Cultivating young talent and nurturing the next generation of industry leaders and innovators is a high priority across the board within the SEMA community, and most especially for the Young Executives Network (YEN).
YEN Member News
The Young Executives Network (YEN) has transitioned into new leadership, with Rory Connell of Advanced Accessory Concepts leading the charge as the chair and Kirstin Stone of COMP Performance Group as chair-elect. YEN is dedicated to the advancement of young professionals in the automotive aftermarket industry by providing the membership with education and networking opportunities.
The SEMA Launch Pad program, powered by the Young Executives Network (YEN), is entering its fifth year. Designed to help entrepreneurs under the age of 40 launch their new products or services into the marketplace, the program takes place annually at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The application period will open in early March, and SEMA expects to have a record-breaking number of applicants. To apply, visit www.sema.org/launch-pad.
Each year during the SEMA Show, one of the highlights for the Young Executive Network (YEN) is the opportunity to present awards to deserving industry professionals for the work they’ve done benefitting the young people within the industry. This year, YEN was thrilled to present the Vanguard award as well as the Young Executive of the Year award at an awards presentation at the network’s annual industry reception.
Now in its third year, the Launch Pad program offers innovators under the age of 40 an industry platform to showcase their businesses and win a significant package to help them market a new automotive product or service. Earlier this year, members of the Young Executives Network (YEN) were invited to prepare three-minute videos pitching their companies’ most exciting products and services. A YEN task force made up of network leaders looked at all of the videos and whittled the competition down to the 10 best.
The Young Executives Network (YEN) held its first live chat with Formula Drift founder and CEO Jim Liaw. The live chat was held on October 24, 2014, via the YEN Facebook page and was a huge success. Questions came from YEN members far and wide and featured many topics, and they brought insights into the growth and continued success of aftermarket companies. Much of the focus was on how to get the most out of a company’s SEMA Show investment.
The Young Executives Network (YEN) hosted a joint networking reception with the Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) on Tuesday, November 4, at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The event featured casino tables, specific areas showcasing emerging technologies, an awards ceremony and refreshments. Two of YEN’s annual awards were also presented at the event.
The Young Executives Network (YEN) will maintain a strong presence at the SEMA Show in 2014, but some of the events that have become staples for members will have a new look. Each of the main initiatives geared toward young professionals will include a networking component, so members are encouraged to make plans early to join the festivities and meet with peers.
Over the summer, 10 members of the Young Executives Network (YEN) embarked on the Hot Rod Power Tour to promote the network and highlight the variety of career choices available to young professionals in the automotive specialty-equipment market. The tour route began in Charlotte, North Carolina, and visited Tennessee, West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana before ending in Iowa. Amy Fitzgerald, Ian Lehn, Scott Lowe, Paul Makarucha, Brit Mansell, Jonathan Mill, Michelle “Missy” Perez, Dylan Sievers, Kirstin Stone and Jerid Suchy were chosen to participate through an application process.
After the success of last year’s Launch Pad competition, SEMA is excited to announce that the contest will return for a second year at the 2014 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Sponsored by the Young Executives Network (YEN), the SEMA Launch Pad offers innovators under the age of 40 an industry platform to showcase their businesses and win a significant package to help them market a new automotive product or service.