Marketing Strategist. Publisher. Trade Show Producer.
Steve Lewis served as an instrumental component at several companies where he recognized and acted upon industry trends to help nurture small, yet promising sectors into booming markets.
Motorcycle Industry • Bicycle Industry
Motorcycle Dealer News • Bicycle Dealer Showcase
1970 marked Steve’s introduction to trade publishing as well as trade show marketing and production at Hester Communications. He created systems and marketing strategies as well as increased revenue from the sale of exhibit space and advertising to build the Motorcycle Dealer News brand into a market dominating entity. While at Hester Communications, he also played a key role in the market study and eventual launch of Bicycle Dealer Showcase trade publication and trade show in the mid 1970's that grew into the Bicycle Industry annual marketplace. Steve worked closely with company founder Larry Hester to integrate new acquisitions into the company’s publishing and trade show culture.
Surfing Lifestyle Industry
Action Sports Retailer
Action Sports Retailer (ASR), a monthly trade magazine, along with Action Sports Retailer Trade Shows, was launched in 1980 when Steve and partner Jeff Wetmore created Pacifica Publishing, Inc. The magazine and trade shows, which were held annually in Long Beach, California, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, were created to serve the growing surfing lifestyle market. The publication and trade show grew rapidly and became the center of commerce for the worldwide surfing, skateboarding, roller skating, beach sports and windsurfing lifestyle marketplace. After outgrowing the Long Beach Convention Center, the ASR Trade Show moved to the much larger San Diego Convention Center for the twice-a-year shows.
Camping Backpacking Industry
Sensing the need for an organized monthly trade publication in the camping, backpacking, hiking and outdoor industry, in 1983 Steve launched Outdoor Retailer, followed one year later by the first annual Outdoor Retailer Trade Show that was produced in Las Vegas. The Outdoor Retailer Trade Show eventually grew to become the outdoor industry’s premier meeting place where industry entrepreneurs could meet to see the multitude of high-end products. The Outdoor Retailer Trade Show remains the largest trade event housed in the Salt Lake City Convention Center.
Auto Racing Marketplace
Performance Racing Industry
Rapid growth in auto racing industry prompted the formation of the Performance Racing Industry trade magazine in 1986, followed by Pacifica Publishing’s accompanying 1st Annual Performance Racing Industry Trade Show one year later in Louisville, Kentucky. The rapid success of the PRI brand followed the torrid growth of the racing industry though the 1980s requiring the PRI Trade Show’s transition to bigger convention halls throughout the Midwest as exhibitor demand exceeded the space limitations of the convention centers. The PRI Trade Show eventually moved to Orlando, Florida, where in 2007, the trade show set exhibit and attendance records and was listed in the “Trade Show Week Top 50 Trade Shows” produced in the United States.
Race Team Management and Marketing
The legend of Nine Racing in the midget car ranks began with a simple encouragement from Steve’s friend Don Edmunds to purchase a midget race car in the fall of 1978. This decision prompted a 29-year run of competing and racing on the national midget scene, and in the process earned 10 National USAC Championships and 133 main event wins. Drivers who won USAC National Championships in the Nine Racing midgets include Stevie Reeves, Tony Stewart, Kenny Irwin Jr., Jason Leffler, Kasey Kahne, Dave Darland, J.J. Yeley and Bobby East. During this amazing run Steve developed a close business relationship with chassis builder Bob East who took responsibility for the on-track management of the team. They introduced the Gaerte four-cylinder midget engine with driver Stan Fox in 1987. When Ford Racing decided to build a “grassroots” racing effort, the team introduced the Ed Pink Ford midget engine to the midget racing marketplace in 1996. Over a 10-year period the Nine Racing midgets with Ford power won more than 100 USAC features. In 2005, the Nine Racing midget team joined forces with Toyota Racing Development (TRD). With Ed Pink’s expertise in cooperation with TRD engineering, the team developed the TRD Midget engine that won in its inaugural appearance at the 2006 Copper Classic race at Phoenix International Raceway with Dave Steele at the helm.
Driver Career Development and Management
Steve Lewis gained valuable experience and developed expertise in the formation of a career path for young racing drivers as a result of working with his son Michael Lewis during the early stages of his racing career. Many options exist for families that are nurturing young racers, and Steve’s expertise centers around the European (primarily Italian) kart racing scene as well as the European junior formula racing categories. Career path development includes charting the career course for the driver, skill development, racing budget development, how to choose the right series, how to select the right team within that series, physical and mental training programs as well as how to make travel and hotel arrangements for the driver and family members.
Plans to keep the young driver connected with all schooling responsibilities will be taken into consideration when developing the early stages of the career path. To coincide with the career path development plan is a marketing program to build the drivers “brand,” which consists of website development, creation of a press release media manifest for print, electronic media and social media outlets and generating pre- and post-race event releases capturing the accomplishments of the young driver.