"There is a certain vibe and energy in the sports industry that you can't get anywhere else," Aliceje (pronounced Alicia) Keyburn says.
Starting at her father’s shop as a child, Taylor learned the craft of building race cars at a young age. While still in high school, she began building her first car, a ’68 Camaro that she raced the following year at Hot Rod Drag Week; at 16 years of age, she was the event’s youngest competitor. In the 10 years since then, she’s managed to earn a bachelor’s degree in marketing, run a 6-sec. quarter in her ’55 Chevy 210, won back-to-back Roadkill Nights Hellcat Grudge Matches, and launched another career as the co-host of “Hot Rod Garage.” Her business has recently expanded to an 8,000-sq.-ft. facility in Booneville, Arkansas.
Mike Burns came to the specialty-equipment market after launching a successful career in finance. A holder of an MBA from the University of Colorado, he has worked as an analyst for energy companies such as ConocoPhilips and as a budget and resource director for the U.S. Air Force. A 2018 SEMA Launch Pad semifinalist, Burns developed his ValvoMax Quick Twist Valve to facilitate easy oil changes without the use of tools. The ValvoMax has sold more than 50,000 units to date, and for his efforts, Burns was named SEMA’s 2022 Gen-III Innovator of the Year at last year’s 2022 SEMA Industry Awards Banquet. The award recognizes young entrepreneurs (age 40 and under) for their innovations in the specialty-equipment market.
It's no great secret that the auto-racing industry has been a male-dominated profession from the beginning. While some individual female pioneers have managed to achieve success on the track over the years, the infrastructural support needed to promote greater numbers of women in racing has been all too often lacking.
This past November 3, nearly 3,000 industry professionals gathered for the annual 2022 SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet in Las Vegas. The Thursday-night celebration encompasses the presentation of several distinguished honors, but perhaps none as prestigious as the SEMA Person of the Year Award. Beyond any personal or professional achievements, the award pays tribute to an individual who embodies service and dedication to the specialty automotive industry and the advancement of SEMA members throughout the aftermarket.
When the subject of conversation turns to tires, few industry experts can speak with as much authority as Dick Gust. The current CEO of the Tire Industry Association (TIA), Gust started his decades-long career while still in college, and upon graduation was hired as a design engineer with Uniroyal. He subsequently spent time in a variety of managerial roles with Sears Roebuck, Lakin Environmental and Liberty Tire Recycling, where he served as director of government affairs. He has worked with a number of industry associations, including the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, American Retreaders Association and International Tire & Rubber Association. He has also served on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee.
Throughout the South, In & Out Customs Owner Sage Thomas, aka, The Donkmaster, is known as the king of big-wheel racing. Born in Savannah, Georgia, and now based in Charleston, South Carolina, Thomas built his first Donk at 16 and dove headlong into the racing scene. Now he’s formed the National Donk Racing Association (NDRA), the first professional sanctioning body dedicated to Donk and big-wheel drags, which are exploding in popularity. His many fans follow him on Donkmaster TV on YouTube and @1_Donkmaster on Instagram.
At age 17, Duran Morley was involved in a high-speed motorcycle accident. “My motorcycle caught fire,” he said. “I’m lucky to be alive.”
The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is governed by a Board of Directors who volunteer their time to provide leadership and guidance to the organization. Board members are nominated and elected by the association’s membership at large. They represent the organization’s key membership categories: manufacturers, distributors/retailers, manufacturers’ reps and services. Directors serve a three-year term, while the chairman serves for two years immediately after completing a two-year term as chairman-elect. The current Board was inaugurated at the SEMA Awards Gala held on July 29, 2022.
Very few people in the automotive industry require little to no introduction, but when you’re one of the most celebrated designers in industry history, you write your own intros wherever you appear. In a career spanning nearly 30 years, Chip Foose has dazzled his fellow builders, car enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike with his unique automotive artistry, both as the owner of Chip Foose Design in Huntington Beach, California, and as the star of the long-running TLC TV series "Overhaulin.'"