SEMA: More Than Just A Show
A surprising number of SEMA-member companies know their association for only one thing—the SEMA Show. True, producing a world-class trade show is one of SEMA’s most important functions, as the Show enables tens of thousands of buyers and sellers to come together to do business. But in addition, the association is working on many fronts, to deliver programs and information in response to the needs of our members and the industry as a whole.
One of the most significant contributions is SEMA’s ongoing vigilance in government affairs. EPA overreach has been a very visible topic lately, including a situation in which SEMA uncovered a change in regulations that would have a significant impact on American motorsports and the businesses which support this activity. Within 24 hours of communicating our concerns to the community, more than 100,000 racers, industry members and motorsports enthusiasts signed a White House petition opposing the EPA proposal. Key legislators followed by launching the bipartisan “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016” (RPM Act), which confirms that it is legal to modify a street vehicle into a race car used exclusively at the track.
Another example of our government affairs work is a new law, championed by SEMA, that was recently enacted, making it easier to manufacture replica cars in the United States. The legislation marks a new era for the kit car industry, and would not have been possible without SEMA’s work with agencies like NHTSA and EPA, and long-term relationships with industry-friendly legislators and their staffs.
The fact is, the association is constantly working to create opportunities, especially when it comes to helping members grow sales. SEMA International Business Programs are another example of how we have helped member companies expand sales overseas, into growing markets such as China and Dubai. To help member companies gain a foothold in these markets, SEMA partners with the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, which has made substantial grants used to help defray expenses for qualified companies. New for 2016 is a pilot project to be held May 25–29, 2016, in Melbourne, Australia. SEMA-member companies will be able to meet with pre-vetted buyers from the region and tour customizing shops to explore market opportunities first-hand.
Most recently, the association launched the SEMA Career Center, an online employment resource designed specifically to help our members identify and recruit qualified individuals to work in their companies. This resource was created in response to companies speaking up about a lack of qualified young people seeking careers in our segment of the automotive industry. Using the Career Center is easy. Students and potential recruits are able to create a free profile, upload and store a résumé, and search for a job that best fits their skills and interests. Employers can also use this tool posting positions at www.sema.org/jobs to get connected with qualified job seekers and students interested in internships.
Another lesser-known opportunity is the annual Exhibitor Summit, coming up June 20, 2016, in Las Vegas. This program helps newer exhibitors and experienced hands learn how to get more return on the resources invested at the Show and how to manage costs. Attendees get a chance to work one-on-one with Show experts to develop strategies and learn new ways to have a successful SEMA Show. SEMA covers attendee hotel and food during the conference.
In this issue you’ll find cross-indexed listings of member companies, and information about these member benefits and many others that work for the industry 365 days a year. I encourage you to take advantage of our programs and services—after all, these are the industry’s resources being put to work for your benefit. Don’t miss out, and be sure to contact SEMA’s membership team if you want to know more about how to get started.