SEMA eNews Vol. 19, No. 20, May 19, 2016

Honor the Industry’s Young Trendsetters—SEMA News 35 Under 35

By Chad Simon

SEMA News is looking to highlight young top-tier talent in the automotive aftermarket industry through its 35 Under 35 program. We need your input. If you know of a leader who is age 35 or under—whether they are in manufacturing and design, marketing, retail, events and media or distribution—we would like to hear from you.

The following is a short profile on one of last year’s 35 Under 35 winners—Matt Beenen. At 28, Beenen is vice president, product and marketing for GrimmSpeed.

Matt Beenen, 28, Vice President, Product and MarketingGrimmSpeed

bWhen Matt Beenen first joined rapidly growing GrimmSpeed, he was tasked with advancing the company’s high-quality product lines and branding. (GrimmSpeed was among the first sport-compact manufacturers to discontinue polished exhaust components, setting a trend that many competitors in the category followed.)

Before long, Beenen was leading GrimmSpeed toward pioneering new product-development methods in the fast-paced Subaru market, including crowd sourcing and otherwise involving the enthusiast community in the design process. This yielded some successful new products for the company, significantly furthering its growth.

“A major trend that we’re seeing is the thirst for knowledge that enthusiasts have. They’re making well-educated purchases and pushing manufacturers to produce innovative, high-quality products,” observed Beenen. “With the trend toward premium craftsmanship and American manufacturing, I think we’ll see a host of new manufacturers pop up and challenge the larger, more well-established businesses. In the retail world, access to wholesale accounts, social media and e-commerce solutions has created a very low barrier to entry, so manufacturers face the challenge of finding a way to continue supporting brick-and-mortar businesses, shops and tuners who support their products.”

In his briefcase: “I’ve always got a Moleskine grid-paper notebook, a Fisher space pen, a MacBook Pro, a 64GB thumb drive, a granola bar and a racquet ball in my bag, an iPhone and folding knife in my pocket and coffee in my hand.”

Do you have a friend or colleague who deserves to be recognized? If so, please contact the editorial team at SEMA News and submit a nomination for the 2016 SEMA News 35 Under 35. Nominations are due May 31, 2016. Winners will be chosen based on their business success, contribution to their organization, industry knowledge and community involvement. We'll honor the winners in the September issue of SEMA News and on www.sema.org.

For more details on the 35 Under 35 program and complete details on all of last year's winners, read through this article taken from the September 2015 issue of SEMA News.

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