The members of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Wheel and Tire Council Hall of Fame exhibit “the best in the industry.” And for 2018, the group gave that honor to only one man: the late Wayne Williams. He was known as a writer – and monthly columnist for Modern Tire Dealer – as well as a salesman, designer, husband and father, said Gregory Parker, chairman of the Wheel and Tire Council. He also founded ExSell Marketing Inc. And he exuded the characteristics of the council’s Hall of Fame members, with his “creativity, dignity, integrity, being industrious.” Parker said Williams enhanced the status of the industry “while significantly contributing to its growth, progress and professionalism.”
Among all of those words, it was Williams’ creativity that stood out. Parker said it was as if Williams was nearly too creative, because “he had so many creative ideas, so much zeal for these ideas, so much passion for every idea that it was hard to choose which great idea to put into effect.”
Parker said there are times leaders have to know when to set aside good ideas to reach for the great ones. “I truly believe our hall of fame inductee tonight lived that principle more than most.”Williams was committed to doing things the right way, and delivering innovating solutions to make business better for everyone. “He was a visionary, a damned hard worker and a friend.”
Williams’ wife Tia and his son Ryan attended the Wheel and Tire Council event at the 2018 SEMA Show. Ryan Williams said it would have been he and his dad’s 16th show they attended together.
He said his dad’s “passion for the wheel and tire aftermarket (business) will forever be remembered” by anyone he worked with. Williams outfitted all of his vehicles with custom wheels, and would stand behind someone else’s tire counter to sell tires – just for fun. He loved to sell a good tire at a great price, and pushed new ways to move units.
The younger Williams also shared one of his father’s trademark tips: “You always said communication is 90% of everything, and the last 10% is just showing up.”