By Della Domingo
George Barris, Eric Grant, Wade Kawasaki and Joe Schubeck will be inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame—an honor that recognizes an elite group of individuals for raising the stature or growth of the automotive specialty-equipment industry.
Hundreds of industry professionals will gather and pay tribute to the new Hall of Fame members during the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, Friday, July 26, at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California. Those interested in learning more about the celebration or how to attend may contact Jamie Eriksen at firstname.lastname@example.org, 909-978-6737.
The 2013 inductees include:
George Barris: A legendary vehicle customizer, well-known for his celebrity creations that include the Batmobile, Munster Koach, KITT from "Knight Rider" and the "Dukes of Hazzard’s" General Lee.
In addition to building vehicles, Barris authored many “how to” articles for magazines, such as Hot Rod, Motor Trend, Car Craft and Rod & Custom.
As a pioneer and icon in the industry, Barris continues to actively influence the industry’s styles and trends. A regular attendee at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Barris is admired and respected by many in the industry.
Eric Grant: When issues such as clean air and emissions began to arise in the ’60s, SEMA turned to Eric Grant for guidance. At the time, Grant represented the government agency that eventually evolved to be the California Air Resources Board.
Grant met with SEMA members and advised them about the situation, so much so that Grant became an ally for the association and eventually came to serve as SEMA’s executive director. As the association’s executive director, Grant was instrumental in advocating for the specialty-equipment industry and helping to solve a number of industry compliance issues.
Wade Kawasaki: During his 30-year career, Kawasaki has volunteered and contributed to dozens of SEMA projects. In addition to serving several terms on the SEMA Board of Directors, Kawasaki is a past chairman for the SEMA Show Committee, Governance Committee, International Task Force and Audit Review Committee. He was instrumental in the creation of the SEMA Political Action Committee (PAC) and the SEMA Young Executives Network (YEN), and he served as the association’s secretary/treasurer working alongside the Board of Directors.
His SEMA Hall of Fame induction follows a number of honors that have been bestowed upon him, including 1996 SEMA Young Executive of the Year, 2003 SEMA Chairman’s Service Award recipient and 2007 SEMA Person of the Year.
Joe Schubeck: Known by many as “Gentleman Joe,” Schubeck began his top-fuel racing career in the ’60s. While he spent many years successfully racing, his greatest contribution to the industry came during his post-racing career.
Schubeck founded Lakewood Industries, which manufactured life-saving racing products, such as the bell housing that many continue to refer to simply as the “Lakewood.”
Schubeck was a former SEMA Board member and served on the association’s first Safety Committee. An avid enthusiast and contributor to the industry, he continues to attend the SEMA Show annually.
For more information about the SEMA Hall of Fame, visit www.sema.org/hof.