A Message From Wade Kawasaki

SEMA News—November 2018


A Message From Wade Kawasaki

SEMA Chairman of the Board

  Wade Kawasaki

Welcome to the 2018 SEMA Show, now in its 52nd year! This is where we get to see the newest products, vehicles and innovations that the automotive world has to offer. The industry is growing—now valued at $43 billion—and our research forecasts the upward trend will continue as we head into 2019. As your association chairman, I’m excited to welcome you to the place where passion meets progress in our industry, and I’m confident in saying that success starts here.

The SEMA staff, as well as the bountiful volunteers that serve on councils, committees and networks, work tirelessly to gather information needed to grow and protect our industry. This work includes finding solutions and support for manufacturers so that our industry’s growth is not stunted by the many threatening regulations it faces. It is our task to help companies navigate the continuous maze of government regulations, laws and taxes placed on our goods.

To serve our members, we developed a guide to complying with California’s Proposition 65, a law that enforces specific product warning labels for products sold in California. Additionally, we are helping businesses understand the Nexus Tax Laws, and how they can comply. Our SEMA Washington, D.C., staff also developed a bulletin to help companies understand the scope of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a privacy and security regulation for European citizens.

One of our largest initiatives in 2018 has been the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act (RPM Act). The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment passed the RPM Act, but there is much more to be done before it becomes law. We’re counting on our members to continue raising awareness. If left unattended, these threats can be detrimental to our industry, so it’s the responsibility of all SEMA members to fight the good fight.

A great responsibility is ushering the next generation of young men and women into our industry to keep the natural cycle of our members healthy and strong. On that front, I’m especially excited about some of the projects and ideas to promote youth engagement, which will ultimately bring more bright, young talent to our industry.

One SEMA volunteer network is working to recruit more college-level engineering students by collaborating with academic advisors at colleges, bringing awareness to the many engineering careers within our industry. Another group, working with SEMA Research and Education teams, has built a similar plan on the high school level. Another incentive is our SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund, which offers financial assistance to high school seniors and current college students, as well as loan forgiveness for employees of SEMA-
member companies.

Another great initiative funds a “Town Hall” function exclusively for young professionals to provide a forum for those under 40 years of age. And yet another council has initiated a speed networking event here at the Show that will efficiently match up SEMA-member manufacturers with reps who can help expand their business.

As you can see, SEMA council and network volunteers are firing on all cylinders, making significant contributions to the association’s strategic initiatives in helping secure the future of the industry. We’re counting on you to be a part of it. If you are not involved already, I hope you will consider attending any of the council receptions and meetings that are taking place here at the Show.

And to every attendee, regardless of age or affiliation, I’d like to extend my best wishes for a successful Show. In the words of Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success,” and that speaks volumes of our mission at the SEMA Show. With so much passion and innovative genius on display, it’s easy to understand why, for so many of us, the path to success truly does start here.


Wade Kawasaki

SEMA Chairman of the Board

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