By Amanda Gubbins
Rich Barsamian, chair-elect of the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) and Brian Reese, chair of the Emerging Trends and Technology Network (ETTN), were elected to the Council-Board Leadership Committee (CBLC) at last week’s Council Leadership Summit in Pomona, California.
The CBLC is an important component of efforts by the Board in the last year to improve collaboration and communication with the councils. Paul “Scooter” Brothers, former chair of SEMA’s Board of Directors, was instrumental in forming the committee a year ago and is pleased with the progress thus far.
“The councils now have direct, active participation with the Board. The first thing the committee did was increase transparency. The Board is talking and listening, and the councils are talking and listening,” he explains. “I think the councils feel more empowered now.”
As committee members, Barsamian and Reese will attend SEMA Board of Directors meetings to represent the councils and networks and will also have the chance to communicate the Board’s goals and vision back to SEMA’s volunteer leadership. “I wanted to join the committee because I see how much the Board and the councils are working together and how much has been achieved in the last year,” says Barsamian.
One of the outcomes of this collaboration has been increased council interest in supporting the Board’s strategic initiatives. An example is how readily the councils have embraced programs focusing on education. The Manufacturer’s Representative Network (MRN) has worked with the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) to develop a web-based educational program, the Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) has supported Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research, and other councils have partnered with the SEMA Garage and SEMA Education Institute (SEI) to offer exclusive benefits to members, such as Measuring Sessions and webinars.
George Lathouris termed out as Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) chair and CBLC member, July 1. While on the committee, Lathouris says he learned some valuable lessons about the collaboration process. “When you’re the liaison between groups, you need to exercise an extreme amount of patience, stay on task and be repetitive,” he says.
Members of the Board and council leadership acknowledge there is still work to be done, but ultimately feel the CBLC has helped foster unity. Feedback from all sides has been positive, and the newly elected committee members hope to continue strengthening these important relationships.
“It’s important everyone feels as though their voices are being heard. I ultimately want to build more cross-collaboration between the councils, networks and Board,” says Barsamian. “I think that should be our biggest goal for the year.”