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Coker's Kawasaki earns SEMA's highest award

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Coker's Kawasaki earns SEMA's highest award

Wade Kawasaki, executive vice president of the Coker Group, will enter the Specialty Equipment Marketers Association (SEMA) Hall Of Fame on July 26, 2013.

In making its decision, SEMA cited Kawasaki’s position as one of the automotive hobby’s most influential business leaders and his more than 30 years of experience in the automotive aftermarket.

“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by my peers in an industry I truly love,” says Kawasaki. “I’ve been blessed to get to work with so many people I enjoy, and if it wasn’t for the mentors that I met in getting involved in SEMA, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Kawasaki was introduced to the hobby at 10 years old when he began working for his father at a local Shell station pumping gas and doing light mechanical work. In the following years, Kawasaki worked for a number of SEMA member companies, where he had a variety of retail and managerial responsibilities.

In 1987, Kawasaki founded Exports International, a company specializing in the wholesale distribution and export of American-made automotive aftermarket products to overseas customers. Kawasaki serves as the executive vice president of The Coker Group; his responsibilities include overseeing new business acquisitions, structuring global distribution and manufacturing, as well as managing corporate governance, marketing and overall corporate infrastructure. He is based out of the Coker Group’s new West Coast headquarters in The City of Industry, Calif.

Prior to this year’s Hall of Fame recognition, Kawasaki also has been honored with several prestigious awards and has held key positions with SEMA. They include:

* SEMA Young Executive of the Year in 1994;

* SEMA Person of the Year in 2007;

* Recipient of the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network Athena Award in 2010;

* SEMA board member for three consecutive terms from 1996-2002;

* member of the Automotive Parts Advisory Council, focusing on the auto parts trade in Asian markets from 1999-2004.

In addition to the ceremony, to be held at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center in Pomona, Calif., Kawasaki also will recognize legendary car customizer George Barris, as well as former SEMA Executive Director Eric Grant and drag racer Joe Schubeck.

For additional information on Wade Kawasaki or the Coker Group, visit www.cokertire.com.

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