Featured in SEMA Member News—May/June 2011
By Ellen McKoy
Jeff Fink is general manager of Advantage Truck Accessories, where he is responsible for overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations. He has been active in PRO since 2002 and was first elected to the council’s Select Committee in 2007. He will assume the chair-elect position within PRO in July 2011.
Two years ago, Karl Stearns assumed the position of Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) chairman after having served two years as chair-elect. At the same time, Eldon Bracken was chosen by his peers on the Select Committee to serve in the chair-elect slot.
Flash forward to 2011. The pendulum has gone full swing. Stearns is stepping down and will serve as chairman emeritus. Bracken is stepping up to chairman, and Jeff Fink is preparing to take over as chair-elect.
Fink is general manager of Advantage Truck Accessories. An industry veteran with more than 25 years experience under his belt, he is responsible for overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations. He has been active in PRO since 2002 and was first elected to the council’s Select Committee in 2007. SEMA Member News took the opportunity recently to chat with Fink about how he views the council and his new role as chair-elect.
SEMA Member News: How did you get involved in PRO and what was your motivation?
Jeff Fink: I was invited by an industry associate to join PRO and to attend a PRO Long-Range Planning (LRP) meeting. My motivation was to become more involved in the industry.
SMN: What is it about PRO that makes the council valuable to the restyling industry?
JF: Focus. PRO addresses the challenges facing the restyling industry. The information available to the membership through the collective contribution of the restylers, distributors and manufacturers is the real value.
SMN: PRO has always been manufacturer supported primarily for the benefit of restylers. Why would it be important for other manufacturers that are not members to support PRO?
JF: As a manufacturer, I want to do business with forward-thinking, successful companies. The restylers who make the investment in their businesses to be part of PRO have proven to be among the most successful. Additionally, manufacturers benefit by having direct access to current market research through contact with our member restylers.
SMN: What value do you see in the various projects and initiatives that PRO has tackled over the years?
JF: PRO has developed an impressive menu of information, programs and initiatives. The Technical Skills & Training Conference (TSTC) may turn out to be one of the most significant. The TSTC was created at a PRO LRP meeting as a vehicle to meet the needs of the restyling industry. Installer education, business best-practice evaluation, restyler-manufacturer needs assessments and future restyler recruitment are all objectives of the conference. The first year went extremely well, and it looks as though the second year will be even better.
SMN: As the newly elected chair-elect, what are your main objectives and goals going forward?
JF: The heart and soul of this industry—and our council specifically—is the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit of its members. Small companies have woven the fiber of the restyling industry and will continue to do so. Our council needs to support those entrepreneurs. From the person who comes up with a new automotive product idea or starts a restyling company to the distributors and media, it is the passion of industry individuals who make this the industry in which I’m proud to be involved.
It is my objective to continue to support the programs the council has initiated and to work with the select committee and general membership to provide innovative, new products and services. I have been involved with PRO as a general member and Select Committee member for several years and believe that we have a great general membership and a Select Committee that is really special.
PRO has done an excellent job of providing valuable products to its members, including the Technical Skills & Training Conference, business-training materials and one of the hottest receptions at SEMA—NovemberFest. Additionally, the council has a strong initiative to increase membership. All of these efforts need continued support as we move forward. Additionally, we must effectively communicate the value of SEMA and PRO membership. The measure of our efforts will best be shown in the council’s ability to retain and recruit members.
I invite anyone who is involved in the restyling and accessory industry to check out what PRO has to offer.