Fast Facts

SEMA News—September 2017

Industry News

By Amanda Gubbins

Fast Facts

John Simmons

National Performance Warehouse (NPW) tapped industry veteran John Simmons to enhance the NPW Purchasing Group. Simmons brings a wide range of experience in the traditional, performance and truck accessories categories. He formerly held positions as the corporate merchandise manager for Whitlock/WSR Corp., president of VSI and, until recently, VSI/Meyers operations manager with Meyer Distributing’s acquisition of VSI. National Performance Warehouse, Miami, FL; 305-953-7270.

Avery Dennison announced the appointment of Gernot Ritzdorf to vice president of sales for label and packaging materials (LPM) in North America. In that role, Ritzdorf will lead the business’ field sales, technical sales, customer service and technical support teams for LPM. Gernot has 12 years of experience in the company, with roles that include leading both regional and global sales organizations. Avery Dennison, Mentor, OH; 800-282-8379.

Curt Group entered into an agreement to acquire United Welding Services (UWS) from Thule Inc. Headquartered in Perry, Florida, UWS is a manufacturer of storage solutions and truck accessories for professional tradesmen and truck enthusiasts. This acquisition complements Curt Group’s expanding brand portfolio and truck-accessory product lines. In addition to a full line of towing and truck-accessory products, Curt Group will offer UWS customers an expanded distribution network. Curt Manufacturing LLC, Eau Claire, WI; 715-831-8713. UWS, Perry, FL; 850-584-3448.

Jason Reiss

Jason Reiss joined the Power Automedia editorial department as executive editor for technical content. His responsibilities include managing technical content across Power Automedia’s publications as well as being editor of Reiss returns to Power Automedia with roughly 15 years of experience in automotive journalism. His previous experience with Power Automedia included time as editor of EngineLabs, along with contributions to the company’s other magazines. Power Automedia, Murrieta, CA; 951-677-2626.

The AAM Group honored Tri-State Enterprises as the 2017 Member of the Year at its annual membership meeting. Tri-State Owner Tristan Taylor accepted the award. The AAM meeting also saw awards given to winners in five individual categories. Recipients included Midwest Wheel (Active Participation), Toys for Trucks (Growth as a Percentage), Competition Specialties Inc. (Marketing Participation), Tri-State Enterprises (Participation in Group Buys), and Earl Owen Co. (Product Line Compliance). Tri-State Enterprises Inc., Fort Smith, AR; 479-646-6121. Midwest Wheel Co., Des Moines, IA; 515-265-1491. Toys for Trucks Inc., Appleton, WI; 920-364-9231. Competition Specialties Inc., Auburn, WA; 253-833-6211. Earl Owen Co. Inc., Carrollton, TX; 214-747-7549.

Caliber Collision Centers celebrated a major milestone in the company’s history with the opening of its 500th location in Ft. Worth, Texas. Caliber Collisions’ 500 centers are located across 17 states and the District of Columbia.

4 Wheel Parts revealed its brand-new location in Boise, Idaho, with a family-friendly grand-opening celebration where the retailer officially unveiled its 79th North American location. Transamerica Auto Parts LLC, Compton, CA; 310-900-5500.

David M. Karpatkin

King Engine Bearings appointedDavid M. Karpatkin operations manager. He has more than 20 years’ experience in various industries, most recently as a district manager for ADT Security. He has also held key positions in sales, management and operations. King Engine Bearings Inc., Cedar Grove, NJ; 973-857-0705.

Hunter Engineering launched a completely redesigned website that places even better emphasis on Hunter’s local teams and products. One click brings users to wheel alignment, wheel balancers, tire changers, brake lathes, inspection lane equipment or any of Hunter’s products. The new site uses a fully responsive widescreen design and places a large focus on making it easy for users to connect with their local Hunter team. Hunter Engineering Co., Bridgeton, MO; 314-731-3020.

Steven Berman, executive chairman and co-founder of Dorman Products, was inducted into the Federated Auto Parts Vendor Hall of Fame. Berman co-founded Dorman with his late brother Richard in 1978. The Federated Vendor Hall of Fame recognizes one individual each year who demonstrates dedication to excellence, helping to make a difference for Federated and its members. Dorman Products, Colmar, PA; 215-712-5272.

colin smith
Colin Smith

Former NASCAR Digital Media Vice President Colin Smith will join the Miami-based Motorsport Network as the company’s new CEO. He joins Motorsport Network after spending the past five years at NASCAR Digital Media. With 27 global editions of Motorsport Network’s websites, social-media channels and magazines edited by local experts, Smith will oversee continued expansion of the brand.

Kamm Industries—parent company of PRP Seats—announced the acquisition of SpeedStrap, maker of the SpeedStrap recovery strap and premium tie-downs and accessories for off-road vehicles. Kamm plans to keep the SpeedStrap name and suite of products to sell alongside the PRP brand at shows and events as well as on

Evans Waterless Coolant is now sold through Automatic Distributors—a wholesale distributor of more than 75,000 powersports parts and accessories headquartered in Bangor, Maine. Automatic Distributors will make Evans’ coolant technology available to ATV, UTV, motocross, PWC/marine, snowmobile, street bike and utility trailer owners. 

Jiffy-tite Co. Inc. was acquired by the Oetiker Group and is now Oetiker NY Inc. Product packaging, signage, literature and business documents are in the process of being updated and will feature the Oetiker brand. A wider range of connecting solutions will extend beyond quick connectors into clamps, rings and straps for applications such as cooling and heating, air intake, exhaust and occupant safety. The company maintains a presence in all major markets, with more than 20 sales and production locations in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Oetiker NY Inc., Lancaster, NY; 716-681-7200.

Marx Group relocated and expanded its Detroit-area office to meet the needs of a growing client base and account team. The Detroit-based team relocated from Birmingham, Michigan, to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and will operate the space jointly with its affiliate, Near Perfect Media. The new 2,800-sq.-ft. office, located at 43700 Woodward Ave., Ste. 106, doubles the previous space in Birmingham. Marx Group, San Rafael, CA; 415-453-0844.

Mike Hallmark

Hellwig Products announced that its West Coast and International Sales Manager Mike Hallmark will transition to marketing and international sales manager. In this new capacity, Hallmark will oversee all marketing functions and will work closely with Hellwig’s agency of record, Kahn Media. Hallmark brings years of automotive aftermarket experience, working with both Advanced Clutch Technology and T-Rex Grilles prior to joining the Hellwig suspension products team. Hellwig Products Co. Inc., Visalia, CA; 559-734-7451.

Sentury Tire’s GroundSpeed tire line is now available in California through King’s Tire Wholesale, which has multiple distribution centers in California that provide tires to many retail partners. The GroundSpeed line is manufactured in Thailand and will move production to a new U.S. plant and R&D center in LaGrange, Georgia.

Yokohama Tire Corp. is now the official tire of Horsepower Adventures (HPA), a specialized off-road driving experience company operating on Mexico’s Baja peninsula. Yokohama’s Geolandar tires will be featured on all of HPA’s high-performance, purpose-built tour vehicles and support vehicles. Yokohama also announced that Rick Alonzo joined the company as senior director of supply chain and logistics. Alonzo joins Yokohama from Roche Diagnostics, where he was a director of global supply chain management. Yokohama Tire Corp., Santa Ana, CA; 714-870-3800.

Keystone Automotive Operations Inc. welcomed RJS Racing Equipment Inc. and GearWrench Tools to its speed-and-performance and tools-and-equipment line card. RJS Racing manufactures safety equipment for various styles of motor racing. Most products are developed in the United States, of which Keystone is stocking fuel-storage containers. GearWrench Tools got its start in 1995 with support from large retailers such as Ace Hardware and Sears. Keystone Automotive Operations Inc., Exeter, PA; 800-526-2137.

Joel Wertman

Luken Communications LLC announced the appointment of its new president, Joel Wertman, who will spearhead operations of all Luken networks. Wertman’s career started in 1977 when he wrote and produced a song that became a top-five record in Canada and Europe. Since then, he’s had a storied career in music and television, including writing, producing and executive roles. Rev’n TV, Dayton, TN; 423-468-5102.

Edelbrock announced the appointment of Steve Rogers as president. He succeeds Wayne Murray, who will assume the role of COO. Rogers was the president and CEO of K&N Engineering Inc. from 2003 to 2014. At Edelbrock, Rogers will focus on product strategies and marketing initiatives to continue growing the brand. Murray will continue to focus on overseeing Edelbrock’s manufacturing and foundry operations. John Colaianne will remain CEO. Edelbrock LLC, Torrance, CA; 310-781-2222.

Insane Audio, an American-made audio solution that caters primarily to Jeep enthusiasts, is the latest addition to the 12-volt category at Meyer Distributing. Insane Audio builds in-dash multimedia and navigation solutions for the off-road aftermarket, specifically designed for the Jeep JK, Jeep TJ and Toyota FJ Cruisers. Meyer Distributing, Jasper, IN; 800-639-3787.

ZF and Hella entered into a strategic partnership in which both suppliers will cooperate on sensor technology, particularly for front camera systems as well as imaging and radar systems. ZF will strengthen its portfolio as a systems supplier that offers modern assistance systems and autonomous driving functions, whereas Hella will drive technological development and benefits from a broader market access. The first joint-development project in camera technology began immediately, with the objective of a 2020 market launch. Hella Inc., Peachtree City, GA; 770-631-7557.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TGSP) recognized Denso’s Athens and Maryville locations for outstanding environmental conservation and vision for creating a sustainable automotive society. In addition to Denso’s EcoParks and continued focus on recycling, energy management and diverting waste material from landfills, TGSP also recognized how each facility’s efforts align with Denso’s worldwide Eco-Vision initiative, which provides local facilities with a blueprint to achieve a sustainable automotive society and the decisions to implement non-traditional methods and technologies to improve energy efficiency and waste diversion. Denso Products & Services Americas Inc., Long Beach, CA; 888-963-3676.

Deval Joshi

Deval Joshi was named director of program management for Vipar Heavy Duty. Joshi joined Vipar Heavy Duty in January 2017 and most recently served as senior program manager. In his new role, Joshi will be responsible for leading the organization’s program management team in fulfilling its role in the five-year growth plan set by the organization. He will continue to report to Larry Griffin, vice president of program management. Vipar Heavy Duty Inc., Crystal Lake, IL; 815-788-1725. was recognized as a finalist in the third annual Internet Retailer Excellence Awards, highlighting outstanding and innovative online retailers and B2B eCommerce companies for significant strides in the past year. RealTruck was nominated for the mobile commerce award after a significant mobile website upgrade. The process included a logo redesign, new graphics, a more prominent vehicle selector allowing the user to view applicable products, inclusion of Pay With Amazon, and the redesign of a number of pages guided by heat mapping and A/B testing data., Jamestown, ND; 877-216-5446.

VP Racing Fuels Inc. welcomed the return of Tommy Chapman as an independent sales representative in support of VP-South, a region that encompasses Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama. Chapman started his career in 1957 as a full-time drag racer, ultimately winning the Georgia state championship. He continued racing part-time while working for the U.S. Treasury Department as a criminal investigator for 25 years before retiring in 1990. In 1992, Chapman joined VP Racing Fuels as its regional manager-South, where he stayed until retiring again in 2010. VP Racing Fuels Inc., Elmendorf, TX; 210-635-7744.

Brandon Noska

Brandon Noska joined Ranch Hand as director of engineering. He has extensive experience in bringing new technologies and products to market for the energy, aerospace, electronics and lighting industries. A multi-skilled professional with more than 16 years of experience in mechanical design, product development and R&D, Noska’s versatility and talents have allowed him to take on roles in engineering, marketing and sales over the course of his career. Ranch Hand, Shiner, TX; 800-366-9712.

United Engine & Machine Co (UEM) introduced a new corporate logo. The original logo had undergone changes and updates over the years, and a new corporate logo was introduced in June 2017. The new logo features bold, prominent UEM letters, reflecting the company’s usage of the UEM acronym. The UEM fonts are surrounded by flowing graphics, emulating the lands of a piston and supporting the UEM letters. The company’s name, United Engine & Machine Pistons, captures the striking new logo. United Engine & Machine Co., Carson City, NV; 775-882-7790.

After 15 years of service, Summit Racing Equipment’s chief marketing officer, Jeff Winters, retired on June 2. Effective June 5, Al Noe was promoted to chief marketing officer. In his new position, Noe will provide leadership and direction for all marketing activities. He is responsible for the following departments and their respective managers: advertising, business development, catalog production, costing and pricing, events and motorsports, Internet marketing and purchasing. Summit Racing Equipment, Tallmadge, OH; 800-230-3030.

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