A Message From Wade Kawasaki
SEMA Chairman of the Board
It is my pleasure to welcome exhibitors, attendees and enthusiasts to the 2017 SEMA Show. It’s here that more than 160,000 attendees with a common interest come together to see the latest trends in automotive innovation reflected in revolutionary new products and vehicles showcasing them in a highly effective marketplace. There’s no question about it: If you are looking for opportunity, you have come to the right place.
For many of us, the SEMA Show has become a long-standing annual tradition—a gathering place to renew old friendships and create new ones. As your chairman, I’d like to extend a special welcome this year to the younger generations of SEMA Show attendees. We have a tremendous opportunity for our association to set in motion new programs designed to attract the interest of today’s most creative youth. Through these initiatives, we are supporting industry growth and fostering the enthusiasm, energy and talent of the young people who will one day become leaders of this industry.
One of our new programs, the Student Career Day, was launched last year to bridge the gap between young enthusiasts and the aftermarket, allowing numerous SEMA-member companies to introduce their businesses to more than 650 high-school and college students from across the United States. Building upon this program’s success, we also launched a job portal on the SEMA website, enhancing students’ access to internships and diverse career opportunities in our industry. So if you see any of these students at the Show, please take a moment to encourage their interests and share your insights.
For the past year, there has been a variety of events ranging from 4-Wheel Jamborees to the Street Machine Nationals where builders under the age of 27 competed to qualify for our newest youth-engagement project, SEMA’s Young Guns competition, which is an offshoot from the SEMA Battle of the Builders contest. While Battle of the Builders has been very successful in spotlighting some of our industry’s greatest talent and outstanding creations, Young Guns provides a very different competition focusing on young builders creating equally inspiring cars with the capability and affordable components they have access to through the aftermarket. It also affords the Young Guns a chance to meet with industry icons who provide insights into how they achieved their goals.
This year, we’ll be bringing a group of Young Gun builders to the SEMA Show, who might have never had the opportunity to attend before, so that they can network with some of the top craftsmen and builders in our industry. Here again, their insights will be shared via social media with a worldwide audience. From there, they will gain access and understanding, giving them a voice in the industry and the ability to reach beyond previous boundaries to achieve lifelong goals.
We hope you’ll be among the thousands of attendees who stay for Friday’s special SEMA Cruise and the culmination of the Battle of the Builders judging at SEMA Ignited. At that special event following the Show, the public is able to get a firsthand look at cars that would otherwise go unseen. Here again, this enables expanding consumer awareness, connecting an endless array of products with those who are passionate about their vehicles.
The SEMA Show is an automotive gathering like no other, and it is once again set to deliver the best our creative network has to offer. It’s your hard work, passion and innovative genius that makes the aftermarket industry great, and we have no doubt that this year’s event will make you proud to be a part of it all.
SEMA Chairman of the Board