This last year (2017) was a busy time for the International Detailing Association (IDA). The organization has experienced rapid growth in membership, both in the United States and abroad. At the writing of this article, the IDA membership numbers are well over 800 and we have members in over 33 countries. As the association continues to grow, our positive influence in the detailing industry will increase as well.

One of the areas that the IDA shines (get it?) is in education for our members. As the chair of the IDA’s Tradeshow and Education Committee (TEC), I can tell you that our crew spent countless volunteer hours coordinating with various related industry trade organizations to promote the detailing industry through educational offerings as well as representation at the various trade shows around the country and the world.

I would like to give a special call-out to the other members of the TEC, including Kevin Awalt, Brian Brown, Raoul Dahiya, Keith Duplessie, Paul Frasco, Jim Lafeber, Tom Palancia, Dave Patterson, John Pingol, Rob Schruefer, and Bob Wrasman. Thanks also to IDA board liaison Mike Phillips and IDA headquarters representative Cara Anderson for helping us along with our duties. Additionally, thanks to the many volunteers who manned IDA tradeshow booths or presented seminars over the year.

In 2017, the IDA was represented in one form or another at the following tradeshows:
• Mobile Tech Expo, Orlando, FL
• Southwest Car Wash Association Annual Convention, Arlington, TX
• Detail Fest, West Palm Beach, FL
• International Carwash
Association’s The Car Wash Show, Las Vegas, NV
• ICA’s Car Wash Show Europe, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
• Northeast Regional Carwash Convention, Atlantic City, NJ
• SEMA, Las Vegas, NV
• Gulf Car Wash Car Care Expo, Dubai

Additionally, the TEC is responsible for coordinating the IDA webinar series, which is available live on the third Thursday of most months. Previous webinars are available for viewing by IDA members in the members only area at Thanks to the 2017 webinar presenters Keith Duplessie, Alan LaBergere, Vincent Macri, Tom Palancia, Mike Phillips, Rob Schruefer, Prentice St. Clair, Barry Theal, Joe Torbatti, and Dylan Von Kliest.

With the help of these people, who took time out of their busy schedules to write and present the webinars, attendees were treated to a variety of technical and business management information. More information on the IDA webinar series, including how to register, is available at the IDA website.


This year is shaping up to be another great year of tradeshow appearances and webinars for the IDA. To help you plan your schedule, including recommendations for those on a time and travel budget, I will provide a preview of the IDA TEC’s current plans. As a caveat, the information presented here is correct at the time of writing, but to make sure that all of our plans come through as we progress through the year, please stay close to the IDA website, monthly newsletter, and Facebook offerings for more accurate information.

2018 Webinars

The January webinar is all set and is a very special event. We will be broadcasting live from Mobile Tech Expo during the “Topic Discussions” session on January 27, 2018, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm EST. This is a great time to hear a panel of experts discuss various topics in our industry.

The TEC is still in the planning stages for the rest of the webinars for 2018. We would love to hear from you as to the topics that you would like to have covered. Moreover, we are always looking for subject matter experts on such topics; so if you think you’ve got information to share with the industry, please speak up.

2018 Mobile Tech Expo

Since the IDA was established during an informal meeting of detailing friends in 2008 at the Mobile Tech Expo, it’s fitting that our biggest event of the year happens at this annual convention. This year’s MTE is at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, FL, January 26-28, 2018. MTE has always been one of the strongest events for the detailing industry, but it is exceedingly better with the involvement of the IDA.

The IDA will have a full day of educational seminars on Friday, January 26, with a variety of speakers presenting a full range of topics, including marketing and technical offerings. These seminars will be included in your MTE registration, and you do not have to be an IDA member to attend.

On the morning of January 27, there will be a “certification-in-a-day” event. In this four-hour event, attendees are provided an informative seminar by an IDA recognized trainer. Then, the attendees have the opportunity to complete all 10 of the IDA certified detailer exams in the same room, all in one day. Pre-registration is required, and there is a separate fee for this event. To register, go to

In the afternoon of January 27, there will be more seminars, including the “topic discussions,” during which a panel of eight industry experts will discuss eight separate topics that are relevant in our current world of automotive detailing. As mentioned earlier, this event will be broadcast live as one of our IDA webinars, so if you can’t make it, please register for the webinar.

The biggest annual event for the IDA happens on the evening of January 27, during which we will have our annual business meeting and awards ceremony, with free food and a no-host bar for the enjoyment of all who gather there. Typically, there are more than 100 detailing professionals present.

On Sunday, January 28, the IDA will host a “skills validation” event, which allows IDA certified detailers to complete phase II of the certification program by demonstrating detailing skills and knowledge. Pre-registration is required, and there is a separate fee for this event. To register, go to Spots are limited, so register early.

And remember that during the expo on Saturday and Sunday, the IDA booth will be open and manned by IDA headquarters personnel, members of the board of directors, and IDA member volunteers. This is a great chance to come by and chat with leaders in the industry. If you are not a member of IDA, you can certainly join at that time.

Tradeshows in 2018

Beyond Mobile Tech Expo, the IDA will have representation at several events throughout the year.

Southwest Car Wash Association Convention & Expo. For the fifth year in a row, the IDA will have an educational seminar series at the annual SCWA Expo at the Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, TX, February 25-27, 2018. We will also have a booth at the show, which provides a gathering place for members and non-members alike to discuss our industry. I have found this show to be one of the most friendly in the country, so if you are in the area, come on down.

Detail Fest. The 13th Annual Detail Fest will take place at the Palm Beach Convention Center in West Palm Beach, FL, March 17-18, 2018. The IDA will have a booth at this event. Stop by and learn more about membership and certification.

The Car Wash Show 2018. The IDA will likely have a booth at the annual show put on by the International Carwash Association, April 26-28, 2018 in Las Vegas, NV. Although this is the largest show for car washers in the country, typically there are representatives from the detail industry as well. Moreover, it is possible that the IDA will have additional involvement in this program, so stay tuned to see what that involvement ends up being.

SEMA 2018. At this show, which is the largest automotive-industry-related event in the world, we typically have a detailer’s “meet-and-greet”, a “certification-in-a-day” event, and lots of IDA supplier members exhibiting. The North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center becomes a buzzing beehive of professional detailers and industry leaders from around the world. SEMA is quickly becoming the West Coast meeting hub for our industry. This year, during the October 30 through November 2 running of the show, the IDA hopes to have even more to offer.

Other Shows. As we progress through the year and the TEC meets once a month, we discuss IDA involvement at additional tradeshows around the country and the world. Keep checking out the “events” tab on the IDA website to keep updated on the calendar of your industry.


I encourage all IDA members to become involved in your association. Our growth from a handful of people in 2009 to our current membership numbers is mostly a result of volunteer involvement. All of our programs have been developed, coordinated, and presented by volunteers. As the IDA increases its reach into the detailing industry and outreach to the motoring public, we will need more volunteers.

Go to the tradeshows above and network with IDA representatives and industry colleagues, attend the educational offerings at the various tradeshows, sit in on the webinars, join a committee, or run for the board of directors. Get involved!


Prentice St. Clair is an International Detailing Association Recognized Trainer and Certified Detailer. As the president of Detail in Progress Inc., he has been providing training and consulting to car washes and detail shops since 1999. He is available at (619) 701-1100 or