SEMA eNews Vol. 16, No. 51, December 19, 2013

Movers & Shakers: MSD Performance Group Acquired by Hot Rod Brands; Toyo's Jim Hawk Named Rubber Industry Executive of the Year

MSD Performance Group Acquired by Hot Rod Brands LLC
MSD Performance Group (MSDP)—seller of products under the MSD, Racepak, Powerteq, Edge and Superchips brands—announced that the company was acquired by Hot Rod Brands LLC, an affiliate of Z Capital Partners LLC. Z Capital is a private equity firm with approximately $1.2 billion of regulatory assets and committed capital with offices in Lake Forest, Illinois and New York, New York. The firm specializes in investing in companies with a strong product line and top tier brand recognition. The group leverages its operational expertise in actively working with the management teams of their portfolio companies to enhance enterprise value.

"We are excited to add MSDP to the Z Capital portfolio of companies and believe it to be a terrific growth platform. We will work with the management team to continue to be a market leader and deliver cutting-edge products to our loyal customer base. MSDP represents substantial brands within the performance segment, and we look forward to further solidifying and growing that brand recognition," said James J. Zenni, president and Chief Executive Officer of Z Capital.

MSD Performance looks forward to the future as the combination of a stronger balance sheet and focused ownership will allow for an even greater ability to serve consumers with exciting new products and technology. In recent years MSD Performance has expanded its portfolio of products and technology, including the award-winning Atomic brand Fuel Injection systems, Flashcal brand Jeep hand-held programmer, Vigilante brand Harley tuning products and this year's SEMA Show introduction of Brainwave, the new Vehicle Management Network that allows aftermarket components to utilize a common technology platform for complete vehicle communication.

  Hot Rodders of Tomorrow
Team Moroso from Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center in Choctaw, Oklahoma, won the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow National Championship at the PRI Trade Show in Indianapolis.
   

Hot Rodders of Tomorrow National Champions: Team Moroso, Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center
Team Moroso, from Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center in Choctaw, Oklahoma, defeated 22 other schools from across the nation to win the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow National Championship at the PRI Trade Show in Indianapolis.

School instructor Jim LaFevers tutored a six-student group that broke the event’s national record in breaking down and then re-assembling a V8 engine in 18 minutes, 43 seconds. The team was composed of Callie Hunter, Ryan Campbell, Alexander Versteeg, Connor Hixenbaugh, Connor Carrizales and Nicholas Brown. In total, 23 schools from around the nation qualified for the event at regional competitions.  This year’s Hot Rodders of Tomorrow National Championships saw schools qualify from California to Virginia.

“We had a really exciting time. PRI was a perfect host, and we absolutely loved being here,” said Rodney Bingham of Hot Rodders of Tomorrow. “The kids did an amazing job and our program offers more than $2 million in scholarships. No student here will get less than $15,000 worth of scholarships and some will receive more than $30,000 per student.”

Axalta Coating Systems Selected for Beijing Subway Restoration Project
Axalta Coating Systems announced that the company was selected in November for a project to coat the recently refurbished trains of the Beijing subway. The refurbished trains—300 rail cars in total—is nicknamed ‘Blue Cat’ for its distinctive blue color coating provided by Axalta’s product and striking similarity to a cat. “Axalta prides itself on producing coatings designed to retain brilliant color and gloss while withstanding the forces of nature and frequent users. Our Rail coatings will help Beijing’s subway systems  retain its colorful finish for many years to come,” commented Weiguo Lu, director of Industrial Coatings Business, Axalta Greater China.

  Jim Hawk, Toyo Tire
Jim Hawk, chairman of Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. (TTHA) and president of Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc. (TNA), was named Rubber Industry Executive of the Year by Rubber & Plastics News.
   

Jim Hawk Named Rubber Industry Executive of the Year
Jim Hawk, chairman of Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. (TTHA) and president of Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc. (TNA), was named Rubber Industry Executive of the Year by Rubber & Plastics News. The award is presented to an executive in the North American rubber product industry who has led his or her company to success and helped further the industry. Hawk was selected for the award by the editorial staff of Rubber & Plastics News, considering nominations from both the editorial staff and from those in the industry. A veteran of the tire industry, Hawk joined TNA as vice president of operations in 2004 and oversaw the construction and opening of the company’s state-of-the-art factory in Bartow County, Georgia. In 2008, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, appointed Hawk to serve as a corporate officer of the company.  Hawk became the first non-Japanese corporate officer to serve since the company was founded in 1945. In addition to the appointment, Hawk was promoted to president and plant manager of TNA.

Under Hawk’s guidance, TNA was named Georgia Manufacturer of the Year by the state of Georgia in 2009. The facility has also undergone three expansions and is currently 2,000,000 sq. ft. in size while employing 1,000 people. A recent groundbreaking ceremony paves the way for yet another expansion and hiring project.

In 2012, Hawk was appointed Chairman of TTHA, headquartered in Cypress, California. Hawk and TTHA president, Tomoshige Mizutani, oversee Toyo Tires’ North America Business Unit (NABU) which includes: TTHA, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp., Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc., Toyo Tire Canada Inc., Nitto Tire Canada Inc., Toyo Tire North America OE Sales LLC and TNA.

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