Published on May 23, 2014

SEMA names four for Hall of Fame

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (May 23, 2014) — The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has selected four auto performance industry veterans — Nile Cornelison, Jim Cozzie, John Menzler and Fred Offenhauser — as its 2014 Hall of Fame inductees.

The inductees will be recognized as part of the festivities during the SEMA Installation Gala on July 18 at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, Calif.

Mr. Cornelison was involved in the industry as a machinist, racer, retail store owner and warehouse distributor (WD), which made him uniquely qualified to lead the industry in what SEMA called “unchartered territory.”

 In 1982, Mr. Cornelison founded Direct Connections Inc., now better known as DCi, which bridged the communications gap among different parts of the industry. Later he introduced the industry’s first telephone-based dealer locator service, paving the way for electronic cataloging.

Mr. Cozzie was the 2004 SEMA Person of the Year winner and served as SEMA chairman in 2008–09, the association said. As a key executive at RTM Productions and Brenton Products, he continues to amplify the industry’s message through the programs they produce.

Mr. Menzler of COMP Performance Group is described “as a person who loves the work but hates the awards.” SEMA said he has dedicated his life to his job and the industry, including being one of SEMA’s most active volunteers. Mr. Menzler has been involved on several SEMA councils and committees, including charity projects to aid abused and chronically ill children.

He was instrumental in establishing a number of valuable SEMA programs, the association said, including the SEMA Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Education Day.

He died in 2013 at age 67 after a prolonged battle with cancer, During that ordeal, Mr. Menzler continued to inspire and encourage with his “Mornings With Menzler” messages sent out regularly — often from his hospital bed. Such actions were typical of the man who was named 2011 SEMA Person of the Year and 2010 SEMA Mentor of the Year.

Mr. Offenhauser began his career in the industry in the 1930s when he went to work for his uncle, SEMA said, who bears the same name — Fred H. Offenhauser.

In 1944, he launched Offenhauser Sales Corp. and began making aluminum intake manifolds, which were sold in every speed shop and distributed by most major distributors over the years. SEMA said he was among the original charter members when SEMA was founded in 1963. Although he died in 1992, his company continues to manufacture and sell intake manifolds and operates out of the same building that the company has occupied since the mid-1950s.

The SEMA Hall of Fame’s four newest members join 143 previously inducted industry icons and innovators already in the Hall of Fame. To order tickets, visit www.sema.org/galatickets. For more information about the SEMA Hall of Fame, visit www.sema.org/hof.

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