Ready, Set ... SEMA!

Ready, Set … SEMA!

SEMA’s 60th anniversary promises to bring a spectacular show.

After the last 15 years or so of being bombarded with Marvel and DC movies, we’re used to seeing superheroes fly out of Hollywood to band together for the greater good. But in May 1963, it was a different set of superheroes that met at a model-toy manufacturer in Tinsel Town. For the first time, some 20-odd competitors within the budding automotive performance aftermarket discussed joining forces. These early talks soon created the Specialty Equipment Market Association — better known as SEMA — which now serves over 7,000 members, comprises a $50 billion industry and hosts one of the largest trade shows in the nation.

SEMA’s 60th anniversary promises to bring a spectacular show. Here are some of the new updates and highlights coming Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

MSO Symposium

The MSO Symposium is an annual event directed by many of the most experienced, high-growth executives of the leading multi-shop operations (MSOs) in the automotive collision repair industry. Designed for collision repair facility owners, executives and industry leaders, the meeting will take place on Monday, Oct. 30 at the Mirage Convention Center in Las Vegas prior to the start of the SEMA Show. The one-day conference will begin with a light breakfast and networking as well as provide information and insight on the economy, financial and investment opportunities, and new vehicle and new technology repair adaptations. The conference will conclude at 7 p.m. after a networking reception. 

SEMA Show Kick Off Breakfast

Start your show experience Oct. 31 at 8 a.m. in the Westgate Paradise Event Center with the latest innovations from new product award winners as well as the presentation of the Manufacturer of the Year and the Channel Partner of the Year awards. Enjoy a full breakfast and network with a global community before the show officially opens.

Collision Industry Red Carpet Awards Night

On Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Westgate Las Vegas Ballroom A&B, join your fellow collision repairers in recognizing the greatness of the industry as BodyShop Business, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS), I-CAR, Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) and Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) hand out awards to standout individuals. In addition, the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) will be celebrating its 40th anniversary that night, so this double-celebration is sure to be a special occasion. 

I-CAR Collision Repair Training

I-CAR will offer 12 seminars over the course of a three-day period from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. The seminars will cover the same four topics daily, so if you can’t make a seminar on one day, don’t fret — you have two other opportunities to see it. The topics include:

  • Color Theory Applications for Vehicles: Whether your goal is a perfect color match or creating that perfect custom color, this instructor-led course covers a variety of topics important to refinishers, such as the effects of light on colors, how to evaluate colors (hue, value and chroma), color movement, color “flop” and tinting, and examples of available tools and techniques. Participants will engage in interactive exercises and demonstrations from experts on color evaluation and color match. This is a ProLevel 3 requirement for Refinish Technicians on the path to Platinum recognition. 
  • MIG Welding Technology & Applications: Back by popular demand, this hands-on welding session is especially created for collision repair attendees and builders/rebuilders, covering safety, tool usage and information helpful in making welding equipment purchase decisions. The course includes instruction on both basic and some advanced techniques. It covers MIG welding techniques for aluminum and standard strength steel along with a detailed explanation of welding equipment that builders may not have considered. 
  • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) Overview & Considerations: In this I-CAR non-credit course, you will learn how ADAS rely on various components within a vehicle to function correctly, including its structure, suspension, wheel alignment and sensors. With an ADAS expert, this course will also discuss how ADAS technology and electromechanics power steering and automatic braking systems (ABS) interact in ADAS-equipped vehicles.  
  • Electric Vehicle Overview & Considerations: In this I-CAR non-credit class, you will learn about the electric vehicle (EV) intake process and high-voltage battery handling. With an EV expert, you’ll discuss the importance of personal and environmental safety equipment, how to interpret an EV’s battery scanner data, and the knowledge and skills required to reduce the potential for harmful or fatal errors.

SCRS Repairer Driven Education

The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) has put together a robust education lineup for the SEMA Show. Beginning on Monday, Oct. 30, the IDEAS Collide Showcase will feature several fast-paced presentations to kick things off. Over the following two days, 18 different seminars will cover best shop practices in everything from improving employee retention to understanding the benefits of repair planning vs. estimating. Finally, on Nov. 2, the education series will culminate with the OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit.  

IDEAS Collide Showcase

Kick off SEMA week at the IDEAS Collide Showcase: a one-of-a-kind event featuring 10 fast-paced presentations designed to stimulate thought, innovation and resolution of business challenges with thought leaders both in and out of the industry. Audience members will be intrigued by individuals and topics that seek to rattle the status quo with ambitious ideas that could have a transformative effect on the industry and your business.

This session, happening Monday, Oct. 30 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., will feature the following presentations:

  • “A Health Plan Your Employees Can Love: Fantasy or Within Reach?” by Ben Simmons, chief strategy officer, Gravie
  • “Culture: The Real Job Market Currency” by Michael Bradshaw, vice president, K&M Collision
  • “Being Burdened With the Burden of Proof” by Richard Desvousges, application engineering specialist, 3M Collision
  • “Mentoring: Opportunity Amidst Labor Crisis” by Ryan Weber, CEO, Mentor Mentee and Marc Brune, business development manager, Mentor Mentee
  • “Death of the ‘Estimator’ Role” by Andrew Batenhorst, body shop manager, Pacific BMW Collision Center
  • “Growth Through Acquisition – What You Need to Know” by Bing Wong, managing partner, Collision Builders
  • “The Power of One More Booth Cycle Per Day” by Jason Garfoot, application engineer, 3M Collision
  • “The Culture Code” by Tracy Dombrowski, director of training, Collision Advice
  • “Creating a Build Sheet for Your Garage Liability Insurance” by Shaughn Kennedy, senior underwriter, SPARK Underwriters
  • “Fixing the Faucet: How to Increase the Flow of Technicians Into the Industry” by Alex Crays, auto body instructor, Career Technical Education Center

OEM Collision Repair Summit

This three-part session, taking place Thursday, Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m, will cover understanding OEM insurance, a North American automotive material outlook and implications for collision repair, and more.

For more information on Session I, click here.

For more information on Session II, click here.

For more information on Session III, click here.

SEMA Overland Experience

This year, the Overland Experience is moving to the Diamond Lot, adjacent to the West Hall. In order to give attendees a more immersive introduction into the world of overlanding, SEMA is providing a customized environment in the outside setting these products were designed for. The exhibit will be accessible via the LVCC Loop West Hall Station and the West Hall, which will feature the latest in trucks, SUVs, off-roading, powersports and utility vehicles.

The SEMA Overland Experience will include dozens of customized vehicles — from pop-top-equipped trucks to sprinter vans to specialty trailers — featuring recreational and utility gear, such as refrigerators, storage racks and units, makeshift kitchens and solar chargers — everything to make off-the-grid travel fun and convenient. In addition, the exhibit will feature industry experts discussing this market’s opportunities and trends and how they can add important profit centers for aftermarket businesses.

SEMA New Products Showcase

The 2023 SEMA Show New Products Showcase, the world’s largest display of new automotive aftermarket products, is relocating to the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Spotting trends becomes simple by having thousands of products all in one location. The SEMA mobile app also allows attendees to “favorite” products, so they can maximize their time at the show and then use the app as a resource year-round.


This year marks the inaugural SEMA Fest, a two-day, full-throttle festival that fuses car culture and music. Held Nov. 3-4 at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds and marking the end of SEMA Week, SEMA Fest is open to the public and will feature over 20 world-class musical acts, including Imagine Dragons, Incubus, Wiz Khalifa, AJR, Third Eye Blind, Bush, Walk The Moon and more. This new event will be separate from the trade show in order to include automotive enthusiasts who also want to be part of the SEMA Show experience. The festival will also feature a full slate of immersive automotive lifestyle events, a consumer marketplace, world-class drifting, motorsports competitions, freestyle motocross and more.

For more information, visit

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