SEMA Show Highlights

Networking and Education Drive New Business and Success for 2023 SEMA Showgoers

By Ashley Reyes

Education and networking were prominent during the first few days of the 2023 SEMA Show, now through November 3. Industry members gathered at worthwhile events to grow their professional network and discover new opportunities to elevate and strengthen their businesses.  

Following is a recap of some of the SEMA Council and Network events designed to elevate the specialty-equipment aftermarket at the 2023 Show.

SEMA Political Action Committee (PAC) Raises More Than $50,000 Reception


The SEMA PAC Reception helped to raise more than $50,000 towards uplifting the automotive aftermarket on Tuesday, October 31.

Networking was in full swing at the SEMA PAC Reception on Tuesday, October 31, at the AZILO Ultra Lounge in the Sahara Hotel. The event allowed members the opportunity to learn more about how SEMA PAC supports the industry and meet the SEMA Government Affairs team based out of Washington, D.C., working full-time to fight legislative threats to the automotive hobby and pass favorable laws.

"The SEMA PAC Reception brought together the best in the industry to support our shared mission to advocate for the interests of the automotive aftermarket sector and racing communities," said Alicia Steger, SEMA PAC manager. "Not only did we get to connect and network with industry leaders, but SEMA PAC successfully raised more than $50,000 towards uplifting the automotive aftermarket. The fundraiser's success was only possible with the dedication and support of each participant, donor and supporter. Together, we have reinforced the significance of advocating for our industry's growth, development and sustainability. Thank you to everyone who attended, and we cannot wait to see you at the next one!"  

Norris Marshall Wade

Norris Marshall, left, was honored as the SEMA PAC 'Person of the Year.' Marshall is seen here with the executive director of SEMA and PRI PACs Wade Kawasaki.

In addition, the Government Affairs office took time to recognize Norris Marshall, CEO of BluePrint Engines and SEMA Board of Directors member, as the "SEMA PAC Person of the Year." Marshall was honored for his tireless advocacy for the PAC and SEMA Government affairs work, and his leadership and love for the industry.  

ARMO/HRIA Vehicle Unveil Inspiring, New Vehicles to a Worldwide Audience

Rolling works of art were unveiled at the Automotive Restoration Organization Market (ARMO) and Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) combined ARMO/HRIA Booth #23295, Central Hall on Tuesday, October 31. 

ARMO HRIA unveil

On behalf of ARMO, Lonely Driver Company debuted a custom '73 Datsun 240Z (left), while J-Rod Customs built a one-of-a-kind '78 Cherokee for the HRIA.

On behalf of ARMO, Lonely Driver Company debuted a custom '73 Datsun 240Z. 

"[The importance behind these unveilings is] the production of years and years of hard work. From the ARMO side, we wanted to project that we're not only just American musclecars, but we're Asian musclecars. We're European restorations. We're all of that. That's why we brought an American car in. We brought a Japanese 240 in, and we brought a Porsche in. So we want to reach out to those communities saying, you could be a part of ARMO too," said ARMO Chair Randall Bates of Auto Custom Carpets.

J-Rod Customs, meanwhile, debuted a one-of-a-kind '78 Cherokee for the HRIA.

A yearly tradition at the SEMA Show, the unveilings showcase talented builders and allow manufacturers to present their brands and products to worldwide audiences. 

Thriving Truck and Off-Road Segment Covered During Builders Panel, Powered by TORA

Top-tier builders discussed the growing popularity of accessorizing vintage trucks and SUVs during the SEMA Education seminar "Truck and Off-Road Builders Panel, Powered by TORA" on Tuesday, October 31.

TORA panel

Panelists discussed how to tap into the truck and off-road accessories market, one of the most lucrative segments today, during the "Truck and Off-Road Builders Panel, Powered by TORA" at the 2023 SEMA Show.

The session--moderated by Sean Holman, head adventurer at Use for Adventure Inc.--delved into the experiences and insights of panelists Tara Thompson, general manager at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive; Bond Gilmer, president at Rebel Off Road; and Rebeca Olavarrieta, CEO at Roco 4x4. Attendees learned about new trends and what today's top builders consider the best growth opportunities in the thriving modern truck and performance segment. 

Top Hot Rod Builders Discuss Current State of Market During Panel, Powered by HRIA

During the "Hot Rod Builders Panel, Powered by HRIA" seminar on Tuesday, October 31, Rick Love, president at Vintage Air Inc., guided a lively and entertaining discussion featuring panelists car designer and automotive artist Chip Foose; Bobby Alloway, owner at Alloway's Hot Rod Shop; Jim Ring and Mike Ring, co-owners at Ringbrothers; and Troy Trepanier, owner at Rad Rides by Troy.

HRIA panel

(Left) HRIA Builders Panel moderator Rick Love of Vintage Air was joined by industry icon, builder and official SEMA Show artist Chip Foose during the HRIA Builders Panel on the first day of the 2023 SEMA Show.

Attendees learned about the current state of the hot-rod segment, plus strategies to help them navigate the business of building hot rods and the latest trends. 

New Insights Into the Evolution of Restoration, Powered by ARMO

The SEMA ARMO held its "Education of Restoration, Powered by ARMO" seminar, offering new insights into the evolution of the restoration market and covering everything from traditional restorations to restomods.


Topics covered during the "Education of Restoration, Powered by ARMO" seminar included how to manage different types of builds and overcome challenges like supply shortages.

Attendees heard from Jeff Farina, senior sourcing manager at JEGS, as he moderated a panel featuring Dave Hall, owner at Restore A Musclecar; Rod Emroy, owner at Emroy Motorsports; Bryan Fuller, owner at Fuller Moto; and Darin Smith, owner at DWS Classics Inc.  

During the session, topics included how to manage diverse types of builds, set goals, overcome challenges, address supply-chain shortages and prepare a shop for future growth.

Check the 2023 SEMA Show schedule of events for related networking and education events to boost your business and professional career.