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November 18, 2011

Accolades abound at 2011 SEMA show

Sema_show_logo_1564by Diana Merrill Claussen
Contributing Editor

At this year’s SEMA convention in Las Vegas there were over 106,000 in attendance with over 1,700 exhibitors. There was so much to see – everything from professional drivers testing out new 2012 car models, to customized rides of every shape and size with many futuristic customizations and accessories.

From exhibits and unending streams of vehicles, roaring engines and new car unveilings to very special events there were many who were honored during the convention and others who were encouraged by many in attendance. As a woman within the industry I also noticed quite a few exhibitors who instead of having scantily clad models portray their products corporations opted for more believable ambassadors, (their educated female employees) who are proud to work for their female friendly organizations. 

3M ladies2One such business which had strong and successful females at the helm was 3M. The ladies are not only employees of the adhesive company, they are explicitly knowledgeable about the products their employer produces and recommends for just about any type of vehicle repair imaginable. From Bondo® body work to windshield, and upholstery repair the female crew at 3M were serious about showing their expertise within the industry. Many of the ladies took the time take visitors to different areas within the 3M exhibit and explain processes of many of the vast products on display. “We offer many quick fix products and they also include written and online instructions on how to use them,” Auto Care Marketing Manager Cathy Markovitz said.

The female team also hosted special appearances and product demonstrations by West Coast Customs Chip Foose. Needless to say the dedicated 3M team members were vital in ensuring the 3M booths smashing success.

Bob C mug2011
Seeing more ladies at events such as SEMA was quite encouraging as well as meeting businesses who pride themselves on not only being female friendly but also appreciative for the increase of ladies within the industry. Bob Carnahan the publisher of aftermarket publication Restyling Magazine shared his personal thoughts regarding the subject.

Nbm 2800 w midway blvd 029When I come to SEMA, “My wife Donna runs the magazine booth at the show,” Carnahan said. “Donna really puts her all into it and is an integral part of my business. She also helps me with many other aspects of because we discuss everything.” Carnahan noted a personal realization about the steady increase in women running businesses. “There is a steady increase of females within the industry such as TCAA president Annie Meintz who was very progressive within the industry and got us to realize females in this business are really strong. I always thought it was good to bring more women into the industry and to see more and more females within it.”

Throughout SEMA there were many other accolades and awards given to many female leaders and businesses who promoted female and family participation. One organization who focused on increasing their family ties was NHRA who held an event which recognized the new generation of racers, young enthusiasts, and families. During the event NHRA featured some of their organizations ‘first families’ such as the Tasca, Force, Tonglet and (Jeg) Coughlin families. The association also included props to Courtney Force, (John Force’s daughter) and her desire to encourage other females to enjoy the races as much as she.

Bernice2Another momentous event was held by SEMA Businesswomen’s Network who honored top females within their industry for their leadership and contribution to females within the industry. One award winner was Ms. Bernice Sanders who was bestowed SBNs Woman of the Year Award which she humbly accepted. There was also a female student who attended SBNs event and was awarded a scholarship by SBN and the organizations sponsors.

M&Mopar LadyThe accolades were awarded to females across the automotive industry spectrum on behalf of their represented organizations. One such winner was Mopar representative Tricia Hecker who accepted multiple Consumers Choice awards on behalf of Chrysler Group. Texas Automotive Media Association sponsored the event and distributed the honors. “Receiving these awards because of our products is great,” Hecker beamed. “We are also delighted that our Fiat 500 won SEMAs Hottest Sport Compact award as well, we are honored.”

Seeing females leading many aspects within our industry is not only an exciting occurrence but a very momentous step in the right direction.


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