SEMA eNews Vol. 18, No. 19, May 7, 2015

Council & Network News: Planning the Future of the Restyling and Accessory Industry

Strengthen Your Company Through Community

No matter what niche you're in—rods, restoration, racing, restyling, reps, trucks or wheels and tires—there's a SEMA council or professional network that's right for your company. SEMA councils and networks offer members a variety of market-specific programs and activities designed to provide educational and networking opportunities while promoting their particular industry segment.



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Planning the Future of the Restyling and Accessory Industry

Leaders of the restyling and accessory world will converge in Detroit, June 18–19, 2015, to plan for the future. Join the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) for its Long-Range Planning meeting and industry discussion. The Detroit Metro Airport Marriott will play host as leading manufacturers, WDs, installers and restyling professionals discuss the future of the industry and develop strategies that SEMA and the PRO Select Committee will use in addressing the challenges and opportunities confronting your business.

Your insight and perspective is critical. Whether your business has been impacted by new trends in auto sales and discretionary spending, vehicle technology, installation concerns or if there is a need to identify markets for expansion, your business will benefit by being in the room when these, and other, topics are discussed.

The meeting is open to all employees of PRO-member companies, and those interested in joining PRO. Register now to be a part of the discussion. Traveling from out of town? Contact us for quality hotel options in the area. Not able to attend but want to stay involved? Contact Clayton Drescher at 909-978-6696 for more information.

Restylers: Add a New Resource to Your Business Toolkit

The Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) has released another tool for restylers to keep handy. The Vehicle Accessorization flyer is designed to help restylers educate dealers about the value of vehicle accessorization and the importance of working with a professional accessory provider. A free resource for PRO council members, the flyer is customizable so restylers can add their salespeople’s contact information, along with time- or brand-specific service promotions.

This flyer can be tailored to each dealership, and will stand out in its easy-to-read infographic format. The writable PDF format allows members to edit and print as many copies as needed, as often as necessary, or distribute the information electronically. Contact Clayton Drescher today for your free copy.

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Learn What SEMA Offers to Restoration Businesses

The Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) will host a general membership meeting at the SEMA Garage–Product Development Center in Diamond Bar, California, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m., with the meeting running from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. A networking lunch will follow the meeting.

General membership meetings provide the perfect opportunity to let the ARMO leadership know what kind of challenges you face in day-to-day business, and to meet in person with restoration industry peers.

In addition to presentations and discussions about various topics, including SEMA Market Research, the 2015 SEMA Show, the ARMO data initiative and other projects, attendees at this meeting will be treated to a tour of the SEMA Garage. The Garage offers many valuable services and resources to members at substantial savings, including FaroArm/CMM scanning, 3D printing, fully equipped photo coves and more.

Please RSVP, or contact Jim Skelly for more information.

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The best way to ensure the survival of the light-truck accessory industry is to support fair competition, educate consumers and retailers and develop world-class products that meet or exceed market demands.
   

LTAA Member Spotlight – Dee Zee Inc.

Dee Zee Inc. has been a member of the Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) for nearly 15 years. Jason Mrachina, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, shared a little bit about the company and its council involvement.

What does your company do?

We are a manufacturer of light-truck accessories and law-enforcement products.

How long have you been in business?

38 years.

What is your company's history?

Dee Zee has been manufacturing aftermarket and original-equipment truck accessories in Iowa since 1977. Most Dee Zee products are made from aluminum and carry a lifetime warranty. Dee Zee was founded on the principle of manufacturing durable, lightweight products in the United States, while providing the best customer service using local employees and sales representatives. Our company remains committed to serving our customers around the world.

How many employees does Dee Zee have?

More than 750.

Why are you an LTAA member?

Dee Zee is committed to ensuring that the light-truck accessory industry continues to thrive in the future. The best way to accomplish this is to support fair competition, educate consumers and retailers and develop world-class products that meet or exceed market demands. LTAA is a great venue for collaborating with other like-minded manufacturers and companies in our industry.

Anything exciting you see happening in the truck market or in your company?

We are definitely seeing a greater opportunity to expand our business outside of North America. Working through SEMA, Dee Zee has traveled to Asia and the Middle East to open new markets and find a wider opportunity to sell our products.

Media Preview Provides Truck Accessory Retailers Immediate Exposure

By Amanda Gubbins

The Light Truck Industry Alliance (LTAA) is now accepting applications until June 30 for the 2015 Media Preview event, taking place Monday, November 2, prior to the opening of the 2015 SEMA Show. The event gives truck accessory manufacturers a chance to meet one on one with media reps, and is ideal for making contacts and introducing new products without sacrificing valuable floor time with buyers.

Last year’s inaugural event was a success by all accounts, with nearly 200 media in attendance. Each of the manufacturer participants were chosen from the application pool by lottery to set up temporary exhibit space within the Media Center. Throughout the four-hour event, these manufacturers showed samples and answered questions about their newest products.

Jerrod Strauss of N-Fab Inc. is a prime example of how preparation can pay off in a big way for exhibiting companies. Strauss recalls immediate gratification when an editor returned to his company’s area for a second conversation during the event with a completed article that had been already posted online. That piece resulted in two feature vehicles for the company.

Strauss provided thumb drives with files of press releases and product information to the journalists, along with hard copies of the company’s catalog. These items eased the writing process for the media reps. His other advice for participants is to be engaged during the entire afternoon event.

“It was really important that you were out and actively pulling the media in, talking about your product instead of just letting them walk by,” he reflected.

N-Fab also received a Show Stopper award from Diesel Tech magazine for the company’s AdjustStep, a nerf-step allowing for up to 5.5 in. of height adjustment on each step.

“They were so enamored by the design and the concept and what it was built for that they came by our booth [later in the week] and told us they wanted to give us the award for it. They had not stopped thinking about the ingenuity and engineering behind it,” said Strauss.

Without the Media Preview event, Diesel Tech might not have discovered N-Fab’s product. The Show Stopper award has resulted in a great deal of editorial attention for the company since last November. Much of this exposure was made possible because Strauss knew how to make it easy for the media.

“I highly recommend participating in the event, but if you’re going to do it, make sure you execute it properly,” he said.

Applying now leaves plenty of time for LTAA-member companies to prepare thoroughly for the event, and the council has many resources available to help. If your company is not yet a member of LTAA, consider joining to take advantage of this benefit.

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Motorsports Council Hosts Open Meeting at SEMA Garage

The Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) will host a general membership meeting at the SEMA Garage-Product Development Center in Diamond Bar, California, on Thursday, May 28, 2015. The meeting will run from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., with continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and lunch at 12:00 p.m. General meetings provide the perfect opportunity to let the MPMC leadership know what kind of challenges you face in daily business operations and meet face-to-face with fellow motorsports parts manufacturers.

In addition to presentations and discussions about various MPMC initiatives, of particular interest to MPMC manufacturers will be a tour of the SEMA Garage and the various resources it offers manufacturers. Emissions testing, CMM scanning and 3D printing, along with fully equipped photo coves are all offered at substantial savings. Compliance Center Manager Peter Treydte will make a special presentation on the SEMA emissions lab and the other ways he and the Garage staff can assist with E.O. certifications.

Please RSVP, or contact Jim Skelly if you have any questions.

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Andreanna Ditton
   

SBN Member of the Month—Andreanna Ditton, MotorHead Media

Andreanna Ditton is the content manager at MotorHead Media in El Segundo, California.

What does your company do?

MotorHead Media is a division of Internet Brands, but it encompasses six automotive classified websites that each focus on a distinct part of the automotive marketplace. The three largest are RacingJunk.com, OldRide.com and HotRodHotline.com.

What is your position?

I am the content manager for the sites. This means that I’m the editor for HotRodHotline.com and a section of RacingJunk.com called “The Burnout,” which encompasses editorial. I manage the freelance contributions and the freelancers; write, edit, work with advertisers and sponsors to communicate about their products and services; create emailed content, such as newsletters; and direct our social media efforts to get the word out about the great stories we have on our site and the services we provide to our users.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

Meeting the people involved in the automotive industry. Since the bulk of the folks I talk to are hot rodders and racers, it’s a passionate, dedicated group of people from tight-knit communities. I love their enthusiasm, I love their drive and they’re incredibly fun to be around. I like being able to provide them with an online community that meets their needs, whether it’s buying or selling a vehicle or a part, or giving them a cool story about a member of their community.

How long have you been involved with the aftermarket industry?

I’ve worked in automotive for almost 10 years. I started out working for Primedia, which then became Source Interlink Media and is now TEN. I was the managing editor for Motorcyclist magazine and Super Streetbike magazine and then came over to MotorHead Media to be the content manager here.

What brought you to the industry?

I’ve always loved cars, particularly old British convertibles and race cars. I’ve wanted a mid-’60s MGB since the first time I saw one. I started out my career writing about education, but when I fell into the automotive enthusiast world, I was hooked. The people are the selling point in all aspects of this industry!

What are some of you major professional accomplishments?

I’m very proud of the work that Motorcyclist did for its 100th anniversary celebration, and it felt like an accomplishment to be a part of that. In 2013, we launched the editorial arm of RacingJunk.com, called “The Burnout” (racingjunk.com/news). RJ celebrated 15 years in business in 2014, and launching “The Burnout” was a great way to kick off that year.

Who is your industry mentor?

I worked for Amy Diamond, who is the vice president of editorial operations at TEN, for about seven years and she really helped me shape the way I approached my career. Outside of the industry, Patricia Ecker, who shaped how I approached journalism, made me a better writer and showed me how important investing in a community was.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“Read it out loud!” As a writer and an editor, this advice never fails me. Other than that? “Don’t ride the brakes!” Although that was more my mom hoping the car I learned to drive on would make it through my learning curve.

What would someone meeting you for the first time be surprised to learn?

I teach and perform as a belly dancer.

What is your dream car?

A ’66 Ford Bronco. I love the late ’60s-early-’70s MG, but at nearly 6-ft. tall, the Bronco is an easier car to dream about driving again.

What is your favorite pastime?

I love to cook, but more importantly, I love to eat the things my husband cooks. One of the best parts of my job is that I’ve gotten to go all over the country for automotive events, which means I get to sample local cuisine and meet people from those areas.


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During last year's competition, Roger Peterson, founder and CEO of MG Research LLC, introduced a mobile app that engages enthusiasts and collects useful market information for specialty-equipment manufacturers.
   

Let SEMA Help Launch Your Business

By Amanda Gubbins

Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 SEMA Launch Pad, Presented by YEN. The competition, now entering its third year, gives automotive innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs under the age of 40 an industry platform for their budding businesses.

Roger Peterson, founder and CEO of MG Research LLC, was a contestant in the 2014 competition. He and his concept—a mobile app that engages enthusiasts and collects useful market information for specialty-equipment manufacturers—made it all the way to the final stage of the competition, where he gave a live presentation to a panel of respected industry leaders during the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

“As I look at the experience overall, I have to say that as a very, very young company, it did a tremendous amount of good for us in the sense that we went from being a concept, an untested idea, and we were forced to mature to our best capacity,” Peterson reflected. “We were forced to ripen as best that we could. It taught us about ourselves, our will, our desire to see this through, and it brought out the best in our team. It definitely brought out the best in me.”

Launch Pad applicants are evaluated based on their video submissions by a task force, which will select the top 10. The top five candidates are narrowed down via a Facebook voting campaign. These finalists will each pitch their business plan at the 2015 SEMA Show, where the judging panel will select the winner, who will receive a prize package designed to fuel the next steps of his or her business.

Peterson explained that each of the finalists gained a certain amount of validation, which made the experience valuable. For MG Research, the feedback and exposure was a catalyst for much of the growth the company has experienced over the past months.

“We no longer have to strain ourselves trying to make this vision visible to other people. It’s now plastered all over the SEMA website, and it’s represented well. It has taken us from being one of a million young companies trying to come out of the woodwork, to one of a few that actually has accomplished something. As we are moving along now to our funding activities, we are going to find out exactly what the strength of the SEMA Launch Pad experience is.”

The bottom line, according the Peterson?

“We were all winners in the sense that we all walked away with what we needed to go to the next stage [of business],” he said.

Applications are due July 3, 2015. Find out what Launch Pad can do for your business. For more information, and to fill out the application, visit www.sema.org/launch-pad. If you have questions, contact Bryan Harrison.

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