HRIA to Host Education Days at NSRA Nationals
|Mark your calendars! HRIA Education Days will be coming back August 1–2.
From its early days as the Street Rod Marketing Alliance (SRMA) to what is now the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA), the hot-rod industry has been a formidable force within the specialty-equipment market. In keeping with its efforts to provide business-building resources, the council has always ranked education as a top priority. Nowhere is the focus on learning experiences more in evidence than at the National Street Rod Association (NSRA) Street Rod Nationals.
Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the NSRA Nationals will take over the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville the first week in August, and HRIA Education Days will kick off the event with two days of high-powered sessions on August 1 and 2.
But Louisville isn’t the council’s first foray into educational programming. One of the earliest venues to host industry-centric seminars was the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show, produced jointly in the ’90s by SEMA, SRMA and the Automotive Restoration Market Organization. A few years later, Jim and Debbie Lewis launched the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show, where HRIA presented Education & Training Day sessions over the course of several years. After that show was twice sold, HRIA searched for a more suitable locale.
“From the beginning, our seminars were strictly business to business,” recalled Tammy Holland, who will assume the role of immediate past chair of HRIA in July. “That’s why we attended the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show. That was our audience. We stuck around for a while after it was sold, but the show was totally different, and the turnout wasn’t the same. So that’s when we made the decision to try the Detroit Autorama.”
When, after two years, the Autorama proved to be disappointing, HRIA again searched for the right fit.
“That’s when we decided to try the Louisville Nationals, to see what would happen and try get it back to where it used to be,” Holland said. “NSRA has been kind enough to open its arms and welcome us to the Nationals to host our Education Days. The response has been overwhelming, and each year our program continues to grow.”
Expanding the Format, Finding a Home
|HRIA Education Days are right around the corner.
When making the move to Louisville in 2016, HRIA made some important decisions. As a first step, the council established clear-cut criteria for speaker participation.
“We get a lot of requests from people who want to speak,” Holland said. “HRIA Education Days are open and free to anyone who attends the Nationals, but we do have speaker requirements. You have to be a member of HRIA, and because NSRA has been totally accommodating, you also have to be an exhibitor at the Nationals.”
The changes didn’t stop there. In addition to opening the sessions to the public along with industry folks, HRIA also expanded the program’s footprint.
“When we moved to the Nationals, it was the first time the seminars were open to the public,” Holland said. “It was so much of a success that we expanded to two days instead of trying to cram everything into one day.”
With a lineup of nearly a dozen sessions spread out over two days, attendees will be exposed to a wide range of technical topics at this year’s events. The roster of this year’s presenting companies reads like a hot-rod industry who’s who.
For instance, Bowler Transmission will present “Shift into Overdrive and Enjoy Your Hot Rod,” while Flaming River will tackle “Steering You in the Right Direction,” and HushMat will address “Solutions for Heat and Noise: Heat Is the Enemy of Speed, Performance and Comfort.”
Other sessions include “Wiring 101: Tips and Tricks for a Successful Wiring Install,” presented by Ron Francis Wiring; “The Basics of Performance Air Conditioning,” presented by Vintage Air; “Brake System Basics,” presented by Wilwood, and the list goes on.
“NSRA has truly welcomed HRIA,” Holland said. “It has embraced us, and each year that we go there, our program grows, so we’re really excited. We feel that we have finally found a home for HRIA Education Days.”