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 Legendary Race Car Driver and HEP Ambassador Lyn St. James joins students at the East Valley Institute of Technology, where she
Legendary race car driver and HEP ambassador, Lyn St. James, joins students at the East Valley Institute of Technology, where she discussed how the students can support the collector and restoration industries

Summit to Explore Automotive Restoration Curriculum in High Schools


Organizers of an upcoming meeting will explore how an award-winning vocational high school in Arizona can support the state’s car restoration industry.

The Hagerty Education Program (HEP) at America’s Car Museum is co-hosting the Arizona Regional Summit Meeting on May 4 at the East Valley Institute of Technology’s (EVIT) Mesa, Arizona campus. The summit will explore how EVIT—an award-winning vocational high school—can help to fill a need for young talent at local car shops.

HEP’s Arizona Regional Summit Meeting will bring together industry luminaries, including legendary race car driver and HEP ambassador Lyn St. James, along with industry experts, SEMA members, local shop owners, instructors, administrators and students to discuss the expansion of EVIT’s curriculum to include restoration programs. The summit will explore how trade schools and education programs can ensure growth for the collector car industry by working together to train skilled craftsmen.

“Today, many of our young adults are being guided along an educational path that bypasses trade schools, such as the East Valley Institute of Technology,” said Diane Fitzgerald, HEP national director. “Whether it’s in a shop at the Scottsdale Airpark or on the lawn at Pebble Beach, we want to show students there are countless opportunities in automotive restoration and hopefully ignite the passion in a select number.”

Ryan Levesque, 26, who completed a HEP apprenticeship at Precision Motor Cars in Allentown, Pennsylvania, will speak about the impact the program has made in his life. Upon completion of the program, Levesque received help from HEP to secure a job at Kip Motor Co. in Dallas, where he works with Restoration Manager Randy Bush to further develop his skills.

“As collector cars grow in rarity, automotive auction houses—including Barrett-Jackson, Mecum and Sotheby’s—are selling vehicles well in excess of $1 millions. One-of-a-kind and completely restored classics are at the top of the trading block and their prospective buyers’ lists,” Fitzgerald said. “Last year, the automotive auction industry surpassed $1.8 billion in collector cars sales nationwide. There are 12 million cars predating 1981 and we believe this represents a good opportunity for industry growth and job creation.”

“If we are to keep the collector car tradition alive, it’s going to take a collective effort by all who have a stake in it,” said David Madeira, CEO of America’s Car Museum. “Seeing these students grow into master craftsmen is a goal of the Hagerty Education Program and is a responsibility that we are dedicated to.”

HEP, since 2005, has awarded nearly $3 million in program/project grants, scholarships and apprenticeships.

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