Jim Smith Honored at WTC Reception

SEMA Member News—January/February 2016

Jim Smith Honored at WTC Reception

  WTC Hall of Fame
The WTC inducted Jim Smith of Ultra Wheel Company into its prestigious Hall of Fame. Carl Robinson (rear), a member of the WTC select committee, took part in the presentation.

Amid the throngs and deluge of business at the 2015 SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, members of the Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) took the time one evening to network, reunite with old friends, enjoy food and beverages, and honor one of their number with induction into the WTC Hall of Fame.

The WTC Hall of Fame is a prime indicator that the honoree has made a lasting impact on the industry at a national level. Hall of Fame inductees are leaders who have enhanced the technology, professionalism, dignity and stature of the wheel and tire marketplace. Against a backdrop of the glamour of Las Vegas as well as the automotive industry’s brightest stars and hottest products, the WTC inducted Jim Smith of Ultra Wheel Company into its most prestigious circle.

Founding owner and director of Ultra Wheel Company Jim Smith is an entrepreneur and racer who has dedicated his life to the automotive industry. Smith has been involved in the aftermarket wheel business for decades and is an active philanthropist and racing advocate. Ultra Wheel is currently one of the largest U.S. aftermarket wheel manufacturers. It is a fully integrated company that engineers, designs, produces, sells and distributes throughout the United States and internationally. Smith has been a mentor to many in this business, and he deserves the honor.

The WTC also sponsored a seminar specific to the wheel and tire industry on Wednesday, November 4, during the SEMA Show. Titled “Aftermarket Wheels and Tires—Right Sale, Right Fit,” the session was presented by Wayne Williams of Exsell Marketing, who is the WTC chair-elect, and Sean MacKinnon, director of automotive training development for the Tire Industry Association.

They pointed out that an informed sales and installation team inspires confidence in customers. The Tire Industry Association and the WTC support wheel and tire professionals with new and updated resources such as the WTC Ride Guides and a TIA report entitled “Advanced Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems.” Such information equips sales staffs with the data-driven knowledge they need to educate their customers about the effects of plus-sizing decisions on vehicle dynamics and provides technicians with the resources they need to correctly and quickly install aftermarket wheel and tire packages while maintaining TPMS integrity and accuracy.

WTC leadership is ever mindful of what it can do to help its members and their companies expand sales and ensure safe, quality products for their customers, and there are myriad ways for rank-and-file members to become more involved. Service on the select committee is one of them.

The select committee is elected by the members of the council to serve a two-year term. Each committee member participates in monthly conference calls and meetings that are held at various trade events throughout the year. Each member volunteers for at least 20 hours throughout the year, and some volunteer even more. Some share their experiences and vision, others provide creative solutions to challenges the member companies are facing, and others get their hands dirty and get it done.

The leaders of the WTC will gather again this year at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, for the council’s annual long-range planning meeting. This meeting focuses on bringing value to WTC-member companies. The last 18 months have been extremely challenging for all of the WTC’s businesses, and the council is dedicated to utilizing SEMA’s resources to further benefit each WTC member.

Guiding the group’s effort is the council’s mission statement to “identify common problems and opportunities relating to the wheel and tire industries that the council, as an interested body of companies, can address for the common good.” A handful of exciting objectives are being developed for the council over the next year.

Science and Technology Task Force

This group focuses on aftermarket and OEM advances that affect the industry. From creating wheel standards to improved processes for tire-pressure monitoring systems and electronic stability control, the Science and Technology Task Force plays a pivotal role in the industry’s advancement.

Education Task Force

The Education Task Force is charged with developing successful programs that allow members to enhance their businesses. The task force is responsible for partnering with the SEMA Educational Institute to create and promote online learning resources.

Communication and Marketing Task Force

This group focuses on membership outreach, growth and retention. Communication services ensure that there is proper dialogue between leadership and membership.

SEMA Show Task Force

The SEMA Show in Las Vegas provides the backdrop for critical networking functions. This group focuses on making WTC’s awards reception an ideal place to get together, honor one another, and network with all those who share a common passion.

For more information about how to become more involved, e-mail Clayton Drescher, SEMA’s senior manager of councils, at claytond@sema.org, or call 909-978-6696.

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