Why I’m Running for SEMA Board Of Directors

The Automotive Aftermarket is a hotbed of innovation, fueled by passionate individuals who transform dreams into reality.  There is no better industry in which to work and live. Today, I bring a voice to the board from first generation, hands-on businesses‚Ķ the shops, installers, builders, and idea factories that drive innovation. While passion comes naturally, many of us pursue our dreams without sufficient guidance and education, truly learning business operations and management the hard way.  Help is available.

SEMA is an endless resource of experience, knowledge, education, history, camaraderie, and mentorship.  I am committed to connecting members with these critical resources to help them launch their ventures, fuel business growth, and realize their dreams for themselves, their families, and our industry.  

I routinely collaborate with various stakeholders, including local government officials, educational institutions, and charitable organizations, and I understand the importance of clear communication and collaboration skills.   These abilities empower leaders and teams to recognize needs, craft a shared vision, and work effectively to achieve the desired outcome.   

The Automotive Aftermarket Industry provides my team and family a rich and fulfilling life.  I am an industry steward and advocate, working to grow its future in the marketplace and protect it in legislation.  I believe it is my responsibility to share my experiences and skills with others. By working together, we will elevate not only ourselves, but the entire industry‚Ķensuring its future success and reaching new heights just as I have.

PASSION AND EXPERIENCE

I am deeply involved in the automotive aftermarket industry. With over 20 years of experience as a restoration business owner, overseeing a team of 32, and a previous career as a legal assistant, I’ve gained invaluable real-world expertise in business ownership, team development, real estate, finance and daily operations management.   

I’ve achieved a Master Certification in Shop Ownership from the Drive Shops program learning essential topics such as KPIs, financial strategy, business operations, marketing, and human resource management. I have honed my leadership skills through programs like Discover Leadership and the Vistage Chief Executive Group. These experiences equip me with strategic thinking and executive-level insights vital for effective leadership.

I routinely collaborate with various stakeholders, including city councils, educational institutions, and charitable organizations, and understand the importance of clear communication and collaboration skills.   These skills empower teams and leaders to recognize needs, craft a shared vision, and work together efficiently to achieve the desired outcome.  

VOLUNTEERISM

I have dedicated myself to professional and leadership development, working with various organizations to enhance my skills and expertise.  I am an active member of SEMA and PRI, and I currently serve on the HRIA Select Committee.  Previously, I have volunteered in ARMO and SBN.

FOCUS ON EDUCATION

I am passionate about business growth and expansion, having achieved sustained annual revenue growth, diversified business offerings, and strategically acquired multiple shop-related properties.  Community engagement and education are at the heart of my work. I regularly advocate for automotive careers, present to students, and participate in industry events. I’ve dedicated myself to educating the next generation of automotive enthusiasts by volunteering at local high schools and colleges, speaking at career days, job fairs, and hiring and mentoring students.  

MY COMMITMENT

Looking ahead, I’m eager to bring my passion, diverse skills, and commitment to learning to the SEMA Board Of Directors. I believe my perspective as a business owner and service provider in the automotive industry will help drive positive change and will be a supportive voice for the grassroots and small business owners who continue to innovate and grow our industry.

I fully recognize the complexities and challenges involved in leading this organization. Once all considerations have been thoroughly evaluated and a decision is reached, I will wholeheartedly support the board’s directives and work collaboratively to achieve our shared goals.

When elected, I will advocate for all SEMA members, promote education, and enhance SEMA’s outreach efforts to connect with builders and installers year round. Together, we will ensure a vibrant and successful future for everyone who calls the automotive aftermarket industry their home. 

– Kelle Oeste

Kelle Oeste for SEMA Board Of Directors 2024