fbpx

Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco. Ed enjoys sports of all kinds and is a part time stand-up comedian.

 

He can be reached at era39@aol.com.

Thursday, 08 October 2020 16:39

Online and Just in Time: SEMA 2020 Becomes SEMA360

Written by
SEMA’s Vice President of Events Tom Gattuso and his team tried to make SEMA 2020 happen, but when it looked impossible, they started developing SEMA360, a 100% virtual trade show. SEMA’s Vice President of Events Tom Gattuso and his team tried to make SEMA 2020 happen, but when it looked impossible, they started developing SEMA360, a 100% virtual trade show.

Index

Gattuso has been with SEMA for nearly two decades, but these are uncharted waters for even an industry veteran. He knew if the show couldn’t happen the same way it has since 1967, there was a viable alternative, but they would have to move quickly.

 

“We knew that with 90 days left, we had to make hard decisions,” he said. “We looked at several approaches and even considered holding it completely outdoors. With health and safety as a top priority, we studied several preventive measures to minimize risks for all those at the event, including required use of face coverings, addition of hand sanitizing stations, increased cleaning, one-way aisles and more. But in the end, it wasn’t going to happen, so we began pursuing Plan B.”

 

Gattuso knew that without SEMA, it would leave a void in the automotive industry that couldn’t be filled easily.

 

“Our role has always been to represent our membership the best way we can and help them to succeed in their businesses,” he said. “The SEMA show benefits the industry at large, and holding it every year in the fourth quarter is a major deal for body shops. They can stay ahead of trends and acquire new technology that can help them for the next three to five years and even longer.

 

"So, that’s why we came up with SEMA360 where attendees and exhibitors can do almost all of the same things they could at the actual show. SEMA360 addresses that need by leveraging SEMA’s exclusive buyer database to connect manufacturers with resellers.

 

“We are comfortable where we are with this new digital component,” Gattuso said. “Much of the work we’re doing now will be in place for many years to come and will continually bring value to the whole SEMA experience. We’re investing in our future and seeing some positive signs as a result. We will have many of the majors participating at SEMA360 and although our goals are modest, we are very pleased with the industry’s reaction to date.”

The SEMA360 Education Program will still feature more than 30 professional development seminars and candid conversations with industry-leading celebrities and personalities. Attendees will be able to sign up for an unlimited number of seminars at no additional cost, when registering to participate in SEMA360.


Read 597 times