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meet the team

Meet our Team

joe conway

Joe E. Conway

Co-CEO & President, Carroll Shelby International
Chief Executive Officer, Shelby American Inc.

Shelby American CEO Joe Conway was hand-selected by Carroll Shelby in 2009 to lead his company. As chief executive officer, Joe oversees all operations at Shelby American.

Following Joe’s entry into the Shelby family by virtue of his marriage to Carroll’s niece in 1971, Carroll closely tracked his successes as the leader of several companies across the United States. Carroll valued Joe’s proven ability to turn a company into a winner. He asked Joe to bring his expertise in management and manufacturing to Shelby American and tasked him with the objective of creating an enduring organization.

Upon earning a chemical engineering degree from the University of Texas, Joe studied management under professors from Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and Rice. He started as a process engineer at Union Carbide and moved to become an Architectural Engineering Sales Manager with Dresser Industries. There, Joe rose to become an Operational Vice President where he was in charge of several multi-million dollar expansion programs and subsequently served as Corporate V.P. of worldwide technology transfer for several years.

Upon earning the position of VP of Sales and Marketing and General Manager of Worldwide Aftermarket Manufacturing, Joe managed operations and sales in Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Europe, China and Taiwan. He was a member of Dresser’s worldwide marketing council.

Joe continued his successful career with such internationally recognized companies as Daniel Industrial (President and Chief Operations Officer), Manitowoc Boom Trucks (President) and Taylor-Dunn (President). At Taylor-Dunn, a world-wide leader in the design, manufacture and sales of electrical and gas operated industrial utility vehicles, Joe guided the company to eight consecutive years of double digit profitability, even through the economic downturn, before retiring in 2009.

At that point, Carroll Shelby asked Joe to join Shelby American. Over the past several years, Joe has led the SAI team to create a more balanced company with a diversified line of cars and parts. He also helped Shelby American improve operations, streamline production, expand internationally and move into a new facility. Joe also serves as Co-CEO of Shelby American’s parent company, Carroll Shelby International.

neil cummings

M. Neil Cummings, Esq.

Co-CEO, Carroll Shelby International, CEO, Carroll Shelby Licensing, Inc.

M. Neil Cummings, Esq. is a 1974 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and received his law degree in 1977 from Hastings College of the Law. Over the past 37 years Mr. Cummings’ practice as a business advisor and litigator has migrated toward fast cars and fast trains, representing Carroll Shelby of “Shelby Cobra” fame and being a founding Board member of the American Magline Group, a Joint Venture of major American industrial companies dedicated to building the Transrapid™ super speed Maglev train (300+ mph) between Anaheim, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada (in 81 minutes), in partnership with the California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission.

Neil began practicing law as an associate in the firm of Hardin & Cook in Oakland, CA (representing Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders), before moving to Los Angeles to join the firm of Walker, Wright, Tyler & Ward, where he became a Partner in 1984. Neil gave into his entrepreneurial urges and formed his own law firm, M. Neil Cummings & Associates, PLC (based in Los Angeles) in 1995. Neil was first introduced to Carroll Shelby in 1991 when Carroll was seeking expert legal advice to structure and expand his trademark licensing company (Carroll Shelby Licensing, Inc.) and begin anew building his world famous Shelby Cobra, Shelby GT-350 and Shelby GT-500 vehicles (through the company Carroll first founded in 1962, Shelby American, Inc.). Carroll and Neil worked together (with many others) to build both entities into the successful enterprises they are today, and became close friends and confidants in the process.

Neil currently serves as Co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International, Inc., and CEO of Carroll Shelby Licensing, Inc., which currently has over 150 active licensees producing a wide array of officially licensed Shelby products and merchandise including vehicles, vehicle parts and accessories, diecast model cars, video games, clothing and artwork, as well as overseeing the perpetuation of Carroll’s legacy through independent automobile clubs such as “Team Shelby,” the “Shelby American Automobile Club” and the “Mustang Club of America.” Neil also serves on the Board of Directors of the Carroll Shelby Foundation, formed by Carroll in 1991 as a charity to provide medical and financial assistance to children in need of organ transplants and their families, as well as on the Board of Directors of the Shelby Automotive Museum, a nonprofit entity formed for the purpose of establishing a museum dedicated not only to Carroll Shelby’s life and iconic cars (such as the Shelby Cobra), but also the life and times of the great automotive pioneers who made the “American Muscle Car” what it is today…a symbol of power, creativity and fearlessness.

aaron shelby

Aaron Shelby.

Board Member, Carroll Shelby International, Co-President, Carroll Shelby Foundation.

Aaron was born and raised primarily in Dallas, TX, and graduated from Highland Park High School in 1990. He graduated from Santa Clara University in 1994 with Bachelor of Science in Commerce - Finance. He then started his career as a credit analyst at Inwood National Bank in Dallas.

Aaron then moved on to operate his own business, Mr. Bracket, which was automotive accessories distribution company that sold into automotive aftermarket retailers from 1999 - 2003. After selling Mr. Bracket, Aaron joined LegacyTexas Bank in order to represent the family's interest in the Bank on a day to day basis. With his father Patrick having been Chairman since the late 1980's, Aaron was excited to continue the family's legacy of association with the Bank.

Currently, Aaron is Executive Vice President over Commercial Lending and he operates as the Subsidiary Manager overseeing LegacyTexas Insurance, LegacyTexas Title and the LegacyTexas Mortgage

In addition to banking, Aaron operates the Shelby family's timber business in East Texas and is on the Board of Directors of the Dallas Children's Theater.

tracey smith

Tracey Smith.

Executive Vice President - Licensing & Media Relations, Director Team Shelby.

Tracey Smith is an accomplished business executive with expertise in branding, marketing, management and strategy. She leverages her passion for performance and experience in the entertainment, licensing and film industries to help Carroll Shelby International build its global businesses.

She initially studied fine arts in Los Angeles before transferring to Arizona State University for a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on written communication, entertainment and business. Ms. Smith also holds a degree in Executive Leadership from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

Ms. Smith spent her early years as a production artist and art director for some of Hollywood’s biggest studios including ABC, NBC, TLC and Playboy. She eventually joined Propaganda Films, a prolific and successful music video and film production company. There, she developed branding assets and presentations, in addition to working on various elements of film and commercial production. She worked with many notable directors who launched their careers at the studio.

She left the film industry to join the Electronic Entertainment/New Media groups at Mattel Inc. Harnessing her Hollywood background, Ms. Smith facilitated the development of Mattel’s online entertainment and software games. She was also a key member of the production team that launched HotWheelsCollector.com, a successful online initiative that cultivated the Hot Wheels Collector Community. The program became highly profitable for Mattel when an e-commerce division was added.

Ms. Smith moved from Mattel’s “New Media” division into the Hot Wheels Marketing Group, where she produced enthusiast events such as the Hot Wheels World Tour. She also expanded grass roots marketing efforts by integrating Mattel’s Hot Wheels brand into events such as the Woodward Dream Cruise and ComicCon.

She additionally cultivated relationships between Mattel and eBay. The relationships resulted in several profitable cross promotional programs including eBay’s first “experience auction”, when a Hot Wheel designer was auctioned as part of a “design experience” tour of Mattel’s famed design center. A subsequent relationship between Sotheby’s and eBay resulted in the auction of a jewel encrusted Matchbox fire truck, which set a record at the time for the highest price paid for a toy on eBay. A firm believer in community programs, Ms. Smith also supported the implementation of the Hot Wheels Exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum and Hot Wheels Hall of Fame programs.

In 2006, she joined Carroll Shelby Licensing, Inc. to help develop new business opportunities and increase branding and licensing efforts. She has been instrumental in cultivating new licensing categories and marketing outreach, in addition to expanding upon programs with existing licensees.

Some highlights for Ms. Smith at Shelby have included working with Electronic Arts on the first car designed in a video game that was subsequently built in real life and a partnership with Restoration Hardware resulted in Carroll Shelby being featured on the cover of eight million holiday catalogs. The Restoration Hardware program resulted in the auction of a one-off Shelby vehicle that benefitted the Carroll Shelby Foundation. According to eBay, the auction was the second most watched charity auction in their history behind Warren Buffett.

Product placement efforts in film and television have included Priceline, Jack-in-the-Box, Armor All, Goodyear, Texaco, “Need for Speed” and “The Getaway.” However, Ms. Smith feels that working with Carroll Shelby personally has been the biggest highlight.

Ms. Smith was promoted to the parent company, Carroll Shelby International in 2014. Her responsibilities include further expanding upon licensing, branding and media efforts for all of the company’s divisions worldwide. She is also an integral part of the continuing expansion of community programs such as Team Shelby and the new Carroll Shelby Automotive Museum.

ari kopmar

Ari Kopmar.

Executive Vice President, Consumer Initiatives, Carroll Shelby International.

A seasoned and respected international business executive, Ari Kopmar joined the Carroll Shelby International team as Vice President of Consumer Initiatives in October 2013. His responsibilities for the division include the creation, development and distribution of Shelby branded merchandise through multiple channels worldwide.

Mr. Kopmar’s credentials include great depth and breadth in international business. He is experienced in all aspects of acquisitions, sales and marketing. Kopmar joined the Shelby organization after serving as Vice President of Acquisitions and Project Development for BFS Entertainment. There, he licensed, marketed and released 800+ entertainment properties worldwide. Today, that experience helps him understand how to develop, market and offer merchandise to Shelby enthusiasts by creating a portfolio of high quality branded items at the best possible value.

Kopmar’s other experience include serving as Manger of New Business Development for global brand Avon Products and as an accountant at Ernst & Young, one of the "Big Four" audit firms.

Kopmar earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from City University of New York. His professional certification in direct marketing is from the University of Missouri, Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Administration.

An athlete, Kopmar has competed in full Ironman distance triathlons and regularly runs at marathon and trail races. He also enjoys volunteering for local charities.

gary patterson

Gary Patterson.

President, Shelby American Inc.

Gary Patterson has been a key team member at Shelby from the birth of the continuation Cobra to the Series 1 program through the current Mustang and Raptor based vehicles. He joined Shelby in 1996 and was promoted to President of Shelby American in December of 2016.

Patterson manages a broad range of strategic sales and consumer initiatives and experiences around the globe. Leveraging his extensive background with Shelby, he oversees a variety of programs that interact directly with enthusiasts and the media. Gary manages the Cobra dealer network and all Shelby Mod Centers. Patterson also plays a key role in the oversight of Team Shelby for Shelby American.

When Gary is not leading strategic sales he is a key test and development driver for the company. He has been deeply involved in the creation of every Shelby vehicle since the company moved to Las Vegas. He has also served as a factory team driver for Shelby American in various events.

Gary is currently on the NADA advisory board and is an Optima Batteries Power Pro Ambassador for Motorsports. He also serves as chief technical advisor for the Ultimate Street Car Association competition held in Las Vegas annually.

Gary has always been involved in motor sports. He raced everything from tricycles to Sports cars. He has loved Mustangs from the very beginning when his dad brought home a Mustang convertible in 1964. Those early years led to his first car purchase, a 1969 Mach 1 Mustang with 428 CJ engine that he owns to this day. Gary drag raced that car while in high school and later became involved in autocross and competed in a modified Corvette. He currently owns several key Shelby development vehicles that he has helped to develop with the team over the years.

Gary began his Open Road Racing career in 1991 when he began helping with Technical inspections for the Silver State Classic challenge Open Road race in central Nevada. He served on the Board of Directors and was Race Director of the Silver State Classic Challenge Open Road race from 1998 to 2004. He also served as Chief of Tech inspections. Patterson has a proven track record of energizing large groups of people in volunteer organizations.

In 2001, Gary helped to start the Sandhills Open Road Challenge based in Nebraska. The event quickly established itself as a great venue for Motorsports enthusiasts. This event and others that Gary has been involved with give hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities.

Prior to joining Shelby in 1996 Gary was Operations Manager of the TJ Maxx distribution center. For 15 years in this field Patterson established himself as a leader of associate teams.

Gary has served as President of the Mustang Club of Las Vegas, Vice President of Competition for the Central Buckeye Corvette Association and was an NCRS judge. At the Mid America Shelby Ford event each year, Gary serves as a driving instructor for the road course event.

Gary graduated with a BSBA from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls in 1982. His awards include one from Fort Findlay, his home town in Ohio, for achievements in his field.

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