Kawasaki named Coker president

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (April 10, 2014) — Coker Group has promoted Wade Kawasaki to president and chief operating officer.

Corky Coker, the vintage tire distributor’s CEO, said Mr. Kawasaki, who had been Coker Group’s executive vice president, will oversee the group’s multiple brands and its six operating companies. His duties will include managing overall corporate infrastructure, strategic planning, acquisitions and business development.

Mr. Kawasaki will now spend substantial time at Coker Group’s corporate headquarters in Chattanooga, Mr. Coker said, but also will maintain an office in the company’s new West Coast Los Angeles-area headquarters in City of Industry, Calif.

Mr. Coker will remain as the group’s chief executive, and Kevin Loveday will continue as chief financial officer.

(Coker Group photo)
Wade Kawasaki

“We are very pleased that Wade has agreed to take this new leadership position,” Mr. Coker said. “Wade’s 30-plus years of high level business experience in the automotive aftermarket—both in the USA and abroad—will help us continue to build our global presence as we continue to accelerate the growth of the Coker Group. I am very excited about Wade’s new appointment, which will allow me to focus on many things I want to do for our company and with my family.”

Among Mr. Kawasaki’s achievements, according to Coker Group, are founder/CEO of Avanche Corp., a group of small companies that includes Exports International, the company his wife Rose still operates. The firm specializes in the wholesale export distribution of American-made automotive aftermarket products overseas.

Mr. Kawasaki has received several automotive industry awards such as the Specialty Equipment Market Association’s (SEMA) Person of the Year; SEMA’s Chairman’s Service Award; the SEMA Young Executive of the Year; and the Northwood University Education Award.

He was inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame in 2013 and additionally has been elected or appointed to key SEMA posts including three consecutive terms on the SEMA board of directors, two consecutive terms as SEMA secretary/treasurer, two consecutive terms as chairman of the SEMA Show Committee, and also was appointed by the United States Secretary of Commerce to the United States Automotive Parts Advisory Council.

Coker Group’s family of brands includes Coker Tire Co. Inc.; Honest Charley; The Great Race; Phoenix Race Tires; Specialty Wheel; Roadster Wire Wheels; Coker Cycle Co.; Chestnut Properties; Wheel Vintiques; and DragRaceTires.com.

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When is the last time you attended one of the national tire industry trade shows, such as SEMA, ITEC or the North American Tire & Retread Expo?

I try and take in at least one show a year.
30%
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