Key Reasons To Re-Elect Chris Douglas To The SEMA Board Of Directors

Fellow SEMA Member:

Next Tuesday (May 14th), the election ballots for the SEMA Board of Directors will be emailed to each company’s primary SEMA contact, and sadly only 10% of the membership historically votes. This is a critical time for our industry, and I’m confident the membership will step up this year with a great voter turnout. I encourage you to research all of the candidates (bios here) and choose those that best represent your views and values.

To that point, I respectfully ask for your consideration, and I have supplied some materials below for your review. I am vying to continue filling one of three available Board seats representing the Manufacturer’s category. Quite simply, it is critical to the success of my re-election campaign that I earn your support. This Board of Directors election will be very close, and every vote is important in deciding who will fight for our industry in the years ahead. The industry that we love has some challenges moving forward, and it will take strong, energetic leadership that’s not afraid to ask the hard questions to help SEMA navigate a rapidly changing marketplace.

While all of the BoD candidates are friends and fine industry representatives, there are some clear contrasts between us. I have done my best to outline those differences and my immediate priorities in the attached campaign mailer.

From my experience as a hands-on racer/enthusiast to over 25 years of business leadership experience (both large & small companies) in this industry, I feel that I bring a unique blend of skill set, passion and dedication to my SEMA volunteer roles. I have been extremely fortunate in my career that I have been able to work daily at COMP Cams, alongside two previous SEMA Chairmen of the Board and three SEMA Hall of Fame members. The knowledge of the industry, the association and life lessons gained from those individuals has been invaluable in shaping the leader that I am today.

Three Key Reasons To Re-Elect Chris Douglas

  1. Strong & Proven Board Leadership – As a sitting Board member, I understand the complexity of the issues that face us today and the diversity of the segments we represent. Even more importantly, I understand how we got to where we are today. No orientation or adjustment period needed, if re-elected, I am able to continue delivering results for the membership from day one of my term.
  2. Diverse Industry Experience – From small start-ups to one of the industry’s largest privately held corporations, I have worked in SEMA member businesses of all sizes, and I understand the unique challenges faced by each. Additionally, I have a broad understanding of the diverse market segments that make-up the SEMA membership, from off-road businesses to the wheel & tire manufacturers.
  3. Unique Perspective – Candidly, I think one of the greatest contributions that I offer the Board is the ability to see problems and solutions that others simply can’t. A properly functioning Board is all about offsetting skill sets and diverse perspectives, and over the last three years I have added a unique viewpoint that others simply “couldn’t” or “wouldn’t” voice. My fellow Board members will tell you that I can be determined when debating the issues, but I am always fair and usually bring a unique viewpoint to the discussion.

Below I have included comments from a few of our colleagues (and industry volunteers) that I hope you find useful in making your decision.

“I have been fortunate to work on projects with Chris and have always admired his integrity, work ethic, and commitment to our industry and to SEMA. Chris is a dedicated volunteer, a great family man, and I would encourage you to re-elect Chris Douglas for the SEMA Board of Directors.” Joel Ayres, Executive Director, AACF

“Chris Douglas has dedicated his entire career to the aftermarket, and as a leader in the performance market that runs a manufacturing company that still makes parts in-house just like we do, I support Chris in his run for the SEMA Board of Directors. SEMA needs board members who understand the importance of American manufacturing and the pressures we face in the form of government regulation and legislation as well as outside pressure from overseas manufacturing. SEMA needs leaders that will hold the staff accountable to the needs of its members, and I believe Chris will do that.” Rick Love, Executive Vice President, Vintage Air, Inc.

“Chris Douglas has my vote! Chris represents hardcore racing to me, being a former race car driver and still often found at little race tracks on weekends. With both a manufacturing and marketing background, Chris has a “pulse” on the needs of the racing industry. His vision, where he wants “action,” not talk, can help the racing industry move forward into the future. My vote is going to Chris Douglas for re-election to the SEMA Board of Directors.” Judy Kean, Partner, EPARTRADE

You can view my full list of industry endorsements here.

I have the strategic vision and commitment to continue helping this industry tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Working together, I’m confident that we can position SEMA for a bright future. It won’t be easy, but I’m up for the challenge and ready to be your voice on the SEMA Board of Directors.

One final request: I would deeply appreciate you reaching out to your industry friends, sharing my information and asking them for their vote. Every vote counts.

Thank you for your consideration. Win or lose, I look forward to working with you in the future, and please know that I have been truly humbled by the opportunity to serve the SEMA membership for the last three years on the Board of Directors.

Click to view my campaign information sheet: #Chris4SEMA

Answering The Call

Recently the question of “Should the SEMA Show be opened up to more consumers?” was posed to the 2019 SEMA Board of Directors candidates via the Automotive Aftermarket Networking Group on Facebook. Since the question was posed by a longstanding SEMA member and generated some great dialogue in the follow-up comments, I feel a responsibility to provide my perspective on the issue.

This is a great topic, albeit a very complex one, that deserves more meaningful discussion among the membership and SEMA Board. In my last three years on the Board, it frankly has not been widely discussed as we have been mostly dealing with urgent legislative/regulatory matters (RPM Act), next generation engagement along with financial oversight/guidance.

First, as a sitting member of the Board of Directors, let me make the obligatory “these opinions are my own and in no way represent the opinions of the SEMA organization or staff” statement. With that out of the way, my position on this matter has remained consistent throughout my current Board of Directors term, but I am always listening for new perspectives on this issue and will continue to refine my stance as those are presented.

My Board Position – I feel strongly that my personal opinion on this issue is secondary to my obligation to represent the consensus of the SEMA members, particularly the manufacturers within the SEMA membership as that is the category for which I have been elected. Based on the input that I have received recently, I do believe the consensus on this issue is evolving, and I feel it is important for the SEMA Board to “check the temperature” on this topic every 2-4 years to ensure that the wishes of the membership are being best served. In the year ahead, I would like to see new surveys on this issue with the potential for a referendum if there is sufficient interest among the membership. Honestly, I don’t know that there is enough interest in changing our current approach to make this a priority issue for the Board, but I am certainly willing to if the research shows otherwise. My “gut feel” is that there is vocal minority on both edges of the issue, and the vast majority of the members are content with the current approach.

Since the question specifically asked about my “personal opinion” on the topic, I will address that candidly below while once again noting that my obligation is to represent the consensus, regardless of my personal feelings.

My opinion based on 16+ years as an exhibiting manufacturer is that I would like to see the following:

Create Media Preview – I support adding a show wide, official media preview slot to the Monday afternoon prior to the show opening. The members of the media are critical to telling our story, and they deserve a dedicated time slot that allows them to interface with exhibitors with minimal interruption. Additionally, this allows them to “get the scoop” prior to the official show opening and generates additional pre-show buzz that benefits all attendees and the overall industry.

Strengthen Show Credential Criteria – I support tightening down the criteria for show credentials during the B2B (Tuesday – Thursday) portion of the show. The exhibitors and trade members should be able to conduct high-level business discussions with less distractions than exists today. With that being said, it’s worth noting that the majority of the credential abuse comes via the exhibitor guest badges. We as exhibitors create much of the consumer traffic on the show floor so collectively we must be prepared to sacrifice this right/privilege to curtail the number of consumers walking the show floor.

Consumer Day – I support turning Friday of show week into a consumer day. I believe this will provide less incentive for consumers to work around the system to gain entry Tuesday – Thursday, provide revenue that can be used to reduce exhibitor booth fees, and it will also give us the consumer interaction that serves to expand/promote the overall industry. In some ways, we have already turned Friday into “Consumer Day” via SEMA Ignited so I’m not sure this is as big a change as it seems on the surface. I believe we collectively have an obligation to grow the industry (even if the ROI doesn’t directly benefit every exhibitor) by creating consumer interest and what better way to do that than to offer consumers a day at the show, capped off with seeing the industry “in motion” at SEMA Ignited? There are certainly challenges that will need to be addressed with a Consumer Day, but I have confidence that SEMA staff could navigate them “if” that was the directive from the membership.

I appreciate Jason Sakurai posing this question as we need to tackle more tough conversations such as this one rather than sidestep the issues. Our industry is experiencing rapid change, and the only way we can properly serve our members is to be responsive, transparent and accountable for the actions of the association. That’s what I signed up for in 2016 and what I plan to advocate for over the next three years if re-elected. #Chris4SEMA