PRO on the Value of Volunteerism
SEMA’s councils provide companies with the opportunity to belong to a niche-specific group designed to advance the market. Volunteer leadership drives the programs that benefit the membership.
More than 220 companies belong to SEMA’s Professional Restylers Organization (PRO). PRO represents the collective interests of all SEMA-member companies serving the restyling and accessory market, be they manufacturers, warehouse distributors, manufacturers’ reps or restylers and installers. Some of the initiatives that PRO leads include dealer awareness, marketing tools and resources for restylers, networking opportunities and industry recognition.
SEMA’s councils provide companies with the opportunity to belong to a niche-specific group designed to advance the market. Each council has an elected select committee that serves as the council’s leadership. These individuals are nominated and elected by industry peers. Each select committee member serves a two-year term and has the opportunity to become council chair-elect and eventually chairman.
SEMA caught up with a two veteran select-committee members to get their viewpoints on the value of volunteerism and the PRO council’s initiatives.
SEMA Member News: Why do you feel that it is important to be active in the council? What are the benefits of volunteer service?
Mike Bacon of Webasto: Maintaining an active role in the PRO council allows you to take part in identifying and discussing the topics that are most important to the restyling industry. Just by being a part of the conversation, whether during council teleconferences, during a long-range planning meeting or at the SEMA Show, all members become better informed and integrate the benefits into their companies.
Jeff Varick of Brandmotion: Council service provides an opportunity to better understand the issues underlying the health and future of our market. Being involved in helping to provide solutions to issues is what motivates me most to contribute.
SMN: How has the restyling and accessories business changed in the last five years?
MB: I mainly see the speed at which new products come to market and the compact window of sales opportunities they present being the most prominent changes.
JV: The electronic safety products category has become a more mandatory category for our member restylers to participate in. Most of these new technologies are being offered with a high-quality user experience through manufacturers who supply the restyler market.
SMN: What do you think lies ahead for the restyling industry in terms of opportunities and challenges?
MB: The ability for restylers to remain relevant to their customers is the main challenge. This means they need to stay focused on running a good shop and stay in-tune with new products, trends, and continue to seek out the best manufacturers to partner with.
JV: Opportunities will continue to abound in safety electronics because of the increasing sophistication and affordability of software-based sensor systems. The opportunity for restylers is really understanding these products through hands-on experience and being able to communicate their benefits with confidence to their customers.
SMN: What upcoming PRO programs/benefits should members be excited about?
MB: As the landscape of technology in new cars continues to grow and change, the PRO council will be working to make sure that the aftermarket-accessories industry takes the lead in product development, application and installation. In general, all SEMA members should be looking at the SEMA Garage, which is a great benefit.
SMN: Why is it important to participate in council nominations and elections?
MB: Believing in the industry is important, and helping to take care of that industry means choosing the best people to continue in leadership roles at the council level.
JV: Members need to decide who represents them and determine a good balance of voices on the council. That’s done proactively through nominations and then ultimately through elections.
Nominations for the 2016 council elections opened February 23 and will close March 21. Go to www.sema.org/sema-council-nominations to nominate an outstanding industry member to serve on a council or network select committee. Once each select-committee task force has reviewed the nominations, a final ballot will be e-mailed to the key contact for each council-member company. Cast your vote and make a difference in the future of the industry.