Steve McDonald, SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs, passed away unexpectedly September 26 at the age of 56. Steve was SEMAs lead advocate on legislative and regulatory issues affecting the multi-billion dollar specialty automotive industry, encompassing everything from auto manufacturers to performance and restoration parts. McDonald presided over and was the prime catalyst in the expansion of SEMAs role in government affairs advocacy at the state and federal level.
During his 20 year tenure with SEMA, his work and that of the government affairs office he managed had a tremendous positive effect upon the automotive hobby in general. Many of the privileges hobbyists continue to enjoy are owed to his tenacity and dedication.
Steve was the chief architect of the SEMA Action Network (SAN) comprised of grass roots hobby activists working for the passage of hobby friendly legislation. Additionally, he developed SEMAs State Automotive Enthusiasts Leadership Caucus comprised of over 700 lawmakers from both parties. His model legislation covered everything from personal property tax issues and zoning law to titling laws and nitrous oxide use. Steve realized the need to balance corporate and hobbyists interests for the good of all, and without his leadership the automotive hobby would be markedly different today.
Hobbyists and co-workers alike knew Steve as a loyal friend and fierce advocate who had a biting sense of humor. While Steve was not a hobbyist himself, he had a penchant for all things BMW and an abiding respect for the talents of restorers and modified builders. He leaves behind an enduring legacy which continues to support and protect vehicular enthusiasts.