Fast Facts

SEMA News—March 2019


Fast Facts

  Robert BrueggingRobert Bruegging

Race Winning Brands (RWB), a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries LLC, hired automotive industry veteran Robert Bruegging to serve as the organization’s vice president of product management. Bruegging will work closely with CEO Brian Reese and brand leaders to monitor the evolving needs of customers and develop innovative solutions for racing and performance. He will oversee product management and product development, managing cross-functional teams across several locations. Bruegging comes to RWB from Cometic Gasket. Race Winning Brands, Mentor, OH; 440-951-6600.

John HeinricyJohn Heinricy  

Hennessey Special Vehicles hired John Heinricy as its full-time chief engineer for the Venom F5 program. Heinricy has been a consultant on the program since its inception and previously consulted on Hennessey’s Venom GT program, working hand in hand with Hennessey. Heinricy has been a consultant and test driver for Hennessey since 2010. Heinricy spent 38 years as an engineer and executive at General Motors. He retired as the head of GM Performance Division and is also well known for being a successful race-car driver.

  Steven DiazSteven Diaz

Nexen Tire America Inc. announced that retired marine corporal Steven Diaz is the recipient of the American Muscle for American Heroes Nexen Tire Dodge Challenger R/T. Nexen Tire partnered with the Purple Heart Foundation to help select a well-deserving Purple Heart recipient to receive a one-of-a-kind American musclecar—a custom-built ’18 Dodge Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack. Nexen Tire also partnered with several other leading automotive aftermarket companies to help transform the Dodge Challenger R/T into a musclecar fit for an American hero. Nexen Tire America Inc., Diamond Bar, CA; 909-923-4011.

Dr. Wolfgang Porsche was named The Petersen Automotive Museum’s first honorary board member. Dr. Porsche has served as chairman of the supervisory board at Porsche AG since 2007. He also sits on the supervisory boards of Volkswagen AG and Audi AG and is chairman of the supervisory board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE. Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, CA; 323-964-6331.

Dr. Wolfgang PorscheDr. Wolfgang Porsche (middle)  

Gentex Corp. has announced that Joe Matthews, the company’s vice president of purchasing, has been appointed the company’s first diversity officer. In this new role, Matthews will be responsible for the development and implementation of Gentex’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. Matthews will also provide leadership to Gentex’s newly formalized DE&I Council. Its primary role is to help implement diversity programs, training courses and awareness initiatives throughout the organization. Gentex Corp., Zeeland, MI; 616-772-1800.

  Joe MatthewsJoe Matthews

John R. Washbish has been named a 2019 Outstanding Business Leader honoree by the Northwood University Board of Trustees. Washbish, president and CEO of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance Inc., is a 50-year automotive aftermarket industry veteran. The awards are presented by the Northwood University Board of Trustees. Selected based on personal achievement, each awardee typifies the unique philosophy of the university. Criteria used in the selection process include contribution to the philosophy of private enterprise, support of the integration of business and the arts, contribution to education, economic innovation, creative marketing ideas, community involvement, religious leadership, philanthropic contributions and business success.

PPG reached a definitive agreement to acquire Whitford Worldwide Co., a global manufacturer that specializes in low-friction and nonstick coatings for industrial applications and consumer products. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions. Financial terms were not disclosed. Founded in 1969, Whitford specializes in manufacturing low-friction, wear-resistant coatings for industrial applications in automotive, aerospace, energy and construction products. Whitford employs more than 700 people and operates 10 manufacturing facilities located around the world. PPG Industries, Pittsburgh, PA; 412-434-2595.

Icahn Automotive Group LLC, which owns and operates auto-repair and maintenance providers Pep Boys, AAMCO and Precision Tune Auto Care, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire RPM Automotive. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, RPM Automotive operates 10 locations with more than 100 service bays throughout the Northeastern part of the state. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions but is expected to close by year-end. Icahn Automotive recently launched Pep Boys Mobile Crew, a mobile-repair unit.

Cooper Standard announced that the company will build a new world headquarters located in Northville, Michigan. The new location is a short distance from Cooper Standard’s current world headquarters in Novi and is in close proximity to its Global Technology Center in Livonia. The project is expected to be complete in early 2020. According to the company, the new facility will meet Cooper Standard’s growing needs and will reflect its culture of innovation, fostering enhanced employee collaboration with the latest in creative workspaces to further expand innovation to all areas of the business.

AkzoNobel and Dave Kindig, renowned hot-rod builder and host of the Motor Trend TV program “Bitchin’ Rides,” announced that they have launched a new e-commerce website,, to make it easier for body shops, distributors and car enthusiasts to order products from the unique Modern Classikk paint line. The new website lets shoppers choose paint based on six traits: technology (solvent-borne or water-borne), color, color type (clearcoat, metallic or solid), VOC, product and coating.

Hunter Engineering launched a new merchandise website through for anyone who would like to purchase Hunter promotional products. Customers can easily access Hunter hats, apparel, die-cast models and more from anywhere through a desktop, tablet or mobile device. To access the merchandise website, visit

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