ARMO at the 2013 SEMA Show

SEMA Member News—November/December 2013

ARMO at the 2013 SEMA Show


Chair-Elect Dennis Roberts addressed ARMO members at the 2012 industry awards reception.
Chair-Elect Dennis Roberts addressed ARMO members at the 2012 industry awards reception. 

Members of the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) and other automotive restoration industry professionals will once again have many opportunities to network at the 2013 SEMA Show. Mark your calendar now; you don’t want to miss any of them.

ARMO Industry Awards Reception

ARMO leads off the week with its annual industry awards reception on Tuesday evening, November 5. The event will take place in Ballrooms D–E of the Las Vegas Hotel from 5:15 p.m.–7:30 p.m. In addition to networking opportunities, the council will take time to honor some of the individuals whose lives and work have made significant impacts on the industry.

“We intentionally keep the reception about networking,” said ARMO Chair Alex Tainsh. “We really simplified the program a couple of years ago. We want to keep the program short and allow attendees the chance to meet and greet others in the industry.”

Chair-Elect Dennis Roberts agreed: “Where else could you find all the leaders of our industry in one room? The opportunity to network and get to know people is spectacular.”

ARMO Open Meeting

ARMO will conduct an open meeting in conference rooms 1–3 at the Las Vegas Hotel on Wednesday, November 6, from 7:15 a.m.–9:00 a.m. This meeting is open to all ARMO members and is the best opportunity for members to interact with their select committee.

“This is a great venue for newer members to find out what ARMO does—what it accomplishes for the marketplace and its members,” said Roberts. “It’s also a good place for members to give input and voice their opinions.”

ARMO Roundtable

One of ARMO’s primary goals for members is education, and the Builder’s Roundtable is one of the best ways to stay informed about the issues facing the industry. This year’s event will be moderated by Tom Shay and will take place Thursday morning, November 7, from 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. in the Las Vegas Convention Center, meeting room N262 (North Hall, second floor).

Geared toward small businesses and shop owners, the discussion is another opportunity for companies to exchange information about challenges, opportunities and solutions.

“This is a chance for members to interact in a more intimate setting, typically in smaller groups than at the open meeting,” said Roberts. “It’s a great setting for you to make your voice heard.”

Get to Know Dennis Roberts, ARMO Chair-Elect

By Amanda Gubbins

Dennis Roberts has been a lifelong musclecar enthusiast. “I was first introduced to musclecars in 1970 by my older sister’s friend, who had a ’70 Trans Am,” he said. “I bought my first car in 1974 at the age of 16. It was a ’67 GTO—the gas shortage made for cheap musclecars.”

Roberts continued to stay involved in the musclecar movement through the years as a racer and parts and vehicle locator. He accepted a position as a technical resource for the restoration of GM cars and ultimately became the vice president of Year One—a musclecar parts warehouse. Two-and-a-half years ago, Roberts became vice president of Distinctive Industries, which is a mass producer of restoration interiors for musclecar-era vehicles.

Roberts was first introduced to ARMO in 1997, a time when “clunker laws” were a hot topic among enthusiasts.

“I believe if you want to harvest a crop, you have to get your hands dirty,” Roberts said of his motivation to get involved. “I’m passionate about ARMO, first and foremost because of my love of cars. A vehicle is really a work of art for its time.”

As chair-elect, he hopes to continue leading the council in offering quality educational opportunities for council members as well as initiatives to boost youth engagement in the hobby. Collector Car Appreciation Day, held July 12, continues to grow as one of these educational tools, raising awareness about the hobby around the country. ARMO’s Take a Kid to a Car Show program also works actively to bring new generations into the hobby.

In addition, Roberts hopes to broaden ARMO’s outreach to enthusiasts. “As I see it,” he said, “it’s a challenge to expand the market. Restoration is an expensive hobby, and most of the enthusiasts are males of higher income levels. We want to bring it down to others who like to race or drive as a hobby.”

Roberts suggests that all ARMO members find a place to volunteer within the council. “We’re looking for participation,” he said. “There’s always the hope to get more members involved.”