By Ashley Reyes
The Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) named IDIDIT LLC as the council’s latest member spotlight company. In this week’s feature, company general manager Trever Cornwell shares IDIDIT’s breakthrough moment and current projects.
SEMA: Tell us the story of your shop. How did you start?
Trever Cornwell: IDIDIT manufactures American-made steering columns, accessories and engineered products for the hot-rod, performance and custom vehicle market. We supply commercial, niche production and electric vehicle manufacturers. Our company is based in Tecumseh, Michigan, and has been in business since 1986.
SEMA: What was your breakthrough moment?
TC: We pride ourselves on the amount of U.S.-sourced components we use to manufacture our products. Our raw materials are sourced from local mills and the vast majority of our suppliers are based within a 500-mile radius of our factory. We also are extremely proud of the level of quality we put into our product. When we build a column, we don’t know if it’s being used in a million-dollar custom build or someone who’s upgrading their car in their own garage. They all receive the same level of attention to detail and our customers are happy to tell us that there’s a difference when you buy an IDIDIT product. We also staff a full-time sales and tech department so that there’s always someone to answer the phone and help when needed.
SEMA: Tell us about your business now in 2022 and what projects are you working on?
TC: We have had incredible growth the past two years and we have been focusing on increasing productivity and throughput. In 2020 we expanded our engineering department to focus on new product development and have several products that we are finalizing development of that we hope will be ready to share later this year. Aside from our production goals we are looking forward to returning to the show circuit and meeting with customers face to face.
SEMA: Tell us about a build you are proud of.
TC: A project I am proud of is our revised steering column ignition that we rolled out last year. Our ignition is different in that it does not use the clunky OEM mechanisms which are prone to failure and just plain ugly. IDIDIT columns have an ignition switch that is of our own design and uses a military-grade switch located internally in the column so that all wiring is hidden and results in a cleaner appearing steering column. This updated design features a more refined mechanism with better detents and return spring. We’ve also updated several of the manufacturing techniques that makes a more rigid assembly with CNC-machined billet ignition pods and internally welded components that make it extremely durable and attractive. This is the result of three years of development to improve the previous design.
SEMA: What advice do you have for young professionals contemplating a career in the automotive aftermarket?
TC: Don’t hesitate and just get involved. I started my career at a large OEM automotive supplier but had a desire to work in the aftermarket. I started building my own cars and trucks as soon as I could drive. What started out as cosmetic upgrades eventually grew into converting engines to fuel injection, adding turbos and superchargers before you could buy those things off the internet. Eventually people asked me to do work for them, doing upgrades, rewiring and modifying cars as a side gig. That lead to other opportunities with companies in the aftermarket world.
Someone who is willing to do the work and get their hands dirty and learn a new skill is sure to be rewarded with a fulfilling career. Many of the people I work with in the aftermarket industry tell me that they are working their dream job—myself included. This is a great industry to be involved with; don’t hesitate to start building something on your own. You’ll make mistakes, but that’s how you learn something new.
Fill out an HRIA-member spotlight form to highlight how your company is contributing to the hot-rod industry. Selected candidates are eligible to be featured on HRIA’s and media, SEMA News and future HRIA-member updates.