By Ashley Reyes
The SEMA Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) named Barry Alt as the council’s latest volunteer spotlight member. Alt is the founder and digital marketing strategist at Motorhead Digital, a digital marketing agency that provides marketing strategies and programs for automotive restoration, performance tuning and restyling shops.
Get to know Alt in his interview with SEMA below.
SEMA: Did you ever consider another career or industry, and what made you choose automotive restoration?
Barry Alt: I've been a car guy all my life and attended trade school for auto services and auto body and planned to work in the automotive industry. After school, life happened and I never actually worked in the aftermarket space as a mechanic but have always done most of my own work and painted a few cars over the years.
After 11 years working in retail and three years at a software startup in Boston, I spent 20 years building my business A2Z Enhanced Digital Solutions LLC into a successful digital marketing agency. After 20 years of supporting multiple industries, I shifted my focus and founded Motorhead Digital in 2017 to help and support the auto restoration, performance and restyling segment of the automotive aftermarket industry that I love.
I choose to support this space because I found that I have a lot of shared values and interests of the people that work in the automotive aftermarket and really understand them. At the end of the day, I’m a car guy and huge motorhead who loves working and supporting the amazing people in this space and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
SEMA: What’s the best advice you ever received? How has this advice helped you either professionally or personally?
BA: I have two things that I can share as the best advice I’ve ever received. One was advice from a friend and accountability partner that said, “Why aren’t you focusing on and working with the car people you know and love?” She said, “They’re your people,” and that I needed to shift the focus of my digital agency and start working solely in the automotive aftermarket space. She knew that I loved and knew so much about this space that I needed to help shops as much as I could, and it was the best decision that I’ve ever made for my business.
Additionally a mentor of mine also once said, “Try and only work with people that you’d have over to your home for a barbeque and a beer.”
Both of these have affected me professionally or personally and made life so much more enjoyable and rewarding.
SEMA: If you could do one thing over from the course of your career, what would that be?
BA: I wish I would have joined SEMA and started working in and supporting the automotive aftermarket space 20 years earlier.
SEMA: What keeps your passion going in this industry?
BA: Besides all the cool stuff going on in the restoration industry, I love the people and passion in the auto-restoration space, helping their businesses succeed online and want to help more shops. That’s what keeps me going.
SEMA: What is your dream vehicle? Where would we find you in it on any weekend?
BA: There are so many. Some would think this is an odd choice but I’ve always loved and wanted a ’70 AMC AMX 390 GO-PACK four-speed car. I’d be cruising to car shows and other car events. And as of late, I’ve been fascinated with possibly building an ‘85–’88 Monte Carlo SS to run in autocross events.
SEMA: On a Saturday, where can you be found?
BA: If I’m not in the garage working on my classic ’69 427 Corvette, I’m at car shows, NHRA events or following my other passion in the competitive shooting sports of USPSA and Sporting Clays.
SEMA: What do you see as the biggest challenges for the restoration industry today, and where do you see the industry in five years?
BA: Finding skilled craftsmen to work in shops and having more young people get into the auto-restoration industry is a challenge. I’m hoping the industry keeps growing and spends more time understanding how to promote their businesses in the digital world.
Fill out an ARMO member spotlight form to highlight how you or your company are contributing to the specialty-equipment industry. Selected candidates are eligible to be featured on ARMO’s social media, SEMA News and future ARMO member updates.