DIAMOND BAR, Calif.The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) recently inducted four automotive industry stalwarts into its Hall of Fame.
The inductees are George Barris, Eric Grant, Wade Kawasaki and Joe Schubeck. SEMA called its Hall of Fame an honor that recognizes an elite group of individuals for raising the stature or growth of the automotive specialty-equipment industry.
The trade group said hundreds of industry professionals paid tribute to the newest Hall of Fame members during the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, July 26, in Pomona, Calif.
The inductees are:
Legendary vehicle customizer George Barris is well-known for his celebrity creations that include the Batmobile (television version), Munster Koach, KITT from Knight Rider and the Dukes of Hazzard's General Lee. In addition to building vehicles, Mr. Barris authored many how to articles for car magazines.
SEMA said that as a pioneer and icon in the industry, Mr. Barris continues to influence the industry's styles and trends and is a regular attendee at the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
Eric Grant: When issues such as clean air and emissions began to arise in the 1960s, SEMA said it turned to Mr. Grant for guidance. At the time he represented the government agency that eventually evolved to be California's Air Resources Board (CARB).
Mr. Grant met with SEMA members and advised them about the situationso much so that Mr. Grant became an ally for the association and eventually came to serve as SEMA's executive director, SEMA said.
In that post, Mr. Grant was instrumental in advocating for the SEMA industry and helping to solve a number of industry compliance issues, SEMA said.
Wade Kawasaki: During Mr. Kawasaki's 30-year career, he has volunteered and contributed to dozens of SEMA projects, according to the Diamond Bar-based association. In addition to serving several terms on SEMA's board of directors, Mr. Kawasaki is a past chairman for the SEMA Show Committee, Governance Committee, International Task Force and Audit Review Committee. SEMA said he was instrumental in the creation of the SEMA Political Action Committee (PAC) and the SEMA Young Executives Network (YEN), and served as the association's secretary/treasurer, working alongside the board.
Mr. Kawasaki also has received the 1996 SEMA Young Executive of the Year, 2003 SEMA Chairman's Service Award and 2007 SEMA Person of the Year honor.
Joe Schubeck is known by many as Gentleman Joe, according to SEMA. He began his top-fuel racing career in the 1960s, and while he spent many years successfully racing, the association noted that Mr. Schubeck's greatest contribution to the industry came during his post-racing career.
He founded Cleveland-based Lakewood Industries, which manufactured life-saving racing products such as the bell housing that many continue to refer to simply as the Lakewood.
Mr. Schubeck was a former SEMA board member and served on the association's first Safety Committee. An avid enthusiast and contributor to the industry, he continues to attend the SEMA Show annually.