|Visit PRO's website.|
Last week, leaders in the restyling, accessory and mobile electronics industries met in Detroit for the Professional Restylers Organization’s (PRO) Long-Range Planning Meeting. Over a two-day period, the group of more than 20 individuals was asked to take off their company hats and work together in order to outline the council’s priorities over the next two to three years. With a goal of addressing business needs and strategically moving the restyling industry forward, those in attendance participated in thoughtful discussions and focused break-out sessions.
Throughout these discussions, a few reoccurring issues rose to the top. In response, PRO has established two new groups:
- OEM Relations Committee: To establish and maintain dialogue with the OEMs and SEMA on issues related to the restyling segment.
- Future Trends Task Force: To create a platform for restylers and manufacturers to share information on the restyling segment’s future trends and/or product needs.
To get learn more, get involved or participate in one of these groups, contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696.
SEMA and PRO would like to thank the following companies for their participation:
- Advantage Truck Accessories
- Auto Additions
- Auto Trim of Cleveland
- Check Corporation
- Daystar Products
- Driven Sales
- EMK Marketing
- Graphic Mart
- ICI – Innovative Creations Inc.
- Katzkin Leather
- Meyer Distributing
- Pecca Leather
- Restyling magazine
- Retro USA
- Rosen Entertainment
- Tops & Trends
- Webasto Product North America
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? PRO Is!
Be sure to follow PRO on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/pro and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
PRO Column in SEMA Member News
Read PRO's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit ARMO's website.|
|The weather was cool at Spring Carlisle, but enthusiasts found the hottest new restoration products inside the ARMO New Products Showcase tent. The event took place on April 26–29, 2012, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.|
ARMO New Products Photo Gallery
Photos of the products that were on display at the 2012 ARMO New Products Showcase are now available for viewing in the ARMO New Products Showcase Gallery on the ARMO website. More than 45 products were featured in this year’s Showcase from the following ARMO-member companies:
- Auto Custom Carpets
- American Autowire
- Axion Power Battery Manufacturing
- California Pony Cars
- Fairchild Industries
- The Filling Station
- Hellwig Industries
- Legendary Auto Interiors
- Metro Moulded Parts
- Parts Unlimited Interiors
- Quanta Products
- REM Automotive
- Shafers Classic Reproductions
- Specialty Auto Parts
- Steele Rubber Products
- Vintage Air
- Year One
ARMO Supports Collector Car Appreciation Day
ARMO-member companies across the country will join hobbyists and enthusiasts July 13, 2012, in celebrating the third annual Collector Car Appreciation Day (CCAD). A celebration can be a simple invitation to employees to drive their collector car to work that day. Go to the SAN website for a list of planned CCAD events and to add your own to the celebration.
Is your business involved in the restoration segment and not yet an ARMO member? In addition to direct access with its 275 restoration company members, the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) provides a number of other benefits, including 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.
Contact ARMO’s staff liaison Jim Skelly at email@example.com for more information.
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).
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 www.sema.org/armo and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
ARMO Column in SEMA Member News
Read ARMO's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit HRIA's website|
|Bubba from Bubba’s Rod & Customs working on his Pinewood design.|
Twenty hot-rod and custom car builders have signed up to participate in
the annual HRIA Pinewood Builders Challenge. Each builder will create a
one-of-a-kind Pinewood car that will be raced at the Pinewood Drag Races, presented by eBay Motors, in Pomona, California, July 27, 2012. After being raced, the cars will be placed on display in the SEMA Cares booth at the SEMA Show in November and auctioned on eBay during the Show. All proceeds from the Pinewood car auctions will go to the Childhelp and Victory Junction Camp
children's charities. This year, top builders participating in the
challenge include Troy Trepanier, Rich Evans, Ringbrothers, Jesse
Greening, Tim Strange and Troy Ladd.
Complete list of builders to date:
|B Rod Or Custom||Larry Burchette|
|BS Industries||Bodie Stroud|
|Bubba's Rods & Customs||Tom Lloyd|
|Fast Lane Hot Rods||Dave Lane|
|Good Guys||Ed Capen|
|Goolsby Customs||Josh Hennning|
|Greening Auto Co.||Jessie Greening|
|Hollywood Hot Rods||Troy Ladd|
|Hot Rod Chassis & Cycle||Kevin Tulley|
|Johnny's Auto Trim||John Martin|
|Kaucher Kustoms||Keith Kaucher|
|Lokar Inc.||Jeff McClure|
|No Joke Upholstery||Noah Howard|
|Performance Coachworks||Derrek Johnson|
|Rad Rides by Troy||Troy Trepanier|
|Rich Evans Designs||Rich Evans|
|Spankys Hot Rods||Mike Cooper|
|Spitzer Concepts||Mike Spitzer|
|Strange Motion||Tim Strange|
|Street Vizions||Derek White|
To participate, contact
Eric Saltrick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-483-9343 for more information.
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 (email@example.com).
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? HRIA is!
Be sure to follow HRIA on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/hria and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
HRIA Column in SEMA Member News
Read HRIA's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit LTAA's website.|
Registration is now open for the third annual LTAA New Products Showcase in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, August 3–5, 2012. LTAA-member companies may register online from the LTAA website. The annual LTAA New Products Showcase at the Truck Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, puts LTAA-member products on display in front of one of the largest gatherings of truck enthusiasts in the country. Product photographs are displayed at the SEMA Show and in a gallery on the LTAA website. Don’t miss out on this valuable LTAA-member benefit, register online today.
New products from LTAA-member companies are spotlighted in front of one of the largest light truck enthusiast gatherings in the country at the Truck Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, August 3–5, 2012.
More Reasons to Join LTAA
With roots that go back to the early 1980s, when it was known as the
Truck Cap Industry Alliance (TCIA), LTAA members enjoy a true sense of
community. In addition, the council continues a long tradition of
providing useable solutions that drive education and growth for their
member companies in the light truck accessories market. If your company is in this segment of the industry and is not yet an LTAA member, there is no better time to join.
- Education and Training: The LTAA eLearning track section of the SEMA Education Institute (SEI) hosts several handy tools for installers and retailers, including the Pickup Bed Dimensions Reference Chart and the Keyless Entry and Center High Mounted Stop Light (CHMSL) Wiring Guides. These guides provide a quick and easy one-stop shop for obtaining critical measurements or wiring pickup points. There is also a video explaining why paint colors may vary from truck to truck, even when comparing similar makes, models and years. Manufacturers and retailers alike will soon benefit from the online Manufacturer Product Training on SEI. These training modules will deliver critical information on products in a consistent format and include testing and tracking.
- Networking: Throughout the year, LTAA strives to communicate with its members through eNews, SEMA News and social media. A large presence on the SEMA Show floor provides members and non-members alike with a place to meet and communicate during the Show. The LTAA Industry Reception at the SEMA Show, featuring the LTAA Fall Nationals Pinewood Drag Races, is recognized as one of the premier light truck accessory industry events of the year. Through the LTAA Show booth and Fall Nationals Pinewood Drags, in 2011, LTAA members helped raise more than $11,000 for the SEMA Cares charity.
For more information on LTAA membership, contact Jim Skelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 www.sema.org/ltaa and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
LTAA Column in SEMA Member News
Read LTAA's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit MPMC's website.|
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
MPMC members produced the “Business of Engine Building” seminar at the
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 also 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
- 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 email@example.com 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 www.sema.org/mpmc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
Take a Friend to a Race Fan Page
The MPMC Motorsports Awareness campaign, highlighted by the Take a Friend to a Race program, now has its very own Fanpage on Facebook. If you’re not a fan yet, you should be!
MPMC Column in SEMA Member News
Read MPMC's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.
For information about MPMC, contact Jim Skelly.
|Visit MRC's website.|
Here are the top 10 reasons why your company should use a rep:
1. Results Driven. Our success is your success. Reps are highly motivated to sell your products because they make money when you sell products.
2. Cost Effective. Better utilize your time and resources. Minimize the labor and travel expenses of hiring your own employees.
3. Territory Expansion. You get the instant benefits of territory and customer knowledge that takes years to learn.
4. Relationships. Reps already know companies with whom you want
to do business. Take advantage of strong, pre-existing relationships
that have been cultivated through trust and action.
5. Quick. Hiring a rep is quickest way to get results and to get your “feet on the ground” selling.
6. Access. Your products and services will have better exposure with your customers because reps are already doing business with them.
7. Sales Calls. Focused and increased face-to-face time with your customers equals greater sales.
8. Training. Field training and professional development sets
reps apart. Reps will educate your customers about the features and
benefits of your programs and services.
9. Feedback. Get instant and accurate feedback on your products and programs.
10. Industry Knowledge. Receive an insider’s perspective that allows you a clearer understanding of the “ins and outs” of your industry.
Interested? Want to know more? The SEMA Manufacturers' Rep Council (MRC) can answer your questions and share more reasons why hiring an Independent sales rep may make sense for your company.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? MRC is!
Be sure to follow MRC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/mrc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
MRC Column in SEMA Member News
Read MRC's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit SBN's website.|
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 www.SEMA.org, click on the Leadership tab, click on Council/Committee, click on SBN and join! Don't delay—get involved and join now. You are just a few clicks away! We look forward to "seeing" everyone!
Don’t Be Out of the Loop—Stay in Touch
The very best way to stay in touch and to read the latest news, discussions and topics posted from SEMA and the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) is to make sure that your notification settings are turned on in your MySEMA account. Next to your photo on your MySEMA page, at the top right, is a link to the "Edit My Settings" page.
On the “settings” page, look for the “notifications” tab, where it will ask how you would like to receive your news. Check whichever method is most convenient, but either way, make sure you're in the loop by turning “on” your notifications. Visit http://my.sema.org to make sure you don’t miss a thing!
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? SBN is!
Be sure to follow SBN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/sbn and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
SBN Column in SEMA Member News
Read SBN's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit SPC's website.|
Participate in the automotive aftermarket at a whole new level by joining the SPC.
The purpose of SEMA councils is to help our member companies succeed
and prosper. In the SPC, our mission is to provide market information,
education and support to our members concerning new and emerging
trends. Whether it’s the latest business technology, forecasting sales,
future marketing solutions or up and coming vehicle platforms, we give
you and your company the chance to see what’s on the horizon.
Then we’ll help you understand and acquire the skills, tools and
technologies to lead the way. The SPC has the most diverse membership
of any SEMA council, and that will allow you to network with other
professionals from every facet of our industry and gain insights into
areas you may not have previously considered. Find out about the parts,
people, technologies, strategies, trends and, most important,
This is your chance to give something back to the industry, your
profession and to grow personally along the way. Join the SPC today and
become an active member of the specialty equipment and automotive
market — Tracie Nuñez, Advanced Clutch Technology, SPC Chairman
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? SPC is!
Be sure to follow SPC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/spc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
SPC Column in SEMA Member News
Read SPC's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit WTC's website|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. The SEMA Show in Las Vegas provides the backdrop for critical networking functions. This group focuses on making WTC’s awards reception an ideal place to get together, honor one another and network with all those who share a common passion.
There are so many other things the council leadership does throughout the year. You are the expert at what your business needs and this council wants to deliver. Feel free to get in touch with us or come to one of our WTC events. Our hope is that, if you haven’t been a part of WTC yet, you will be in 2010 and beyond.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? WTC is!
Be sure to follow WTC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/wtc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
WTC Column in SEMA Member News
Read WTC's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit YEN's website
“Balancing Work and Life While Building a Career in a Fast-Paced Industry”
We’ve all heard the saying, “Do what you love and never work another day in your life.” Not only has Eric Schumacher heard that timeless piece of advice, but he's also acted upon it and today has built a successful career in the automotive aftermarket. For the past six years, Schumacher has lived his dream as executive producer and founding member of Power AutoMedia—a young, but successful, digital media and video production company. In this “dream” position, Schumacher has been able to successfully combine his love for all things automotive and creative design.
The Temecula, California, resident has a unique perspective that has been shaped by the tenuous start-up years of Power AutoMedia, which was a true pioneer of digital media within the automotive aftermarket, while trying to successfully balance being a devoted father and husband. At 36, Schumacher has done what many never achieve in a lifetime—he has built a solid career in an industry that he is truly passionate about.
We recently spent some time with Schumacher, discussing a variety of topics that we thought fellow SEMA Young Executives Network (YEN) members would be interested in, especially his take on achieving a work/life balance—a subject that traditionally challenges young professionals.
In your experience, what’s the most challenging part of working in the automotive aftermarket industry? What’s been the most rewarding part of working in this industry?
Not being able to own all the cool vehicles I come into contact with is definitely the most challenging part [laughs]. In all seriousness, I think the most challenging part of working in this industry is keeping balance in your life so your work doesn’t overwhelm your automotive hobby/passion. Almost everyone in this industry got involved because they loved cars. Unfortunately, some people lose that passion along the way, and their work turns into just a job.
I really enjoy knowing the product that our team produces is impacting hundreds of thousands of people in a positive way. I’m very passionate about automobiles, and I love sharing that passion with others. My chosen form of expressing that passion just happens to be video and creative digital media channels.
Do you think the demands of working in this industry are tougher than other more traditional jobs?
It’s really hard for me to say because I’ve never worked a career-level job outside this industry. What I do know is that this industry can be very fast paced, even during times of the year when most people with normal jobs are on cruise control (November and December). In my line of work, deadlines are an ever-present part of the job, and it takes a certain type of personality to manage those demands. To me, one of the real upsides to this industry is that it seems a young person with talent and a strong work ethic can still rise to the top pretty easily.
How do you personally balance business travel, tight deadlines and family time?
Most importantly, I have a good support system at home, which is the foundation that makes it possible. I’m very fortunate to have an awesome wife who is very understanding about the passion I have for automobiles and consequently my work. She’s my backbone and supports me 100%, no matter how many late nights it takes to get the job done. She’s very focused and passionate about raising our son, which gives me the peace of mind to focus on my work during the day. Being a creative-type personality, it’s extremely important to have the right mindset in order to do my best work and be innovative. Thankfully, I have a wonderful family life that motivates me to do great work and push myself to get better each day.
What’s your strategy for staying energized and focused in an industry that has been known to burn people out?
My internal desire to do creative work and, of course, a love for cars. If you really love what you do, I find that it’s easy to get up and go to work every day. In addition, I really enjoy and thrive on the variety that I have in my position. Each day seems to bring something new. That’s been a great part of working for a small, growing company; we’re always doing things for the first time and breaking new ground. That variety keeps each day exciting.
Are you ever able to completely unplug from work and the industry? How has technology changed your answer to this question over the past 10 years?
Not really, but it doesn’t create a problem for me. Technology has definitely changed things since you pretty much have access to work communication channels at all times now. But I believe people can either make technology work “for” or “against” them. Ultimately, it’s up to us to make sure we control it rather than the other way around. Spending time with my wife and four-year-old son gives me that separation from work that I need to stay energized. You’ve just got to make a conscious decision to separate the two and be 100% there and engaged with your family when you’re not at work. Balance is the key, and you have to continuously work to achieve it.
What advice would you give a young person considering a career in the automotive aftermarket?
It’s a lot of hard work and dedication, but the reward is high if you’re doing what you love. Find a stable company that you believe in, and do whatever it takes to learn. Seek out the leaders of the company, and ask lots of questions. Don’t be “that young guy” who comes onboard and on his second day on the job is telling everyone that will listen a better way to do everything. Focus on building relationships; you’ll be surprised at how valuable those relationships will turn out to be down the road.
If you’re not a car person, I think your odds of building a career in this industry are 50/50 at best. I suggest you would be better served to go work in an industry that you are passionate about.
Do you have any personal automotive projects? What’s your all-time dream car, if money was no object?
I’m on my third Fox Body Mustang Coupe. I’m converting it to an open-track/weekend vehicle. I look forward to the days ahead when it becomes a real father/son project. My son is really getting into cars as he gets older; the kid can already name a lot of classic cars from memory. I remember being a grade-school kid sketching cars on the back of my notebooks, and I suspect my son will probably be the same way.
No doubt about my dream car: it’s a C6 Z06 Corvette. I love that car and someday hope to own one (or more)!
What do you think are the greatest challenges facing our industry?
I think one of the greatest challenges for our industry is staying on the cutting edge of technology. I think our industry has always lagged a small step behind the technology curve. But I think that’s changing rapidly as we look for ways to be smarter and more efficient. The more technology we as an industry incorporate into our businesses, marketing and products, the better off our industry will be in the long run. Living in California, I can’t help but to also keep an eye on some of the government regulations that affect the industry. However, I have no doubt that the industry will adapt and innovate regardless of what happens on the legislative front. One thing I know about this industry is that we are a resilient group.
From a business perspective, is there someone that you look up to or seek out for guidance?
Definitely it’s James Lawrence, CEO of Power AutoMedia. I’ve been alongside James since our days at Promedia Publishing, and he’s always been a mentor and role model to me. James is an innovator and someone who answers the call everyday with unwavering enthusiasm. Without a doubt, he’s the reason I’m where I am today in my career—doing what I love to do!
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.
you know that the SEMA Young Executives Network has more than 500
members networking in the industry and is the largest SEMA committee?
If you are employed by a SEMA-member company and are under the age of
39, then you can join the SEMA Young Executives Network for FREE. If
you are interested in becoming part of the team, please visit our
website at www.sema.org/yen.
YEN Member of the Month Spotlight
Did you know that YEN has a Member of the Month Spotlight on the SEMA
website and that anyone can be nominated? To view previous selections
or to make a nomination, visit www.sema.org/yen.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? YEN is!
Be sure to follow YEN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/yen and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
YEN Column in SEMA Member News
Read YEN's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.
Join the SEMA Council Family
SEMA hosts 10 distinct councils and committees that represent
focused niches within the specialty-equipment industry. These groups
are comprised of elected volunteers (Select Committee) who guide and
direct council activities while representing the membership at large.
Although each council acts independently and represents a different
segment, they are all focused on the betterment of the industry as a
The value councils provide SEMA and the industry is beyond refute.
It is inspiring to witness a diverse collection of company
representatives, many of which are direct competitors, come together
and develop educational, training, youth awareness and networking
events that are, at the core, designed to give back and promote
business. An equally important council function is to ensure that
SEMA sustains a pulse on the industry and maintains a
presence with its members.
The question is often asked, “Why should my company join a council?”
The answer is simple. SEMA councils open the doors and provide you
exposure to industry leaders, decision makers, trendsetters and a
community of like-minded individuals who share your passion and desire
to see business succeed and prosper. Once the doors are open, it is your
responsibility to take advantage of the benefits by becoming actively
Learn more today.