SEMA Member News—September 2019

ARMO Reveals Restoration Event Schedule

Restoration ScheduleARMO and HRIA combine their efforts during the SEMA Show for their booth.

In the summer of 1993, three SEMA committees became the first niche-market councils: the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA, known then as the Street Rod Market Alliance), the Professional Restylers Organization, and the Automotive Restoration Market Alliance (ARMO). In the decades since, ARMO has earned a reputation for delivering programs and resources to help advance the restoration industry. As ARMO gears up for the SEMA Show, the council is set to host programs and events throughout the week that are certain to appeal to anyone engaged in the restoration hobby, be they retailers, distributors, manufacturers, builders or restorers.

ARMO Stands Tall  in Central Hall

The Restoration Marketplace section at the SEMA Show occupies a prominent position within the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), in close proximity to Hot Rod Alley. An equally prominent adjacent space known as Central Park (booth #23395) is jointly shared by ARMO and HRIA.

The booth display is a collaborative effort between the two councils. It features six vehicles—three from each council—with each vehicle selected for its distinctive style and representation of its respective market segment. To add to the allure, one vehicle from each segment will remain covered until a formal unveiling on Tuesday, November 5.

“We work very closely with HRIA on the shared space and try to pick complementary vehicles,” said ARMO Chair Tray Smith. “We try to show a variety of vehicles—not just pure restoration and not just pure hot rod but a mixture of what the market is currently showing.”

But the booth is more than a feature-vehicle display; it’s also an oasis. Comfortable seating areas provide a welcoming setting for ARMO members to kick back, network and discuss business. SEMA staff and ARMO select committee members are on hand throughout the Show to answer questions and encourage non-members to learn about ARMO and its many programs and benefits.

“The booth is always manned by at least one member from each council,” Smith said. “We’re there to answer questions from potential members and about the cars. We also pass out information on joining SEMA. It’s a great place for council members to not only rest but also to host meetings. All ARMO members are invited to stop by.”

ARMO Reception Celebrates the Industry

Steve AmesSteve Ames surprised with ARMO Lifetime Achievement award.

ARMO kicks off its event schedule with its annual awards reception on Tuesday, November 5. Scheduled for 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, the festive occasion is a once-a-year opportunity for members to gather in celebration of the restoration industry, pay tribute to leading luminaries, network, and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

The high point of the evening is the awards ceremony. Last year, ARMO presented awards in four categories: the ARMO Person of the Year, the ARMO Business of the Year, the Gavel award and the Lifetime Achievement award. Three industry leaders were also inducted into the ARMO Hall  of Fame.

During this year’s presentation, hosted by Tim Strange of Strange Motion, ARMO will recognize the winners of the Person of the Year and the Business of the Year and the new-product award winners. Selected from the council’s Hot Products Showcase held earlier at an event in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the new-product award categories include interior, exterior/trim, drivetrain/suspension and accessories.

“Every year at this event, we present the ARMO Person of the Year and ARMO Business of the Year awards, and we highlight our five product showcase winners,” Smith said. “It’s a great networking event, and we encourage our members to come, have hors d’oeuvres and a drink, and enjoy themselves and the program.”

ARMO Launches Breakfast Gathering

Long days on the Show floor are exhausting. And the idea of rising early to attend a council meeting can be a turnoff, which is why ARMO has revamped its annual general membership meeting. Now known as Breakfast With ARMO, the event will be held on Wednesday, November 6.

“For as long as I’ve been volunteering, there’s always been a general membership meeting on Wednesday morning,” Smith noted. “But who wants to go to an early meeting just to hear the select committee talk for an hour and a half? So instead, we’ve rebranded the meeting as a networking event.”

While still on the docket for 7:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m., the informal gathering is designed to encourage conversation and interaction between council members, newcomers and the select committee. To jumpstart the morning, everyone will be treated to a continental breakfast, some warm selections and a coffee bar.

“By rebranding this as a breakfast, we hope to attract new members and current members who may not be actively involved,” Smith said. “We plan to keep it casual and low key and make it an enjoyable experience. Having the select committee sit at different assigned tables will give everyone a chance to network, ask questions and learn how to get involved in our three big projects, Take a Kid to a Car Show, our Hot Products Showcase and our newest project, the High School Counselor Outreach.”

ARMO to Host Restoration Builder’s Panel

Want a chance to meet and engage with some of the restoration industry’s foremost builders? Then plan to attend the ever-popular Restoration Builder’s Panel, sponsored by ARMO. On tap for Wednesday, November 6, from 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. in room N258 at the LVCC, the panel will feature well-known builders who’ll talk about how to turn a passion into a career as well as offer insider tips on best business practices and what it takes to succeed. Panelists will welcome questions and the opportunity to engage with the audience.

The topic this year is “The Distinction Between a Restoration and a Restomod.” They differ in that one is a classic car beautifully preserved in factory-new condition versus a vintage car that looks original but sports high-performance bells and whistles.

To tackle that topic, ARMO has assembled an impressive panel that includes EJ Fitzgerald of Cool Hand Customs, Tim Strange of Strange Motion and Canadians Jesse and Jordan Henke of JH Restorations. A fourth panelist, not yet confirmed, may be a builder who converts classic cars to EV propulsion.

“We’re not trying to segregate restoration from restomod,” Smith said. “We’re trying to define what makes them what they are. It promises to be a lively discussion.”

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