ARMO Tips Its Hat to Industry Luminaries

SEMA Member News—January 2019

ARMO Tips Its Hat to Industry Luminaries

 ARMO AwardsSteve Ames surprised with ARMO Lifetime Achievement award.

For restoration professionals, the SEMA Show is a proven forum in which to buy and sell the products and services that drive the restoration market. It’s also a great place to showcase stunning vintage vehicles in the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) display area, shared with the Hot Rod Industry Alliance on the exhibit floor. It’s equally important for council members to use the occasion to share ideas, connect with like-minded peers, and celebrate a vibrant industry segment.

ARMO kicked off its event schedule with the council’s annual awards reception. Held on Tuesday, October 30, at the Westgate Resort & Casino, the affair was attended by nearly 250 industry pros, who were treated to an evening of good fellowship and an impressive awards ceremony.

The festivities began with ARMO announcing the winners of its new-product awards, which had been previously determined during the council’s Hot Products Showcase at Spring Carlisle in April. Honorees included:

  • Interior: Distinctive Industries, ’70 Chevelle Touring II Assembled Seat
  • Exterior/Trim: Camaro Central, ’67–’68 Camaro Rally Sport Grille Kit
  • Drivetrain/Suspension: Right Stuff Detailing, Rear Disc Brake Conversion Kit
  • Accessories: Retro Sound, The Wonder Bar Radio
ARMO Select CommitteeARMO select committee and members enjoying breakfast and discussing hot-button topics affecting the restoration industry. 

Awards were then presented in five key categories. The Gavel award, given to an immediate past chair in honor of dedicated service to ARMO and the industry, was awarded to Erika Berryhill of Hydro E Lectric. Hemmings Motor News took top honors as ARMO Business of the Year, while Shawn Green of Camaro/Firebird Central was named ARMO Person of the Year.

Three industry luminaries were inducted into the ARMO Hall of Fame, including Alex Tainsh of Restoration Parts Unlimited Inc. and Jim Vanarski of Carlisle Events. Tribute was also paid to Steve McDonald, former SEMA vice president of legislative affairs, who was awarded the hall of fame honor posthumously.

To round out the awards ceremony, ARMO presented its Lifetime Achievement award to Steve Ames of Ames Performance. Ames was surprised by the recognition but followed up with an amusing and uplifting speech to close out the night.

Restoration Resources

 ARMO Builders PanelARMO Builders Panel. Pictured from left to right: Amy Fitzgerald; EJ Fitzgerald; Tim Strange; Jesse Henke; Jordon Henke; and Lenny Schaeffer.

At the council’s early-bird general membership meeting on Wednesday, the select committee and members-at-large started their morning with breakfast conversations focused on matters impacting their businesses and how ARMO could help address industry-specific issues. Chair Tray Smith led a conversation that touched on other topics as well, including communications and ARMO’s Take a Kid to a Car Show initiative.

Also on Wednesday, the Restoration Builders Panel—Powered by ARMO, capped off the council’s event calendar. The session was aimed at helping builders develop and refine their skills and knowhow, and it featured a panel of top-tier builders, including EJ Fitzgerald of Cool Hand Customs; Tim Strange of Strange Motion; Jesse Henke and Jordon Henke of J&H Restorations; and Lenny Schaeffer of Redemption Rod & Custom. All in all, it was an excellent opportunity for an exchange of ideas.