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SEMA names Kawasaki chair-elect

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SEMA names Kawasaki chair-elect

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) announced Wade Kawasaki, president and COO of the Coker Group, has been elected to chair-elect of the SEMA board of directors.

He will serve two years as chair-elect and will become the chairman in 2017.

Kawasaki has been devoted to the automotive industry since he was 10 years old, when he worked as an attendant at his father’s gas station in Los Angeles, says SEMA. Over the past 37 years he has worked for every type of business in the industry including manufacturing, warehousing distributor, and retail specializing in strategic planning, international sales, product development and business development.

“I am proud and humbled that I have been chosen to serve as the next SEMA chair-elect,” says Kawasaki. “This campaign has been an amazing journey – I have met so many wonderful people, heard their stories, and learned about their businesses. A rising tide floats all boats – and it will be my mission as chair-elect and chairman to ensure the continued success of our industry.”

Kawasaki has been a SEMA member for more than 35 years and has been deeply involved with the organization. He has been elected or appointed to several key positions within the organization including three consecutive terms on the SEMA board of directors, two consecutive terms as SEMA secretary/treasurer, and two consecutive terms as chairman of the SEMA Show Committee.

His other SEMA involvements include being a member of the SEMA Show Long Range Planning Task Force, a chairman of SEMA National Management Conference, sponsor of the SEMA Show Prayer Breakfast, and a speaker/facilitator of multiple SEMA Show seminars. Kawasaki’s hard work and dedication has also been recognized with several industry awards including SEMA’s Person of the Year, SEMA’s Chairman’s Service Award, SEMA’s Young Executive of the Year award, and his induction into the SEMA Hall of Fame in 2013.

“I am passionate about the automotive aftermarket and I have experienced the challenges faced by every business in our industry,” Kawasaki says. “I am prepared to focus that passion and experience on helping SEMA member companies succeed.”

In his new position as chair-elect, his top priorities will be recruiting top new talent and attracting young customers to the aftermarket; growing business globally and meeting the challenges of communication, export proficiency, and intellectual property rights; guiding the growth of the SEMA Show; and navigating the complexities of an evolving distribution system.

As the president and COO of the Coker Group, Kawasaki oversees the 12 Coker brands and six operating companies including Coker Tire. Headquartered in both Chattanooga, Tenn., and City of Industry, Calif., the Coker Group manufactures wheels and tires in the U.S.

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