SEMA, the trade association representing the $43 billion automotive specialty equipment industry, presented its top honors during the annual SEMA Awards Banquet last week at the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
Winners of the prestigious awards for 2018 are:
- SEMA Person of the Year: Melanie White, president, Hellwig Products
- Gen-III Innovator of the Year: Jon Pulli, CEO, Turn 14 Distribution
- SEMA Rep Agency of the Year: Bob Cook Sales
- SEMA Distributor of the Year: Turn 14 Distribution
- SEMA Manufacturer of the Year: Aeromotive Inc.
With more than 3,000 industry luminaries and business owners in attendance, the SEMA Awards Banquet is considered by many to be the industry’s premier gala – similar to the Oscars for the entertainment industry.
“The SEMA Awards Banquet is a highlight of the week,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “After several days of business at the SEMA Show, it’s a great time to switch gears and celebrate the passion that fuels the industry. The award winners are all examples of this passion and the innovation that we’ve seen all week. We’re honored to be able to recognize them with these industry awards.”
With entertainment from blues-inspired rock-pop music artist ZZ Ward, the banquet provided show-goers with the ultimate networking and social event, according to SEMA. New SEMA Hall of Fame members Donnie Eatherly, Ed Pink and Chris Thomson also were honored, along with many industry leaders, rising stars and volunteers.
Melanie White, who was recently named as the first woman president of Hellwig Products, received the association’s most prestigious award for SEMA Person of the Year. Family owned and operated, Hellwig Products is one of the original SEMA Show exhibitors from the 1967 show at Dodgers Stadium. White began working at the company in 2005, but has been long associated with the company her great-grandfather founded in 1946. Today, White is an active industry volunteer and leader, most recently assuming the role as chair of the SEMA Cares Committee.
The 2018 GEN-III Innovator of the Year award was presented to Jon Pulli, CEO of Turn 14 Distribution Inc. At 36-years old, Pulli has done a lot for the aftermarket industry by reinventing the field of wholesale distribution by bringing new technologies and ideas to the space. At Turn 14 Distribution, Pulli created a transparent, effective and efficient sales channel that allows manufacturers greater access to dealers.
Along with the Person of the Year award the GEN-III winner, Bob Cook Sales won the SEMA Rep Agency of the Year Award, Turn 14 Distribution was named SEMA Distributor of the Year and Aeromotive Inc. was selected SEMA Manufacturer of the Year.
According to SEMA, the awards recognize outstanding commitment to the industry and a high level of involvement with SEMA committees, task forces, councils or board of directors’ participation.