Shelby American Inc. has appointed Gary Patterson as company president. In addition, Vince LaViolette was named vice president of operations, while Shelby Performance Parts Director Keith Criswell will now also serve as director of research and development.
“The board of Shelby American is pleased to promote Gary Patterson to the position of president of Shelby American,” said Joe Conway, co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International and CEO of Shelby American. “A key part of the Shelby team for twenty years, Gary’s strong experience in production, sales, marketing, and product development will be a tremendous benefit to Shelby in his role as president. His executive team, including Vince LaViolette as vice president of operations and Keith Criswell who is now director of both Shelby Performance Parts and the R & D department, will help us continue Carroll Shelby’s important legacy.”
Patterson will oversee daily operations in Las Vegas and report directly to Conway, who remains CEO of Shelby American, said Neil Cummings, CEO of Carroll Shelby Licensing and co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International. Conway also will manage Shelby American’s accounting and finance departments.”
Patterson’s automotive credentials began from birth, according to the company. His earliest memories are of riding in his father’s 1965 Mustang; he bought his first car, a 428 Cobra Jet powered 1969 Mustang at the age of 16 with money earned mowing lawns. He still owns that fastback, along with a broad range of machinery ranging from an experimental twin-turbo Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake to a Corvette and Shelby Series 1.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Patterson said. “I’m excited to help Shelby American reach its potential as a global leader in the automotive high performance industry. I look forward to spending time with fellow enthusiasts worldwide, asking for their input on the vehicles and parts that they want from Shelby.”
Patterson’s industry credentials are equally impressive, according to Shelby American. He has been part of the team that created every Shelby vehicle starting with the CSX4000 continuation Cobra through the latest models built in Las Vegas. Patterson has managed the sales team, marketing group, and dealer development. He has been on product development teams, a company spokesman, driving instructor and a test driver. Patterson has served as director for numerous open road races and is a Power Pro ambassador for Optima Batteries.
Vince LaViolette has also served in a variety of roles over the past decade at Shelby American. He has served as director of production, research and development, chief designer and factory test driver.
“LaViolette’s talents were honed on the track as a talented and successful racer, as well as in his own racing shop before coming to Shelby,” Conway said. “He worked closely with Carroll Shelby on vehicle development over the years. In fact, every vehicle offered by Shelby American since 1999 has his imprint in its performance attributes. As vice president of operations, he will leverage his experience and talents on an even larger scale.”
SPP has become an important part of Shelby’s business, especially with mod shops opening worldwide. Keith Criswell is now in charge of that division, as well as part of the vehicle development team.
Criswell joined Shelby in 2007 and has worked his way through the organization. He managed the wholesale department in Shelby Performance Parts before being promoted to director of the division. The aftermarket veteran and serious enthusiast previously served as technical and sales supervisor for the Drake Automotive Group in Nevada.