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People and Positions July 2023

July 28, 2023
Each month, Trailer/Body Builder recognizes notable promotions and transitions for folks in the industry. Here's the most recent entries for July.

Many organizations honored achievement and recognized new talent with hirings and promotions throughout the month of July.

Truck, trailer, and body OEMs

Ed Peper, head of General Motors Fleet and U.S. vice president for GM Envolve, will be retiring on Sept. 1, 2023, after over 39 years with GM. Peper will be succeeded by Sandor Piszar on August 1, who most recently served as vice president of sales, service, and marketing for GM Canada. Peper first began his automotive career as a Cadillac sales trainee in 1984. Prior to joining GM, Piszar was named director of marketing for Chevrolet Trucks and served as director of GMC marketing and director of performance and accessories in GM’s Performance Vehicle and Motorsports Group.

Joseph Thompson has accepted the position of chief operations officer for Morgan Olson. In his new role, Thompson will be responsible for all aspects of product delivery, including ideation, engineering, commercial operations, and human resources. Thompson joined Morgan Olson from the Roush Products Group.

The Shyft Group appointed Jacob Farmer as president of specialty vehicles. Prior to joining The Shyft Group, Farmer held several leadership positions at Cooper Standard, such as global vice president and general manager of the Industrial & Specialty Group. 

Suppliers and distributors

EMCO Industries recently installed Marcus Hester as vice president. Hester will lead EMCO’s work to grow its business in the heavy-duty trailer aftermarket and in the company’s agricultural, light-, and medium-duty trailer and specialty vehicle suspension markets. Hester has also served two terms on the board of of the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers.

PPG recently appointed Alisha Bellezza as vice president of global Automotive Coatings. She succeeds Vincent Robin, continuing his work to support PPG’s efforts to improve sustainability and continuing expansion of the mobility sector. Prior to joining PPG, Bellezza served as president of Chemours in the thermal and specialized solutions department. 

Pressure Systems International (P.S.I.) has promoted Jim Herzog to sales director of the South Central region. Herzog joined P.S.I. through Northwood University’s internship program, after which he joined P.S.I. as an operations manager in 2015, and then joining sales in 2019. Jacob Castro has also joined P.S.I.’s sales organization as the director of the Northeast region. Prior to joining the company, Castro served Daimler Truck North America for six years as a connected field service engineer and global product manager.

Peterson Manufacturing has added Chris Richardson, Elias Villanueva, and Ty Gray as regional managers for the Southeast, South Central, and western regions respectively. Richardson, Villanueva, and Gray will all handle new sales initiatives and relationships to contribute to the company’s overall business strategy and success.


Nikki Rankin has accepted a promotion from MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers and will serve as director of councils and engagement. In her new role, Nikki will bring her resources, leadership, and expertise to MEMA Aftermarket’s Modern Industry eXpertise (MiX) young leaders council and is Supply chain Operations Forum (SCO Forum). 


Thomas J. Labat of Vander Haag’s Inc. passed away on July 5, 2023, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Labat spent his life working in the agricultural and trucking industry, including spending 27 years at Vader Haag’s, where he served as a purchasing manager. Ever a respected, but humble voice in the industry, Labat always valued his peers at Vander Haag’s and acknowledged their contributions. Services for Labat were held on July 11, 2023.