Founded in 2010, the MPMC has historically held its annual reception at the Performance Racing Industry Show in Indianapolis ever December. This year they inducted two more deserving members into this exclusive club. Ron Johnson, one of the founding members of the council, a Dick Berggren, a legendary journalist and broadcaster are now part of this prestigious Hall. Johnson was presented the award by COMP Cams President, Scooter Brothers, and Kirk Fredrickson, Publisher of Speedway Illustrated, presented the award to his magazine’s founder Berggren.
Consisting of a diverse group of aftermarket manufacturers, the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council bring together manufacturers, distributors, retailers, publishing companies, auto restorers, street rod builders, car clubs, race teams and more. MPMC’s purpose is to promote the manufacturer – media relationship and to further raise the banner for automotive aftermarket success across the board.
Dick Berggren – MPMC Hall of Fame Inductee
When Dick Berggren was eight years old, his father took him to a stock car race- and it was love at first sight. “It was like those stories when a guy meets a girl and knows immediately that they are destined to become a couple and spend the rest of their lives together,” said Berggren in a 2012 interview with Car & Driver’ Magazine. “It was exactly like that.”
After obtaining a PhD in 1970, Dick worked as a psychology professor at Emmanuel College in Boston for nine years, at the same time racing modifieds and sprint cars at New England short tracks. He retired from driving in 1981 and began his long and storied career in journalism and broadcasting. Did he like it? At one point Dick was working for three different TV networks and editing two magazines; Stock Car Racing and Open Wheel. “Those where days of no sleep,” he recalled in the same interview.
In 1999, Berggren started his own magazine, Speedway Illustrated, which he still runs to this day. Berggren retired from television in 2012, but is far from “retired.” Along with Speedway Illustrated, he is working on the “North East Motor Sports Museum,” which is set to open on the grounds of New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the near future.
Among his accomplishments and contributions to motorsports, Dick was also an original member of the World Motorsports Society. Founded in 1994, the WMS was a lobbying group open to racers, sanctioning bodies, engine builders, parts suppliers and tracks. Its purpose was to address concerns and challenges to all different stakeholders in worldwide motorsports. It very quickly transitioned to a SEMA Council of parts manufacturers, the MPMC. As a non-manufacturer, Dick was never a member of MPMC, but his contributions to its foundation make him a deserving member of the MPMC Hall of Fame.
Ron Johnson – MPMC Hall of Fame Inductee
Ron Johnson chaired the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council from 2004 to 2006 and served four years prior to that on the Select Committee. But those statistics hardly tell the story of Ron’s influence on the council.
“I am always conscious of how I use my time,” said Johnson in an interview after receiving the news of his Hall of Fame induction. “I was working at Moroso at the time, and had about a 45 minute drive home. Being located in New England, I realized that SEMA staff and some of my fellow MPMC volunteers still had three hours of work day left on the west coast. So almost every day, on my drive home, I was on the phone working on MPMC and SEMA stuff. I’m sure folks felt like I was badgering at time, but I’m certain it helped us to move the needle on things like the Business Guidelines Manual and Media Trade Conference.”
Fellow MPMC Select Committee members at the time verify that Ron kept things moving, especially on the Media Trade Conference. Ron pushed to improve everything about the event from media outreach to meeting schedules and even the choice of menu items.
“Ron was around during the early years when MPMC was formed,” said SEMA Board Chairman Scooter Brothers of COMP Performance Group. “He was instrumental in developing a vision that made MPMC a formidable Council, which made and continues to make a difference. Ron never knew the meaning of “can’t do” and his leadership allowed MPMC to reach the prominence it enjoys today. Ron was a leader and a visionary in the early days of MPMC and there is no way MPMC would be what it is today without Ron’s efforts.”
Accolades like this verify that Ron deserves membership in the MPMC Hall of Fame. Today, Ron works in the industrial construction industry, but keeps his hands in the specialty aftermarket through an online retail business that he operated with his son, Next Speed Shop.