Vice President of Vehicle Technology
Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)
John Waraniak has been in the aerospace, automotive, racing and performance industries for over 25 years with rich systems engineering experience, innovative technology insights and frontline lessons for competing and winning in today’s Automotive 4.0 transformation.
Mr. Waraniak is currently Vice President of Vehicle Technology at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) – a role he has had since May 2006. In this role, he helps leading automotive and performance aftermarket companies integrate their products with the latest advanced vehicle technologies and capitalize on new business and product development opportunities. He is an acknowledged leader and advocate for automaker-aftermarket-technology innovation and collaboration for advancing safety performance, connected, assisted and automated driving, new mobility solutions, generative design and systems engineering management.
He serves as a director of the Carroll A. Campbell Jr., Graduate Engineering Center Industrial Advisory Board at Clemson University, as well as an advisor and mentor at Techstars Mobility in Detroit and a founding member and co-chair of the SAE Connect2Car Executive Leadership Committee. He has held executive management positions with global and entrepreneurial companies, including TATA Motors, Johnson Controls, General Motors, Hughes Aircraft, Northrop and No Fear. Waraniak led the transfer of technology and best practices from Hughes Aircraft to General Motors to deliver industry-leading products and processes for safety, performance, electronics and winning motorsports programs. He was one the founding members of the GM Sports Medicine and Science Program where he helped lead the development of many of today’s race safety innovations including Event and Crash Data Recorders and the HANS device. Mr. Waraniak 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, Waraniak is an avid auto industry, mountain bike and motocross enthusiast. He lives in West Bloomfield, Michigan with his wife Terri and has two sons, Scott and Jeff.