|Visit MPMC's website.|
MPMC Chairman Vic Wood of Hedman Performance (center) is flanked by the 2012 MPMC Hall of Fame inductees (left to right): Keith Dorton, Ron
Funfar, Jim Cozzie and Chris Thomson.
MPMC inducted its Hall of Fame, Class of 2012, during a breakfast presentation on Friday morning, November 30, at the PRI Show in Orlando, Florida. While the inductees were announced earlier in the year, the official ceremony is held for the PRI Show.
“There are many members of our motorsports and performance community at the PRI Show,” said MPMC Chairman Vic Wood of Hedman Performance, “who are not at the SEMA Show, or if they are (at the SEMA Show), they are already committed to some of the other myriad events going on that week. We are grateful to everyone at PRI for the way they have embraced this event.”
Jim Cozzie, Keith Dorton, Ron Funfar and Chris Thomson were inducted as the MPMC Hall of Fame Class of 2012. Congratulations!
Robert E. Petersen Award Nominations Open
Nominations for the Robert E. Petersen Award are now open. The award is presented each year to a member of the media for outstanding contributions to MPMC and/or the motorsports manufacturing community in the past year. This year’s award will be presented during the Media Reception at the MPMC Media Trade Conference, Tuesday evening, January 22, 2013, at the Embassy Suites Orange County Airport North, in Santa Ana, California.
Nominations close December 19, after which, a ballot of finalists will be sent to all MPMC companies (one vote per company) for final voting. If you know of a deserving media person, perhaps someone who went out of their way to write an article, promote events, etc., please submit your nomination now.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? MPMC Is!
Be sure to follow MPMC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/mpmc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
Take a Friend to a Race Fan Page
The MPMC Motorsports Awareness campaign, highlighted by the Take a Friend to a Race program, now has its very own Fanpage on Facebook. If you’re not a fan yet, you should be!
MPMC Column in SEMA Member News
Read MPMC's column featured in the November/December issue of SEMA Member News.
For information about MPMC, contact Jim Skelly.
|Visit ARMO's website.|
Matt Agosta of Steele Rubber Products accepts the 2012 ARMO Person of
the Year award from ARMO Chair-Elect Dennis Roberts of Distinctive
Interiors. This and other awards were presented during the 2012 ARMO
Industry Awards Reception at the SEMA Show.
ARMO presented its Industry Recognition Award to Carlisle Events at the 2012 ARMO Industry Reception, held Tuesday evening, October 30, in the Las Vegas Hotel (formerly the Hilton) during the 2012 SEMA Show. The Industry Recognition Award, as the name implies, recognized individuals and companies who have made significant contributions to the restoration industry.
“We don’t give out this award every year,” said ARMO chairman Alex Tainsh of Parts Unlimited Interiors. “It is reserved for truly outstanding service to the industry. We felt it high time that the folks at Carlisle Events be recognized in such a manner. Spring and Fall Carlisle are two of the largest gatherings of restoration companies and enthusiasts in the world. Over the past 30 years they have also added “specialty” events to their annual calendar, focusing on particular brands, such as GM, Ford, Chrysler, Corvette and light trucks. They give 100% to everyone who exhibits, shows a car or comes through the gate as an attendee. We present this award to their entire staff, but want to especially thank former ARMO Select Committee member Jim Vinarski, Carlisle Events director of business and event development. Jim was instrumental in bringing the ARMO New Products Showcase to Spring Carlisle and continues to be an eager volunteer to the council.”
The following awards were also presented during the ARMO Industry Reception:
Jeff Moses Scholarship Award
Michelle Perez of Skyline College
ARMO Person of the Year
Matt Agosta of Steele Rubber Products
ARMO Business of the Year
ARMO Industry Recognition Award
ARMO Reception Sponsors
ARMO thanks the following companies who sponsored the ARMO Industry Reception. We couldn’t do it all without their help:
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? ARMO Is!
Be sure to follow ARMO on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/armo and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
ARMO Column in SEMA Member News
Read ARMO's column featured in the November/December issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit HRIA's website|
Be sure to follow HRIA on all of your favorite social networking sites.
To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/hria and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
HRIA Column in SEMA Member News
Read HRIA's column featured in the November/December issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit TORA's website.|
The 2012 TORA Industry Reception and Fall Nationals
Pinewood Drags went under the lights this year. Here, TORA Select
Committee members Kathryn Reinhart of Magnaflow and Charley Holden of
Cap World prepare to send the first round of Fall Nationals eliminations
down the track.
The 2012 TORA Industry Awards Reception moved to a new, outdoor location at the Las Vegas Hotel (formerly the Hilton), and feedback from the 400+ attendees indicates the venue change was a huge success. The third-annual TORA Fall Nationals Pinewood Drags to benefit SEMA Cares was once again a major element to the festivities. Reception attendees “rented” a Pinewood racer in exchange for a donation to SEMA Cares. The Fall Nationals earned $2,890. The TORA booth in South Hall raised an additional $7,500, for a grand total of $10,390 for the charity.
“We have to thank SEMA for giving us the chance to use this space,” said TORA Chairman George Lathouris of Keystone Automotive Operations. “They held their own pre-banquet reception in the same location the following evening, so we benefitted from having their stage and lighting to use. With the Pinewood track set on a riser, the lights and the sound system all made for one the most memorable TORA events in recent years. Thanks also to our Select Committee volunteers, and our reception sponsors. The venue was great, but it’s always the people involved that make it special.”
Along with the excitement and camaraderie of the racing action, the following industry awards were presented at the reception. Congratulations to all the award winners!
TORA Retailer of the Year
Trucks N Trailers USA, Tom Moore
TORA Industry Recognition Award
RV 4 Wheel Drive & Performance Automotive
TORA Chairman’s Award
Jim Skelly, SEMA Staff
TORA Best New Product Over $500
BAK Industries, Roll-X HD Aluminum Roll Up Covers
TORA Best New Product Under $500
US Speedo, LED Dashboard Lighting Kits
TORA also thanks the following companies for their generous sponsorship of the reception, and congratulates them for being a part of such a successful event. It isn’t possible without you.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? TORA Is!
Be sure to follow TORA on all of your favorite social networking sites.
To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/TORA and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
TORA Column in SEMA Member News
Read TORA's column featured in the November/December issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit MRN's website.|
SEMA’s Manufacturers' Rep Network (MRN) hosts a discussion group on Linkedin for professional reps and sales agents. Recently, MRN asked the question, “In one word, what does it mean to be a sales professional?”
The list as submitted by members of the Linkedin group includes:
Join the conversation; join MRN at www.sema.org/li-mrc. For more details on how to get involved or to learn how professional reps and agents can help your business, contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? MRN is!
Be sure to follow MRN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/mrn and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
MRN Column in SEMA Member News
Read MRN's column featured in the November/December issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit PRO's website.|
Be sure to follow PRO on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/pro and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
PRO Column in SEMA Member News
Read PRO's column featured in the November/December issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit SBN's website.|
Fellow SBNer Susan Carpenter has been working hard in updating the SBN members map, including adding new members and member location changes.
This map serves a great purpose. It allows SBN to find fellow members in our area so we can make connections year round. So check out the SBN members map and get to networking!
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? SBN is!
Be sure to follow SBN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/sbn and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
SBN Column in SEMA Member News
Read SBN's column featured in the November/December issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit SPC's website.|
Be sure to follow SPC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/spc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
SPC Column in SEMA Member News
Read SPC's column featured in the November/December issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit WTC's website|
Be sure to follow WTC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/wtc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
WTC Column in SEMA Member News
Read WTC's column featured in the November/December issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit YEN's website
This month’s interview is with Dana Mitchell, sales manager for Al’s Liners—a truck bedliner kit company. With a formal background in architecture, Mitchell has extensive experience in architectural design, environmental consulting, automotive restoration equipment and DIY truck accessories. Admittedly an “amateur restorer and automotive guy,” Mitchell feels fortunate to be in the automotive industry where he is able to employ his personality working for a company, such as Al’s Liner.
Tell us a little about your diverse professional background and how each of your experiences has benefited you in the position you hold today.
After school and working in a couple of odd jobs, I began environmental consulting, focusing on remediation project management and program management for asbestos, lead and indoor air quality. Working mostly with public and private school corporations, I was responsible for maintaining federally mandated programs and educating maintenance staff on handling and maintaining potential hazardous materials. This threw me directly into dealing with people face to face on sensitive subjects and large-scale presentations for audiences sometimes reaching the hundreds.
After more than a decade of working in various aspects of the field, I wanted to pursue my passion—automotive restoration and customization. Fortunately, I had some friends who were in the midst of rolling out a unique line (Auto Twirler), producing auto-body rotisseries and other various shop carts, dollies and tools. We took a very grassroots approach working strictly B to C, traveling the nation attending a multitude of events, car shows, auctions and so on, selling and branding the line. Within a very short time, we had established Auto Twirler as the restoration tools built by restorers and grew to a nationally recognized product line. This gave me the opportunity to see the direct-to-consumer aspect and, as the brand recognition grew, I was able to work with larger retailers and distributors, such as Summit and Eastwood.
In late 2007, it came to my attention that a company I had worked with closely in the environmental field and known for a majority of my life had decided to take their dealership spray-on bedliner product to the consumer market and develop a DIY bedlining kit. They had specific opportunities and were looking for someone with experience in the automotive aftermarket. This allowed me to get involved from the beginning in creating the brand, packaging and overall advertising/marketing plans. Looking to develop a B-to-B setup, we immediately started targeting national and regional distributors. Al's Liner has since become a well-recognized brand inside of a four-year span that has national and international distribution. This mix of occupations has taught me to handle all clients and presentations with thorough and consistent information and delivery.
What trends are you experiencing in the DIY market? What insights can you share of the common perception that the industry is trending towards a DIFM market?
The DIY market continues to grow, and with the innovations in products, I see hardcore do-it-yourselfers are able to get products and materials that were not available five or 10 years ago. The swing in the economy allowing shops to expand on profit centers is where I feel the DIFM trend is coming from. Some consumers see the benefit in spending a little more and having products installed for them, versus doing it themselves. A lot of shops and retailers steered away from this when the market slumped, but there will always be the folks, such as myself, who get satisfaction from a job well done and saving a buck or two.
When and how did you come in contact with Al’s Liner? Give us a little history about Al’s Liner.
I have known the Tomasino Family for many years and worked with them throughout my career in environmental consulting. Al's is the retail line for Scorpion Protective Coatings and Scorpion Truck Bed Linings, which has been a leader in spray-on bedliners since 1996. In 2008, they decided to compete in the DIY market offering the first high-solids option for a DIY spray-on bedliner. Al's proprietary formulation allows us to offer the highest solids content outside of the franchise high-pressure applications. With a simple application gun, anyone can apply our coating to virtually any substrate with minimal equipment required.
What experiences can you share about going to market in the midst of a recession and still experiencing significant growth during the first year of operation?
We were fortunate to have an aggressive CEO and personnel who understood distribution programs and had the connections and drive to get the product to market. We approached all levels of distribution, selling to jobbers, distributors and e-tailers while maintaining our program to ensure the growth was controlled and directed to keep the structure in place, which caught the attention of retailers and distributors alike. With a good combination of advertising and marketing, along with resistance of staying in front of key buyers, we were able to grow with leaps and bounds for four years running.
What “secret” techniques are you incorporating in order to maintain consistent double-digit growth?
We have no secret techniques; you have to develop solid products that perform as you say and ensure your program is lucrative for all involved. The right product, personnel and program can be an amazing advantage.
Tell us about the pros and cons of being situated in small-town America.
Small Town USA, is there such a thing these days? With the Internet and ease of travel we have now, you can be anywhere in a day's time, and most times conduct business from the comfort of your office. Sales personnel have to be at the right place at the right time and you cannot be afraid to spend time on the road, but it is not like the ’60s when you lived out of your car and literally went door to door. We are able to maintain lower overhead, but being just outside of Indianapolis has made it a perfect location for shipping and logistics.
Tell us a little about Performance Warehouse Association (PWA) and your company’s involvement in the association.
We are in our third year with the PWA. Being a long-time member of SEMA, we were looking for additional avenues to get outside of the traditional truck accessory distributors. One thing the recession did was force most distributors and jobbers to diversify the lines they carried. We took a chance and attended our first conference and saw immediate results.
PWA is a tight-knit group that works closely with vendors and jobbers alike. It has taught us many things about dealing with regional distributors and, as the PWA grows, you are seeing the national guys getting involved.
What role does attending trade shows play in your marketing plan? How critical is it these days to still attend trade shows (as an exhibitor)?
Trade shows are a key component to our marketing strategy; they keep you in front of the distributors, jobbers and consumers and allow you to learn much of what the market is looking for and how changes are developing and taking place. We utilize trade shows to meet with a multitude of clients in one location and continue our brand awareness and growth. An aggressive staff is key; everyone is a potential client, customer or education source. To be at a trade show and wait for people to come to you is a waste of time; you have to be aggressive and absorb as much time and info that you can while exhibiting. They can be expensive, so taking advantage of the opportunity is a must, but if handled well, will pay off time and time again.
What advice can you offer younger members in our industry in regards to working for a start-up or a new division of an existing company?
Be aggressive, make sure your products and programs are solid and perform as promised. Like anything, if you put the time in and lay the foundation you will see results. A sales staff cannot be afraid to make the call or presentation. If you do your homework and are persistent, you can gain access to clientele you thought was unobtainable. Start small, shoot big and work your tail off. It makes for great results and will give you a place in the industry before you know it.
YEN Member of the Month Spotlight
Did you know that YEN has a Member of the Month Spotlight on the SEMA
website and that anyone can be nominated? To view previous selections
or to make a nomination, visit www.sema.org/yen.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? YEN is!
Be sure to follow YEN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/yen and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
YEN Column in SEMA Member News
Read YEN's column featured in the November/December issue of SEMA Member News.
Join the SEMA Council Family
SEMA hosts 10 distinct councils and committees that represent
focused niches within the specialty-equipment industry. These groups
are comprised of elected volunteers (Select Committee) who guide and
direct council activities while representing the membership at large.
Although each council acts independently and represents a different
segment, they are all focused on the betterment of the industry as a
The value councils provide SEMA and the industry is beyond refute.
It is inspiring to witness a diverse collection of company
representatives, many of which are direct competitors, come together
and develop educational, training, youth awareness and networking
events that are, at the core, designed to give back and promote
business. An equally important council function is to ensure that
SEMA sustains a pulse on the industry and maintains a
presence with its members.
The question is often asked, “Why should my company join a council?”
The answer is simple. SEMA councils open the doors and provide you
exposure to industry leaders, decision makers, trendsetters and a
community of like-minded individuals who share your passion and desire
to see business succeed and prosper. Once the doors are open, it is your
responsibility to take advantage of the benefits by becoming actively
Learn more today.