John Waraniak

Vice President of Vehicle Technology

Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)

John Waraniak has been vice president of Vehicle Technology at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) since May 2006. In this role, Mr. Waraniak helps leading automotive aftermarket companies understand the latest advanced vehicle technologies and develop solutions to capitalize on new product and business opportunities – whether it’s vehicle dynamics, vehicle emissions or the integration of automotive and consumer electronics for connected and automated driving.

With more than 25 years of diverse experience at automotive, motorsports, aerospace and consumer products companies, Mr. Waraniak is an expert in vehicle systems engineering, motorsports program management and lean product-process development. He is an industry leader and advocate for SEMA members helping them collaborate with automakers, suppliers and technology companies for successful performance product development and systems integration. Today’s smart vehicles are controlled and monitored by hundreds of microprocessors, sensors, and millions of lines of embedded software. Mr. Waraniak utilizes his network of contacts and background in systems engineering to connect automotive parts manufacturers with the resources and capabilities to manage these changing and disruptive vehicle technologies, customize with confidence and ensure compliance.  He created, launched and leads SEMA’s Vehicle Dynamics Program, which focuses on vehicle performance and Electronic Stability Control compliance of aftermarket-modified vehicles to help SEMA companies adapt to the latest advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), federal safety standards and regulations.

John is currently a director of the Carroll A. Campbell Jr., Graduate Engineering Center Industrial Advisory Board at Clemson University, as well as an advisor at Techstars Mobility in Detroit where he is helping develop, train and mentor engineers and new start-ups by aligning advanced technology ventures with next-generation talent development.  Mr. Waraniak has held executive management positions with global and entrepreneurial companies, including TATA Motors, Johnson Controls, General Motors, Hughes Aircraft, Northrop and No Fear.  In addition to helping these companies achieve lean product-process operations, innovative growth, brand leadership and improved profitability, Mr. Waraniak led the transfer of technology and best practices from Hughes Aircraft to General Motors to deliver industry-leading products for safety, performance, electronics and winning motorsports programs. He was one the founding members of the pioneering GM Sports Medicine and Science Program where he helped lead the development of many of today’s race safety innovations including Event Data Recorders and the HANS device.  John was also a lead engineer for structural integrity and damage tolerance design on the B-2 stealth bomber program with a top secret NSA security clearance while at Northrop.

Mr. Waraniak earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. He has a master’s degree in mechanical and industrial engineering from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in engineering management from West Coast University. He also graduated from the California Institute of Technology’s Executive Engineering Management Program. Born and raised in the Motor City of Detroit, Michigan, Mr. Waraniak is an avid auto industry, action sports and motocross enthusiast.