Who Will Compete for the Launch Pad Title at the 2015 SEMA Show? You Decide

SEMA Member News—July/August 2015

Who Will Compete for the Launch Pad Title at the 2015 SEMA Show? You Decide

  YEN Launch Pad
Ian Lehn (fourth from left) of BOOSTane won the 2014 Launch Pad competition.

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 final five will make their pitches in person to an expert judging panel at the SEMA Show, including automotive industry veterans Ron Coleman, Jessi Combs, Doug Evans, Wade Kawasaki and Myles Kovacs. Voting for the final five will take place July 20–September 10.

In this next step of the competition, the public decides the fate of these competitors. The top five will advance to a live competition at the SEMA Show. Their business pitches are available on YouTube, and the voting will take place on the YEN Facebook page, www.facebook.com/semayen.

The entrepreneur who makes the best pitch to the five judges will walk away with a prize package designed to expand his or her business. The 2015 prize package will include:

  • One 10x10-ft. booth at the 2016 SEMA Show
  • One full day of photography-studio usage and up to three hours of free custom scanning services at the SEMA Garage
  • The equivalent of a full-page ad in 4-Wheel & Off-Road or Hot Rod.

SEMA Show attendees are invited to watch the top five competitors pitch their businesses live to the expert panel of industry judges as they strive to win the grand prize. The event will take place Wednesday, November 4, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. in room N258 of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Introducing Rory Connell, YEN Chair-Elect

Rory Connell, sales manager at Gibson Performance, is YEN’s newly appointed chair-elect. He will serve alongside Chair John Rosanbalm for two years until his term as chair begins. Connell took a few minutes to share his experiences as a YEN member with SEMA Member News.

SEMA Member News: Why are you involved in YEN?

Rory Connell: I am extremely passionate about my career and this industry. Being involved is a way that I can personally support my peers and do my best to ensure the current and future state of the aftermarket. I am very fortunate to have worked in many segments of the industry, and sharing my experiences with others is something that is very important to me.

SMN: What have you gained from your network involvement?

RC: The biggest things that I have learned are the benefits of SEMA outside of the Show itself. There are so many departments and councils, being able to navigate through them is very helpful. Another major plus has been the industry connections. If you look at the rosters of the councils and networks, there are some pretty heavy hitters in the industry. Being on a council has given me the opportunity to interact with and learn a great deal from these people. They are all volunteers, so they are all more than willing to share their knowledge.

SMN: What value do you find in network membership?

RC: I’m not going to lie: Wearing the badge at events is pretty cool. People think I’m way more important than I really am.

The biggest value is being on the forefront of industry topics and issues. Having this knowledge and being able to apply it to the way we do business is a huge benefit.

SMN: What do you hope to accomplish during your term?

RC: YEN has had a huge amount of exposure the last couple of years with the Launch Pad and Power Tour programs. Taking advantage of this exposure and engaging our demographic in the industry and those coming into the industry is my biggest goal. Creating networking opportunities for peers to learn from each other is essential for both personal and industry growth.

SMN: Why should individuals join the network?

RC: Is there any better way to learn how to solve a problem you’re having than from someone who has already experienced it?

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