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meet the team

Meet our Team

joe conway

Joe E. 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.

Aaron Shelby.

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

Born and raised primarily in Dallas, TX and graduated from Highland Park High School in 1990.

Graduated from Santa Clara University in 1994 with BS Finance degree.

Currently, Aaron's position at Prosperity Bank is DFW Area President and he manages the Bank's Mortgage Operation and a Commercial Lending Group in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Aaron operates the Shelby family's timber business in East Texas- JFS Timber Partners

In April of 2016 Aaron was named to the Board of Carroll Shelby International, the umbrella organization under which the Shelby entities operate. In this roll he acts as brand ambassador for Shelby and helps to maintain the relationship with Ford Motor Company

His charity work currently includes being on the Board of Directors of the Carroll Shelby Foundation and previously working with NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) and The Dallas Children's Theater.


tracey smith

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, 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.


gary patterson

Gary Patterson.

President, Shelby American Inc.

As president of Shelby American, Gary Patterson oversees all manufacturing, sales, operations, distribution and marketing. He has been a key Shelby team member since the birth of the continuation Cobra in 1966 through current Mustang and Ford F-150 based vehicles.

Patterson manages a broad range of strategic sales, consumer initiatives and experiences around the globe. Those programs interact directly with enthusiasts, suppliers, the Las Vegas Community and media. Patterson also manages the Cobra dealer program and Shelby Mod Shops worldwide.

He has also been a liaison with all military branches throughout his tenure at Shelby. He has hosted various military groups at the factory, promoted job opportunities at Shelby for those transitioning out of the service and been a key contact with military bases across Southern Nevada. A major supporter of the armed forces, his two sons currently serve in the United States Air Force and Coast Guard.

Patterson is a key test and development driver for Shelby. He has been deeply involved in the creation and refinement 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.

Patterson is 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.

Patterson has always been involved in motorsports and raced everything from tricycles to sports cars. His love for Mustangs began when his father brought home a 1965 convertible. Those early years led to his first car purchase, a 1969 Mach 1 Mustang which he still owns. Patterson 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 helped to create over the years

Patterson began his Open Road Racing career in 1991 by helping with technical inspections at the Silver State Classic Challenge Open Road race in 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. In 2001, Patterson helped to start the Sandhills Open Road Challenge based in Nebraska. The event quickly established itself as a great venue for motorsports enthusiasts.

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

Patterson 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, Patterson serves as a driving instructor for the road course event.

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

Patterson was promoted to President of Shelby American in December 2016.


Vince LaViolette.

Vice President - Production and R&D.

Vice president of Operations Vince LaViolette is cut from the same cloth as Shelby icons such as Ken Miles and Phil Remington. Since joining Shelby American in 1999, the native Californian has been involved in every aspect of vehicle development and production at the automaker.

Vince has a broad range of duties at Shelby American. These include production line management, Research and Development, new product initiatives and integration with club activities. When Vince is not inside the production facility, he is a key test driver for the company. He has also served as a factory team driver for Shelby American in various events.

For years, Vince worked personally with Carroll Shelby on vehicle development. Their close business relationship ingrained Shelby’s values into Vince, so that the vehicles built at Shelby today still follows Carroll’s vision of performance. Vince also leverages his extensive background in racing, automotive fabrication and custom work to pour the best performance attributes into Shelby products.

Vince is a third generation racing enthusiast. His career began as a high-performance engine builder for a boat company. Soon after, Vince became involved in the automotive customizing world. He eventually joined a local dealership where he worked his way up to upper management. It was during this time, that Vince became involved in racing.

In 1983, he began driving in the Winston West NASCAR series. After his first race, Vince was hooked. Eventually he owned a hot rod and racecar shop until joining Shelby.


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