The Southwest Car Wash Association’s Annual Convention and Car Wash Expo for 2018 took place in Arlington, TX Sunday, February 25 through Tuesday, February 27. It was a record-breaking event with more than 1985 attendees.
The opening session on Sunday, the CEO Forum, featured three car wash industry veterans: David Begin of Wild Blue Car Wash, Sonny’s Enterprises’ Paul Fazio, and Bill Martin of Metro Express Car Wash. Begin addressed the ways in which technological advances such as autonomous cars and artificial intelligence might impact the car wash industry; Martin discussed the changing labor picture and listed what he believed were his operation’s four core strengths: place, people, process, and product; Fazio covered some of car wash owners’ most troubling concerns: consolidation in both the operator and vendor sectors, changing consumer preferences, and saturation.
The exhibit space, both the main floor and the annex, was once again packed to capacity with vendors offering their latest and best. In all, attendees had nine hours to browse the tradeshow floor and gather information on the most recent innovations in commercial car washing.
The association bestowed its highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award on Ron Peterson during the general session on Monday morning. Now retired, Peterson has over 30 years of experience in the car wash industry. He spent 12 years with Ecolab before founding Blue Coral Systems in 1986 where he served as CEO until it was sold in 1999 to Ecolab. Peterson also served as CEO of Mister Car Wash for 15 years, spearheading the company’s rapid growth.
On Monday, the Fast Track Round Tables, offering 15-minute discussions on a variety of subjects, were well attended. During the Car Wash Academy on Tuesday morning, nine educational sessions were presented across three time slots. In addition, the International Detailing Association presented a morning of detailing-focused education.
The SCWA 2019 Convention & Expo is scheduled for February 24-26 in Arlington, TX. For further information, visit www.swcarwash.org or call the Southwest Car Wash Association at (800) 440-0644.