ARMO Awards Three Resto Market Honors
Original Parts Group was named ARMO Business of the Year. The award was given to company representatives by ARMO Chair Dennis Roberts (right).
The Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) started the busy week of the 2015 SEMA Show with its annual reception, held at the Westgate Hotel. Attendees enjoyed food and beverages while networking with like-minded industry professionals and honoring influential businesses and individuals.
The 2015 ARMO award winners have shown that there’s always room for improving the performance, reliability and user experience of restoration products by continuing to innovate and create new products and processes for enthusiasts around the world.
ARMO Business of the Year: Original Parts Group
Founded in 1982, Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) offers more than 75,000 restoration parts and high-performance accessories for classic GM vehicles, such as the Chevelle, GTO, Buick GS and many more. OPGI is devoted to research and development to provide product excellence, and the company’s outstanding customer service keeps it a leader in the restoration market.
Person of the Year: Ken Howell
Ken Howell, owner of Auto Custom Carpets, was named ARMO Person of the Year.
Ken Howell is the owner of Auto Custom Carpets (ACC). He is an avid restoration enthusiast and a supporter of both SEMA and ARMO. Howell contributes to car shows throughout the year with door prizes and literature, helping to spread the word about ARMO, SEMA and the Take a Kid to a Car Show program. Each year, he hosts a tour of ACC’s manufacturing facilities for a local high-school auto repair and collision class and always includes a restored car or truck for students to appreciate. This year, he brought his own ’55 Bel Air for students to check out. He is a strong believer that we need to educate the younger generations about the restoration hobby and show them the careers that are available. He does this to give back not only to his local community but also to the industry that has been his passion.
ARMO Hall of Fame: Mark Headrick of Auto Metal Direct
Mark Headrick was one of the early members in the Hemi Owner’s Club and has owned more than 80 Hemi cars over the years. Through his club affiliation, he realized that there were other owners like him searching for parts. This realization brought him down a path toward the restoration market.
His first venture into the reproduction business was as a founding partner in MSE, a company that specialized in tubing products, such as Hemi choke tubes. Through that venture, Headrick made connections at Year One and was eventually hired as the company’s vice president, becoming heavily involved in developing new parts. Headrick saw a need for body panels to restore cars that required them, which led him to leave Year One to start Goodmark Industries. Over the course of a decade and a half, Headrick developed Goodmark into one of the leading suppliers of body panels for GM and MOPAR vehicles.
Mark Headrick (left) of Auto Metal Direct was inducted into the ARMO Hall of Fame. Chair Dennis Roberts presented the award.
In the early ’00s, Headrick felt that he could develop an even better quality line of body panels if he had more control over the manufacturing of the parts. That led to a relationship with a manufacturing factory and the formation of Auto Metal Direct. The goal was to produce different body panels that would allow many of the previously unrestorable cars to be saved.
Headrick has always believed in producing the most accurate parts possible, and through his close relationship with GM and Chrysler, he has produced an extensive line of fully licensed and factory-endorsed body panels for the hobby. Body panels are the foundation of restoring a classic car, and Headrick’s contributions to the industry have been instrumental in the growth of other suppliers.
Geared toward small businesses, the ARMO Restoration and Car-Building Roundtable held during the 2015 SEMA Show featured a group of industry veterans speaking about the challenges, opportunities and what might lie ahead for the business of restoration and car building. Both industry veterans and newcomers to the industry benefit from these types of open environments where discussions are led and ideas are shared.
ARMO once again shared a booth with the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) at the SEMA Show. The booth served as a popular meeting place for ARMO’s membership. Show attendees inquired about the council and its initiatives while having the opportunity to meet with its leadership. There were a total of six cars on display in the booth—three representing the restoration segment and three representing the hot-rod segment. The unveiling of a very special restomod from Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop on Tuesday of the Show created excitement that lasted throughout the week.