Chattanooga, Tenn; August 2011 - Coker Group, parent company of Coker Tire, the world's largest supplier of collector vehicle tires and wheels, has named Wade Kawasaki as its new Executive Vice President.
Mr. Kawasaki, who was working as a consultant with Coker Tire's owner, Corky Coker, on several projects, will now be in charge of business acquisitions, structured global distribution and manufacturing, as well as corporate governance and infrastructure. His goals with the new position are to increase global sales and production with strategic business plans and his knowledge of the automotive aftermarket.
"I met Corky (Coker) when we served together on the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Board of Directors in 1996," noted Mr. Kawasaki, regarding his relationship with the owner of the Coker Group. Before his position as Executive Vice President of the Coker Group, Mr. Kawasaki founded, acquired and sold many companies, including Avanche Corporation, Exports International, Racing Sports Akimoto, DUB Air, and Performance Marine Distributors. Other highly acclaimed positions include SEMA Secretary Treasurer, SEMA Person of the Year, SEMA Show Committee Chairman and the inaugural SEMA Governance Chairman.
Longtime car guy and industry professional, Mr. Kawasaki likes a wide variety of automobiles and currently has a 1961 Chevy Impala, which was a featured buildup on the Powerblock TV program, Muscle Car. The car is highly modified with air suspension and features a 500hp, 409ci engine. He and his wife also own a 1932 Ford roadster, which looks like a traditional hot rod, but has a stroked LS1 power plant for modern performance.
Mr. Kawasaki said, "While in high school in the late 70's, I worked at my father's corner gas station and spent most weekends at Orange County International Raceway." Continuing his background as a car guy, he stated, "I started out in a '57 Chevy powered by a 283, then stepped up to a B Econo Dragster and then into a Blown Alcohol Dragster--I ended up owing more money to the local Speed Shop than I was making, so I went to work for Sheldon Konblett (SEMA Hall of Fame) at "SC Performance Wholesale" and our Service Center retail Speed Shops."
Corky Coker, owner of the Coker Group states, "With Wade's background in business and his passion for the automotive hobby, he's a great fit for Coker, and I feel like he'll drastically enhance our company's global presence."