FROM THE HILL
By Stuart Gosswein
Rock Chalk, Jayhawk
Aeromotive Hosts Kansas Representative Kevin Yoder
Like many other leaders in the automotive specialty-equipment industry, Steve Matusek started small. He formed Aeromotive Inc. in 1994 in Lenexa, Kansas, with dreams of applying aerospace techniques and processes to high-performance automotive fuel systems. The company blossomed by relying on three generations of engineering and racing experience. It is now a leading designer and manufacturer of fuel-delivery systems for racing, street and marine applications.
Having a chance to tour the high-tech company’s facility was a priority for U.S. Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS). Rep. Yoder was first elected to Congress in 2010 to represent Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District, which includes many cities and counties surrounding Kansas City. Among other initiatives, Rep. Yoder has sponsored legislation to help boost science, technology, engineering and mathematics employment.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to learn about a fast-growing performance company in my district,” said Rep. Yoder. “Understanding how SEMA-member companies are leading the way in new product research, development and manufacturing is invaluable.”
A fifth-generation Kansan, Rep. Yoder grew up on a grain and livestock farm. He attended the University of Kansas and graduated with a law degree. Before being elected to Congress, he worked at two law firms, served in the Kansas State House of Representatives from 2003 to 2011 and was a special assistant in the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Counternarcotics.
Rep. Yoder’s visit to Aeromotive took place as the company was arranging to travel to Las Vegas for the 2013 SEMA Show. Aeromotive debuted many new products at the Show, including the Phantom Fuel System, a brand-new drag-race-style fuel pump, and a new entry into the diesel performance market.
During the tour, Rep. Yoder met with employees who were responsible for the development, design and prototyping of these new products. He was able to observe how Aeromotive workers utilize computer-design programs to test new concepts.
“The company has a very hands-on approach,” said Matusek. “We tap into the intellectual resources of our employees, their engineering skills and their craftsmanship. We match that with the hardware and software necessary to produce the high-tech products demanded by our customers worldwide.”
Kyle Fickler, vice president of sales at Weld Racing and a member of the SEMA Board of Directors, also participated in the visit. Weld Racing is nearby, and Fickler and Matusek previously worked together at Aeromotive and now collaborate on a variety of performance and racing projects.
Both Fickler and Matusek are active leaders in SEMA councils and networks. They were accompanied by another SEMA volunteer leader, Vic Wood, who recently joined the Aeromotive team as vice president and general manager.
The visit included a chance to discuss issues impacting the company and its workers, including access to affordable health care, research-and-development tax credits and the enormous costs associated with business growth. In Congress, Rep. Yoder serves on the House Appropriations Committee and is concerned about reducing federal spending, balancing the federal budget and helping small businesses.
At the conclusion of the visit, Rep. Yoder was treated to a display of installed products. Matusek maintains several race vehicles, including a pro-mod race car and dragster. The vehicles provide an opportunity to test products along with demonstrating their use.
For more information on planning your own Congressional District Site Visit, please contact Stuart Gosswein in the SEMA government affairs office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEMA PAC President’s Club Spotlight: Brian Reese
Brian Reese is the vice president of engineering and business development for COMP Performance Group, which is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. Reese is a five-year member of the SEMA PAC President’s Club and the third member from his company to join. Scooter Brothers, COMP co-owner and chief operating officer, and Ron Coleman, COMP co-owner and president, are both charter members.
“I understand the importance of having a voice in politics that supports the interests and wellbeing of our industry,” Reese said. “By contributing to SEMA PAC, I am paying toward the future success and sustainability of our industry. President’s Club participation is a way to show support in a manner that motivates others to follow and affords nice benefits around key industry events such as the SEMA Show.”
For more information on SEMA PAC, please contact SEMA PAC Manager Christian Robinson at 202-783-6007 x20 or email@example.com.