By Ashley Reyes
As a trade association, SEMA represents the automotive specialty-equipment industry and provides benefits and resources to help businesses in the industry succeed and prosper. While the association has a team of professionals who execute the day-to-day operations, the staff relies on volunteers from the industry to direct, guide and lead its efforts.
In recognition of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 19–25, SEMA would like to recognize and thank the thousands of members who lend their time, knowledge and expertise to help the industry. Many programs and services originated and exist because of SEMA volunteers, from idea and inception to development and execution.
“The ability for the association to grow and develop new resources for our members is attributed to the dedicated and caring people who volunteer their time with us,” said Nathan Ridnour, SEMA vice president of councils and membership. “Without our volunteers, we would not be able to execute the various programs that provide so much value to the industry.”
Over the past two years, the council leadership contributed nearly 20 new ideas for SEMA Board consideration—many supporting strategic initiatives and others offering new value to members.
Recent programs that resulted from volunteers include the Student UTV Build Pilot Program, powered by the SEMA Young Executives Network (YEN), which connected aspiring industry professionals to serve as mentors for high school students, and the SEMA Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) Cup Challenge. Developed to raise awareness and encourage the customization of new model cars and trucks for mainstream consumers, the PRO Cup Challenge kicked off at the 2019 SEMA Show to showcase how simple and affordable it was to create a customized package that would appeal to a large number of consumers.
By focusing on community building and networking, many volunteers have also implemented new ways to connect with members on social media. Member spotlights, Facebook Live Chats and Member Insights are just a few initiatives that are solely volunteer driven.
“Whether they are out at regional events, participating in education seminars, or serving the aftermarket community within their business, they are always willing to help out and inspire others to carry out our mission,” said Ridnouer. “One week isn’t enough to express our gratitude for all they do for the industry, and for this we are extremely grateful.”
By sharing their experience and vision, SEMA volunteers provide creative solutions to challenges businesses are facing and help plan educational and networking opportunities for members in various market segments. They are comprised of entrepreneurs, business leaders, and industry enthusiasts who care about the future of the specialty equipment market. SEMA appreciates all that they do for our members and community.