SEMA Leadership Days

SEMA News—October 2013

By SEMA News Editors

SEMA Leadership Days

Annual Summit and Gala Mark Association’s 50th Year

 

Incoming SEMA Chairman Nate Shelton introduced himself before a gathering of more than 400 industry professionals at the annual SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser on Friday, July 26.
Incoming SEMA Chairman Nate Shelton introduced himself before a gathering of more than 400 industry professionals at the annual SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser on Friday, July 26. Held at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California, the celebration capped several days of high-level SEMA leadership activities. 

   

As the specialty-equipment industry’s premier trade association, SEMA relies on elected volunteers to serve on its Board of Directors and in positions of council leadership. Representing every segment of the automotive aftermarket, these industry professionals are dedicated to the advancement of marketing, regulatory and business standards and practices that promote industry growth for all. In short, they are on the front lines identifying challenges and opportunities facing the industry and crafting policies and programs to address them. To support and recognize their efforts, SEMA holds a series of intensive Leadership Days events each year, with this year’s gathering held principally at the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center in Pomona, California, July 24–25.

As in prior years, the 2013 SEMA Leadership Days consisted of a series of Board of Directors and council leadership summit meetings. Traditionally, these high-level gatherings have three main purposes. First, they provide training for the volunteer leaders. Next, they highlight critical industry issues and opportunities for collaboration among SEMA’s 10 councils. Finally, they seek to promote an atmosphere of open and honest dialogue among the Board of Directors, the 20 council chairs and the council chairs-elect.

“In recent years, we’ve striven to promote even greater synergy between SEMA’s Board of Directors and the association’s councils’ chairs. Annual Leadership Days meetings have become a key component in that goal,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “More than ever before, SEMA’s councils now are engaged with the Board’s strategic planning process. It’s always great to gather these volunteer leaders in one place for several days to further communication and collaboration on the issues and initiatives the specialty-equipment industry most cares about.”

Pinewood Drag Racing

 

SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting (standing) addressed the council leadership during a SEMA Leadership Days conference.
SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting (standing) addressed the council leadership during a SEMA Leadership Days conference. Each July, Board members and council leaders gather in summit meetings to chart the association’s direction for the coming year.

   
 

The 2013 Leadership Days briefings included firsthand tours of the new SEMA Garage facilities at the association’s headquarters in Diamond Bar, California.
The 2013 Leadership Days briefings included firsthand tours of the new SEMA Garage facilities at the association’s headquarters in Diamond Bar, California. Designed to assist membership with product development and marketing, the SEMA Garage boasts two bays for testing product fitment as well as meeting space, a photo studio, 3-D scanning and printing capabilities and a dynamometer. 

   
 

John Rosanbalm of Conklin Co. (left) and Dan Kahn of Kahn Media listened intently during one of the week’s many council gatherings.
John Rosanbalm of Conklin Co. (left) and Dan Kahn of Kahn Media listened intently during one of the week’s many council gatherings.

   

After a morning of meetings, the July 26 Leadership Days social activities kicked off in the afternoon with the annual SEMA Pinewood Drag Races benefitting SEMA Cares, the association’s charity arm. The winners, by class, included:

Build It for Me

  • 1st place: Champion Spark Plugs (Victory Junction Camp)
  • 2nd place: Travis White, Rampage Products
  • 3rd place: Champion Spark Plugs (Childhelp)
  • 4th place: SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN)
  • 5th place: Mike Spagnola
  • 6th place: Robert Florine

Stock Class

  • 1st place: Tom Gattuso, SEMA
  • 2nd place: Eric Hoffend, Freeman Co.
  • 3rd place: Dave Williams, Rampage Products

Modified Class

  • 1st place: Mitch Williams, Trim Parts
  • 2nd place: Ryleigh Williams, Rampage Products
  • 3rd place: Regis Finn, MyteeBrite Group/ETTN

Unlimited Class

  • 1st place: Mitch Williams, Trim Parts
  • 2nd place: Mitch Williams, Trim Parts
  • 3rd place: Eric Hoffend, Freeman Co.

Total Unlimited

  • 1st place: Mitch Williams, Trim Parts
  • 2nd place: Mitch Williams, Trim Parts
  • 3rd place: Eric Hoffend, Freeman Co.
  • 4th place: Russell Stephens, MSD
  • 5th place: MagnaFlow

Council Cup

  • 1st place: SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN)
  • 2nd place: Professional Restylers Organization (PRO)
  • 3rd place: Light-Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA)

Menzler Class

  • 1st place: Joel Ayres
  • 2nd place: Paul “Scooter” Brothers
  • 3rd place: Jay Rohrback
  • 4th place: Paul “Scooter” Brothers
  • 5th place: Robert Florine
  • 6th place: Sarah Burgess
  • 7th place: Stephen Wolcott
  • 8th place: Sue Figueroa

Builders Race

For the fourth consecutive year, Derek White from Street Visions won the Builders Race. This year’s car was a John Menzler tribute—a hi-boy-style coupe.

“Trim Parts was pleased to participate in the 2013 SEMA Pinewood Drag Races, and we were fortunate to come away with an overall win, including a first and second place in Unlimited and a first place in Modified,” said Mitch Williams. “We built a new car this year, which was a complete unknown, but it worked and ran a time of 2.90 compared to our second-place car at 2.91. The second-place car was a previous three-time overall winner of the SEMA Pinewood Drag Races and had never lost. Both of these cars are now recognized as the fastest Pinewood Drag Race cars in North America and possibly the world. We hope other SEMA members will join this event as a way to showcase their engineering and creative capabilities and support very worthy causes at the same time. We believe very strongly that this SEMA event is making a difference in the lives of young people through these great charities, and we are honored to be a part of it.”

John Rosanbalm of Conklin Co. (left) and Dan Kahn of Kahn Media listened intently during one of the week’s many council gatherings.
SEMA council leaders also took a brief time out from their series of meetings for a group photo. SEMA’s councils address standards, practices and issues facing specific segments of the aftermarket industry.

 

Camaraderie and networking highlighted the evening of July 26, as hundreds of industry professionals gathered for a social mixer that was followed by a gala dinner celebrating incoming SEMA leaders, thanking outgoing volunteers and introducing the year’s Hall of Fame inductees.
Camaraderie and networking highlighted the evening of July 26, as hundreds of industry professionals gathered for a social mixer that was followed by a gala dinner celebrating incoming SEMA leaders, thanking outgoing volunteers and introducing the year’s Hall of Fame inductees.

 

SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting (right) greeted famous customizer and 2013 SEMA Hall of Fame inductee George Barris, creator of the iconic Batmobile. The television vehicle was just one of many outstanding collector’s vehicles on display at Pomona’s Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center on July 26.
SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting (right) greeted famous customizer and 2013 SEMA Hall of Fame inductee George Barris, creator of the iconic Batmobile. The television vehicle was just one of many outstanding collector’s vehicles on display at Pomona’s Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center on July 26.

         

SEMA Gala Celebration

 

The July 26 festivities included the inauguration of the 2013–2014 SEMA Board of Directors, led by incoming Chairman Nate Shelton (front center).
The July 26 festivities included the inauguration of the 2013–2014 SEMA Board of Directors, led by incoming Chairman Nate Shelton (front center). He is flanked on the left by Immediate Past Chairman Paul “Scooter” Brothers and, on the right, by Chairman-Elect Doug Evans.

   

The annual Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, an event in which the association thanks its outgoing Board of Directors members and welcomes those who have been newly elected, always caps SEMA’s Leadership Days. It is also the setting where SEMA introduces its latest Hall of Fame inductees—iconic individuals who represent not only the industry’s history but also such values as dedication, service and devotion to the entire automotive aftermarket. This time around, more than 400 members of the specialty-equipment industry attended the annual festivities at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California, Friday, July 26. Outside the conference center, arriving guests were greeted by numerous collector vehicles, including SEMA Hall of Fame inductee George Barris’ famous Batmobile.

After a late-afternoon reception of industry leaders, veteran emcee Dave McClelland hosted the banquet ceremonies. The opening remarks and welcome were provided by Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO; Luanne Brown, SEMA Cares Committee chairman; Paul “Scooter” Brothers, immediate past chairman of the Board; and Nate Shelton, chairman. George Barris, Eric Grant, Wade Kawasaki and Joe Schubeck received heartfelt tributes as SEMA Hall of Fame inductees.

Later in the evening, the outgoing Board members were also honored and thanked for their substantial contributions to the industry. They included Greg Adler, Transamerican Auto Parts; Joel Ayres, Bedslide/Tākit Inc.; Jim Chick, Bestop Inc.; Donnie Eatherly, P&E Distributors; Dan Gresham, secretary/treasurer; Myles Kovacs, DUB Publishing Inc.; Tim Martin, K&N Engineering; Rick Rollins, immediate past chairman; Mike Spagnola, formerly with Street Scene Equipment; Van Woodell, Weathers Auto Supply; and Jeep Worthan, Auto Meter. In addition, newly elected members to the SEMA Board of Directors were introduced to the audience. They included Chairman-Elect Doug Evans, Source Interlink Media; Jeff Bates, Bob Cook Sales; Kyle Fickler, Weld Racing; and Tim Watts, Superlift Suspension.

“It’s always a special honor to recognize our new Hall of Fame inductees,” said Kersting.

“George Barris, Eric Grant, Wade Kawasaki and Joe Schubeck have been true industry pioneers, setting high standards for others to follow. In similar fashion, we are also proud of and grateful for the contributions of our outgoing Board members, and we look forward to the leadership that our new Board members will provide. Each volunteer brings unique background, experience and perspective to the helm of SEMA. The industry can continue to look forward to growth and prosperity.”

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