He credits Chad Blood, formerly of Wheel Pros Inc.'s American Racing unit, for the inspiration to pursue an aftermarket career. “Chad first hired me at American Racing and gave me the chance to learn wheels, tires and all the other products out there.”
Mr. Stevens said the Internet has become a huge part of the automotive industry.
“We find many of our products online, and we sell a lot of products online,” he said. “One of the most important trends in wheels and tires would have to be the explosion of truck wheels. Everyone wants that off-road look with on-road performance. Customization and new products have always been desirable and will remain an ever-changing aspect of the industry.”
In order to land on SEMA News' 35 Under 35 list, honorees must be nominated by one or more industry peers. SEMA News said it looks for candidates who are making an impact through their leadership within their organization or business. Entrepreneurship, commitment, insight, innovation, integrity, responsibility, demonstrated skill, involvement and success within the marketplace weigh heavily in the selection process.
Also on list is Aston Liyanarchi, 32, director of product development at SB Wheel Manufacturing in Dade City, Fla.
As head of design at SB Wheel, Mr. Liyanarchi designs and develops products that will help bring production of wheels back to the U.S., SEMA News said. During his career, he has designed more than 700 different wheels.
“The wheel industry is continuously changing, much like fashion or music trends,” he told the association's magazine. “Consumers push the limits with ever-changing personal tastes, and wheel designs, diameters, widths, offsets and fitments are becoming more aggressive.
“As a manufacturer, we are continually pushing the envelope of design and production. We have to create wheels that are lighter and stronger while using innovative designs and advanced materials so that our products stand out.”
Others named to the list include:
- Matt Beenen, 28, vice president, product and marketing, GrimmSpeed, a supplier of polished exhaust components for the sport-compact market.)
- Shiva Bhardwaj, 24, CEO, Ansik Inc., producer of Pitstop, which uses Bluetooth technology to identify engine issues in real time, and ShockLock, which prevents injuries from failed gas struts found in vehicle hoods and trunks.
- Andrew Betz, 27, operations manager, Affordable Fuel Injection Inc.
- Jake Carnevale, 25, web developer/lead graphic designer, UnderCover Truck Bed Covers.
- Keith Charvonia, 32, Industrial Designer, Airaid Filter Co.
- B.J. Elmore, 34, general manager, RideTech,
- Chris Clark, 27, director of sales and marketing, Kooks Headers and Exhaust.
- Tanner Gould, 28, president, Blackworks Racing and Fast Track Distributing L.L.C.
- Jeremiah Graham, 34, owner, Jeremiah's Carstar Collision
- Mitch Hines, 28, fabricator, painter, builder, Kustom Automotive
- Tiffanie Hartenstein, 30, director of operations, Oracle Lighting
- Steven Jessup, 29, senior design engineer, JRi Shocks
- Jonathan Klinger, 33, vice president, public relations, Hagerty Insurance
- Jason Kencevski, 33, CEO, Speedmaster, an Australian online reseller of automotive spare parts
- Bradley Kline, 31, director of sales, Gateway Classic Cars
- Vini Madrigal, 28, owner/builder, Vini's Hot Rods
- Joel McKay, 30, vice president, engineering and R&D, APR L.L.C., an aftermarket engineering company
- Ernie B. Manansala Jr., 33, founder, Kolab Interactive Agency
- Chris Milne, 33, export manager, Turbosmart,
- Tim Palazzolo, 34, owner, Gap Racing Inc.
- Cris Payne, consumer brand specialist/custom vehicle builder, Westin Automotive
- Kevin Patrick, 33, founder and president, Exomotive
- Tommy Perkins, 29, owner/upholsterer, Seams Ridiculous Upholstery
- Lucas Priamo, 25, creative director, Theory Communication & Design
- Jesse J. Rohr, 32, U.S. Sales & Marketing Director, MBRP Inc.
- Jon Pulli, 33, CEO, Turn 14 Distribution Inc.
- Morgan Schultz, 28, sales and marketing manager, Silent Running
- Torry Skurski, 34, content developer, Motovicity Distribution
- Troy Spackman, 31, owner/fabricator, Legacy Innovations
- Raymond Smega, 30, vice president, general manager, ACCEL Performance Group
- Jason Starkey, 27, president, owner, Starkey Products
- Martin Trinh, 34, president and CEO, R1 Concepts Inc.
- Justin Tomney, 23, co-founder, Royal Automotive Accessories
To view bios and other background of the winners, go to the SEMA News website.