DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (June 28, 2002)—The Specialty Equipment Market Association has chosen one of its own, Christopher J. Kersting, to become its next president, succeeding Chuck Blum, who served as the association's chief of staff and is retiring July 1.
Mr. Kersting, 40, previously SEMA's executive vice president, has worked with the approximately 4,500-member-company association for more than a decade.
His connection with SEMA began in 1989 when he became its outside legal counsel and one of its government affairs representatives. He joined the staff in 1996 as vice president of legislative and technical affairs and headed the group's Washington office until 2000.
In 2000, he became executive vice president and relocated to SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar. During his two years as SEMA executive vice president, he reorganized several SEMA departments to better use existing talent and facilitate growth.
“We're trading the best for the best, as Chuck steps aside and Chris moves up,” said SEMA Chairman Nate Shelton, chief marketing officer for K & N Engineering Inc., Riverside, Calif. “SEMA prepared for this executive move with a deliberate two-year transition period, and our preparatory work will pay off well not only for the association but also for the entire industry.”
Under Mr. Blum's guidance, SEMA grew from a handful of member companies to become a major force in the automotive industry, the association said. Upon his retirement, Mr. Blum will become president emeritus.
“As far as Chuck's concerned, I can't say enough good things,” Mr. Shelton said. “He's been the builder and the keystone during these two past decades of phenomenal growth for SEMA. He has extraordinary insight, great business knowledge, and almost a sixth sense about what to do next.”
Mr. Kersting received his credential as a Certified Association Executive (CAE) earlier this year. He has a law degree from Washington College of Law, American University (Washington) in 1989 and earned a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Colorado in 1985.
Before joining the SEMA staff, Mr. Kersting also handled legal matters for many SEMA-member companies and served as general counsel for such industry institutions as the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), the Performance Warehouse Association (PWA) and the Auto International Association (AIA). AIA chose him as its AIA Person of the Year in 1995.