Brian Appelgate

2003 Inductee

Inductee Photo


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Biography

Brian was a very dedicated Chairman of the Board,” said Van Woodell of Weathers Auto Supply. “It was like it was his full-time job.”

Woodell’s description of Appelgate is not uncommon. The current president of B&M served as SEMA’s Chairman of the Board from 1997-1999. During that time, talks for the SEMA Technology Transfer Program began, the association’s international outreach expanded, the association’s in-house market research department was created, plans for the SEMA consumer awareness program were initiated, member services grew and the council structure was cultivated.

Appelgate was also the motivating force behind the creation of the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) and lobbied for the SEMA/Truck Cap & Accessory Alliance (TCAA) merger.

Outside of his Chairman of the Board position, Appelgate actively participated on the Market Study Committee for more than 10 years, chaired countless SEMA committees (Investment, Market Study, National Management, Long Range Planning and more) and sat on dozens of SEMA task forces.

“Brian was very generous of his time and sharing of information,” said Hedman Manufacturing’s Charlie Van Cleve, who was chair-elect under Appelgate. “I can’t think of anybody who has worked harder for the association—or the industry—than Brian.”

“He definitely put in the hours and had the heart to focus on the industry as a whole,” said Wade Kawasaki of Racing Sports Akimoto. Kawasaki met Appelgate about 20 years ago and served as a board member under Appelgate. “Both in business and on the board, it’s been phenomenal working with Brian. I have never met a less self-serving board member or chairman.”

“I don’t think there was a chairman before or since Brian who spent as much time doing the job as he did,” said Ron Coleman of Competition Cams. Coleman served as Chairman of the Board prior to Appelgate and the two worked together very closely.

“After my term, Brian took SEMA to a higher high,” said Coleman. “He followed through on a lot of initiatives, and he introduced a lot of his own initiatives. He carried the ball and made a lot of progress.”

Although his contributions to the association and the industry are many, he is most proud of the Technology Transfer Program. Appelgate encouraged the association to meet with Jacques Nasser of Ford Motor Co., where they introduced the idea of developing a cooperative program between the OEM and the aftermarket. As many know, Ford was the first to introduce a technology sharing program with SEMA members. Since then, General Motors, Chrysler and Toyota, with its Scion brand, have introduced similar programs.

Despite his accomplishments and contributions, Appelgate is honored and surprised to be inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame.

“Being in the SEMA Hall of Fame is a huge honor,” said Appelgate. “But to get there, you can’t do it by yourself. You can come up with ideas, but the truth is that you need people to advance those ideas and execute them. The SEMA staff and board did an exceptional job at making those ideas come to fruition.”