next trip. I had a limited amount of knowledge, but a great mentor in the shop owner who showed me how to set the welder up and pull a motor out of a VW Bug in 30 minutes. He also instructed me that a $500 Mac 4-ft. torque wrench wasn’t to be used as a breaker bar! I enjoyed the nitty-gritty work because at the end of the day, getting behind the wheel and shaking down our Class 1 car was a treat after doing all the work on it—and I looked forward to doing it the next weekend!

    What was your first project vehicle? What project vehicles do you own now?

    My first “real” project vehicle (not just a driver I fixed to go to class) was an early ’90s version of a Sand Cars Unlimited four-seat buggy. Before long-travel A-arm suspension cars came onto the scene, this was your traditional 112-in. beam axle car with a whopping 1835cc Type 1 VW motor. A small car by today’s standards, it was my next evolution in keeping the dust and dirt flying in my face, and I loved it. I currently drive a ’99 BFG Project Suburban, plus I have a four-seater play buggy, two XR 600s, a CRF450X and a ’72 El Camino loaded with MSD gear I use for car shows and cruises. I also have an F-150 Raptor that’s been to Barstow for the M.O.R.E. Powder Puff.

    You’ve been with MSD for a long time. Why stay with one company so long rather than jumping around?

    At MSD, it’s a pleasure to work with a team of people who enjoy doing what we all do. A majority of our staff has been with the company for a number of years. We represent a company that is well known in the industry for providing quality parts. That makes it easy for me to take the time to travel on the weekends for shows and races. When you work with neat people, it’s a good thing! You spend more hours at work than you do at home in most cases, so you should really find a job that makes you happy and co-workers whom you like to spend time with. It makes it that much easier to do a good job if you love your work.

    You worked your way up from a sales/marketing administrator to sales director. How did you get there?

    When I was first hired, my initial tasks were to fax (yup, remember faxing everyday?) and call our reps with the information we wanted to get out. We were shorthanded in sales and marketing, so basically I helped coordinate everything from inbound purchase orders to grabbing that one last part from shipping to get it out on a Red Label for a race team. Throughout the years, knowing how to get things handled internally helped when I started working more with the reps building account relationships. When things needed to be handled, I was the go-to guy. We pride ourselves on not letting things sit. I always try to help move things along. After a couple years, I started traveling on the show circuit in addition to working some of the off-road events. Once that started, I had the privilege of becoming the person who our accounts and reps could call on, and I try to always deliver. All you have in business is your word.

    What has been your biggest on-the-job challenge, and how did you deal with it?

    Certainly there are several, but I’d say the very first challenge was when I started doing the jobber shows. While I was excited to travel, I was a little apprehensive about how to interact with the accounts. Not so much the public in general; I knew I could answer the consumer questions and also learn. I had freaked myself out by listening to the guys who had been on the road a lot, especially at NHRA events where the customers are only comfortable talking with their “one guy.” I thought the same when I started to do visits with our customers. Luckily, I figured out that all you can do is put your best foot forward and find out “what can I do for you?” You end up proving yourself, as yourself.

    What is your proudest on-the-job moment?

    I’d hate to sound too simplistic, but I’m pretty happy when I’m flying home from the SEMA Show, PRI, or any show or race where I’ve been able to be productive. It’s satisfying knowing you’ve given 100% and a great feeling when that last customer of the day thanks you for a job well done or appreciates the help.

    Monte’s Top 10 Rules for Success in Sales:

    10. Maintaining relationships is priority #1—try to be friendly with everyone you meet.
    9. Always be honest and straightforward with customers, co-workers and yourself.
    8. Know what you’re talking about.
    7. Keep things in perspective—take every problem one step at a time.
    6. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes—“how can I help you?”
    5. Go into every situation with an open mind. Avoid pre-conceived notions.
    4. Don’t be negative; always look forward.
    3. Listen to people and be genuine. Don’t just wait for a turn to talk.
    2. In our market, people don’t “need” our parts; they want them. Explain what you can do for them.
    1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Customers can tell when someone knows their stuff and when they don’t. Whether setting up a booth or talking to a customer, don’t “b.s.” people if you don’t know what to do. Ask. Learn.

    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 Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA). He was honored as SEMA’s Person of the Year in 2010.

    Join YEN

    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

    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

    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 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.

    For information about YEN, contact Bryan Harrison.

    Back to Top

    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

Spy Shots

  • future vehicles, spy photos, car spy shots, Chevrolet Spark

    The shooters at Brenda Priddy & Co. report that Chevrolet is finishing testing and gearing up for production of the long-awaited Spark EV. The team caught these photos of a U.S. spec Spark at a local car wash.

    The ultra-clean Spark seen here has a new front fascia, which includes a new grille and freshened fog lamps, and sports a charging port in front of the driver's door.

    Priddy's best guess for an on-sale date is early 2013, with a model-year designation of 2014.

    future vehicles, spy photos, car spy shots, Chevrolet Spark

    Photo: Eugene Sergienko for Brenda Priddy & Co.