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SEMA Council & Network News: Matthew Davis Recaps His 2015 YEN Power Tour Experience

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No matter what niche you're in—rods, restoration, racing, restyling, reps, trucks or wheels and tires—there's a SEMA council or professional network that's right for your company. SEMA councils and networks offer members a variety of market-specific programs and activities designed to provide educational and networking opportunities while promoting their particular industry segment.

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Matthew Davis rode shotgun in a Stingray Corvette during the 2015 YEN Power Tour.

Matthew Davis Recaps His 2015 YEN Power Tour Experience

SEMA recently caught up with Matthew Davis to discuss his participation in the 2015 YEN Power Tour—a SEMA program that sends 10 YEN members on the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour, which is a seven-day road trip across America with more than 3,000 custom and classic cars in participation. Last year, the tour took the group from Madison, Wisconsin to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Davis is an automotive enthusiast to the core and has molded his career around that lifestyle. He currently oversees the marketing department at Premier Performance Products, and was previously district sales manager at NAPA Auto Parts. He also blogs on (where you can find his detailed coverage of the YEN Power Tour) and he works on his Datsun 240z.

Apply now for the 2016 YEN Power Tour.

How did you first hear about the YEN Power Tour?

I heard about the YEN Power Tour through SEMA eNews. I saw a link with details about getting a chance to go on the tour and I naturally applied.

Were you a driver or a passenger? How was that experience?

I was a passenger. My car at the time wasn’t quite ready to be a long hauler. I rode shotgun with Keith McWilliams from COMP Performance in his Stingray Corvette. I had a blast. Being a typical car guy, I do prefer to drive but I had such a good time on the trip seeing all the great cars and networking with all the amazing people on the tour that I didn't even care. We had a great group of YEN members and I would have enjoyed riding as the navigator with any of them.

You went to seven cities in seven days. Which one was the top stop?

I enjoyed all of the stops, but I think my favorite stop would have to have been Memphis. We were late because of our stops at the schools, so we spent the evening on Beale Street with the cars and crowd. If a car show on Beale Street isn't the perfect example of “Merica,” I don't know what is. As for the show, I really enjoyed Madison because we had the most amount of time to visit with the young enthusiasts who were there. Our industry is driven by enthusiasts, and I loved being immersed in that environment for a week.

Tell us about the youth engagement on the tour. Did it meet or exceed your expectations?

I wasn't quite sure what to expect, to be honest. I'd always thought collecting cars, building hot rods and enjoying performance cars in general was a rich man’s hobby for the older generation. Events such as the Hot Rod Power Tour showed me that to some extent this is true, but you don't have to have a $50,000 street rod to be a part of the show. There was a wide variety of younger people driving everything from Fox-body Mustangs to LS-swapped Mitsubishis. If you’re a true enthusiast, you’ll find a way to be a part of what you love with the resources you have available, and that mentality was clear and present on the Power Tour. It was fun to see young kids with their fathers walking the show, young women who were equally passionate and showing rides of their own and people of all kinds just starting their careers (some in the field and some not) who were there with whatever they’d built themselves.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to apply for next year?

My advice to anyone applying next year would be to effectively tell their story about what they can contribute to the industry. A lot of these young people we met on the Power Tour reminded me of myself not too long ago—a passionate car guy with no idea of how to do what I wanted for a living. I tried retail, finance and landscaping, but in the end, I knew that the automotive industry was my calling. YEN and the Power Tour need to be approached with the goal in mind of helping those types of people find a way to break into the industry. That's where the networking comes into play. Once I finally got in, it was the connections that I’d built in the industry that have helped me grow in the industry.

Apply now for the 2016 YEN Power Tour.

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Visit ARMO's website.

ARMO Industry Mixer

ARMO is hosting an industry mixer at Spring Carlisle for the top restored vehicles in the country. Gather in the ARMO Hot Products Tent conveniently located in the middle of the fairgrounds for drinks and appetizers. Network with industry friends while checking out the hottest restoration products. SEMA staff and council leadership will be there to discuss council initiatives and how ARMO can benefit your company. The mixer will take place Thursday, April 21, at 5:00 p.m. We’ll see you there!

Register Your Products for the ARMO Hot Product Showcase

The ARMO Hot Products Showcase is an exciting and valuable opportunity for ARMO-member companies to put their product(s) in front of a 100,000 restoration enthusiasts at Spring Carlisle. The Showcase is open Thursday–Saturday, April 21–23. For just the cost of shipping your product(s) to the Carlisle Fairgrounds, you'll receive:

  • Product placement in the ARMO Hot Products Tent, located strategically in the center of the event grounds.
  • Professional product photography available for your own use.
  • Product placement in the ARMO booth at the SEMA Show and in a photo gallery on
  • Consideration for an ARMO New Products award in one of nine categories.

If you are going to Spring Carlisle, you can save the shipping cost by dropping off and picking up your product on site!

Register your product(s) now!

For more information, contact Council Director Jim Skelly at 909-978-6690 or

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HRIA is hosting a Long-Range Planning Meeting at the Charlotte Auto Fair in Charlotte, North Carolina, where an expected 150,000 automotive enthusiasts will gather to buy and sell unique vehicles and restoration parts.

HRIA Long-Range Planning Meeting

The Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) is hosting a Long-Range Planning Meeting at the Charlotte Auto Fair in Concord, North Carolina, where an expected 150,000 automotive enthusiasts gather to buy and sell unique vehicles and restoration parts. The meeting kicks off Thursday, April 7, at 9:00 a.m. HRIA members and aspiring members will discuss relevant topics specific to the hot-rod industry, mingle with council leadership and learn about the 2016 initiatives. A complimentary lunch will be served to those who attend the meeting, which will be held in the Media Center Auditorium located in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Infield.

Discussion topics will include:

  • What is the biggest challenge for your company today?
  • What is the biggest opportunity for your company today?
  • How can HRIA/SEMA help?

RSVP by Monday, March 28, and receive one full event credential for Charlotte Auto Fair, one special parking pass to get closer to the Media Center Auditorium and a detailed map.

For questions, contact Jim Skelly, SEMA Council Director at 909-978-6690 or

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