The 22nd annual Mobile Tech Auto Recon Expo (MTE) took place January 27-29 in Orlando, FL — in person! It was held this year at the Rosen Shingle Creek Convention Center. MTE caters to the mobile (and fixed) automotive reconditioning industry, including detailing, paint, paintless dent removal, interior surface repair, and accessories. The annual gathering has also become the most prominent event for the International Detailing Association (IDA) and its members.
Last year, MTE was cancelled due to the pandemic. We did, however, get together in 2020 just before the shutdown. So, it had been a couple of years since many of us had seen each other in person, especially considering most of our other annual gathering events had also been cancelled.
It was just like old times. Attendance seemed to be as good as it ever was. And, in typical fashion, MTE was a whirlwind of activity that included numerous educational opportunities, certification events, plenty of vendor booths to visit, old friends to catch up with and new friends to meet, and dozens of formal and informal meetings.
WHAT ALL WAS THERE TO SEE?
I am not ashamed to admit that I am biased in reporting the events of the IDA, but before we get to that, let’s look at the convention as a whole.
There were at least 125 exhibitors of numerous automotive reconditioning wares, including paintless dent removal tools and supplies; automotive detailing equipment, chemicals, tools, and supplies; business management software; interior surface repair supplies; automotive paint chemicals, tools, and supplies; as well as general equipment and supplies needed to run a mobile or fixed operation. Detailing-related vendors accounted for at least 40 percent of the tradeshow floor, most of which are current IDA supplier members.
Education was again a large focus of the convention. “Education Day” was returned to Thursday this year. It featured 60 seminars from industry leaders on virtually every aspect of automotive reconditioning techniques, tools, and business management.
The convention was peppered by numerous meetings and receptions from industry leaders and affiliated trade associations. A highlight event of MTE each year is the opening reception and awards ceremony, which took place on Thursday evening. This year’s winner of the Mobile Tech Expo “Detail Person of the Year” award was Jason Bruno.
The Rosen Shingle Creek venue was hospitable, to say the least, with plenty of eating and drinking establishments. And it was especially nice to have the expo in the same complex, and the education rooms right next door to the expo hall.
THE IDA AT MTE
Thanks in part to the numerous and generous IDA member sponsors, as well as the countless hours of IDA directors, committee chairs, and IDA member volunteers, Mobile Tech Expo was once again a success for our association, its members, and detailers in general.
The IDA booth served as a hub of activity on the tradeshow floor. The booth was staffed by IDA headquarters representatives, including executive director Sheryle Hazard, staffers Alex Hazard and Anne Lacher, and IDA member volunteers who generously gave their time in shifts over the course of the two-day expo. These folks were instrumental in greeting and answering the questions of current IDA members, as well as encouraging prospective members to join our growing organization. Thanks to all involved in signing up at least 18 new IDA members, as well as renewing numerous recently-lapsed memberships.
The IDA tradeshow and education committee organized a full day of eight one-hour seminars, with presentations made by industry leaders on multiple topics relating to the detailing industry. Thanks to MTE management for supplying us with an education room for the entire convention. And thanks to all the presenters, who generously gave their time so that all of us could receive new and exciting information about our industry.
Session attendance ranged from 30 to 81 people. (Pretty cool, as I remember the days when we were happy to have 10 people in the room.) IDA detailing session presenters included:
• Kyle Clark, CD-SV
• John Corinella, CD-SV, MC
• Sydni Brae Gwinn, CD-SV
• Dustin Jackson, CD-SV, MC
• Jim Lafeber, CD-SV, RIT
• Jason Rose, CD-SV, RIT
• Sarah Turner
• And a panel representatives of several detailing software companies, moderated by Rob Schruefer, CD-SV, RIT
As usual, the IDA offered detailing certification opportunities for attendees. A “Certification-in-a-Day” event was held on Friday morning. This four-hour event allows a detailing technician the opportunity to complete all 10 of the IDA’s Certified Detailer Exams at one location, while listening to industry experts provide a seminar that contains the information needed to pass the exams. In attendance were 16 detailers seeking IDA detailing certification.
Additionally, an IDA Skills Validation event took place all day Saturday in the IDA demo area of the tradeshow floor. This event provided an opportunity for those detailers who have already achieved Certified Detailer status to complete phase II of the IDA certification process, known as “SV”, short for Skills Validated. A total of 16 certified detailers received their skills validation.
If you want to get your IDA-SV at next year’s MTE, sign up as soon as the event is announced on the IDA website; space is always at a premium.
A new addition to this year’s IDA Certification offerings was the Marine Certification-in-a-Day that occurred Friday afternoon. This certification is for those who offer watercraft detailing in their operation. Once a detailer has achieved the CD designation, marine certification can be attempted. MC consists of five, 10-question exams, each of which focusses on a specific aspect of boat and watercraft detailing. There were nine attendees at this first-ever offering.
The highlight of the IDA’s involvement in MTE is the annual business meeting and awards ceremony. Alan Medcraf, CD-SV, RT — our current IDA president — came all the way from Scotland and did a bang-up job as master of ceremonies. As the 200 in attendance enjoyed sponsored food and a no-host bar, Alan kept the meeting moving with humorous quips and light-hearted introductions.
IDA executive director Sheryl Hazard presided over the events that included the swearing in of the new IDA board of directors. These voluntary positions help guide the course of the IDA. New board members this year include:
• Josh Petro, CD-SV
• Tom Smith, CD-SV, RT
• Shad Stoker, CD-SV
• Chris Williams, CD-SV
Jason Rose, CD-SV, RIT, provided the audience with an update on IDA’s international chapters. Three new chapters were introduced: Brazil, The Netherlands, and Poland. These join the 10 other current IDA international chapters: Belgium/France, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Southeast Asia, and United Kingdom.
AND THE WINNER IS?
A special part of the annual business meeting is always the presentation of the IDA annual awards. This year’s recipients are as follows:
• IDA Outstanding Service Award: Tom Palancia, CD-SV, RIT
• IDA Detail Shop of the Year Award: Justin Day from Detailers of Las Vegas
• IDA Mobile Detailer of the Year Award: Ronald Clune
• IDA Detail Supplier of the Year: Alan Medcraf, CD-SV, RIT
• IDA Detailer of the Year: Brian Finn, CD-SV, MC, RIT
• IDA Lifetime Achievement Award (In Loving Memory): Rick Goldstein
Speaking of Rick, who we unexpectedly lost in December of 2021, Keith Duplessie announced the establishment of the Rick Goldstein Memorial Scholarship, which was spearheaded by Meghan Poirier. This scholarship will be funded by the IDA Founder’s Club Endowment Fund. As was noted by many at the event, Rick was a firm believer in “giving back,” and did so with great generosity, to the IDA and many individuals (including myself) in the industry. It is only fitting that this scholarship be named for him.
A special moment in the ceremonies is the IDA Hall of Fame inductions. Because we did not meet in person last year, the 2021 inductees were recognized in addition to the 2022 inductees. The Hall of Fame is steered by the IDA Founders Club. In an emotional ceremony, each inductee was introduced and brought to the stage.
The 2021 inductees were:
• Keith Duplessie, CD-SV-MC, RIT
• Jim Goguen, CD-SV-MC, RIT
• Elmer Rich (posthumously, acceptor not in attendance)
• Prentice St. Clair, CD-SV, RIT
• Greg Swett, CD-SV
The 2022 inductees were:
• Jack Burford (posthumously accepted by John Bell)
• Karen Duncan (retired)
• Robert Eichelberg
• Jason Rose, CD-SV, RIT
After only 13 years of existence, it’s fantastic to realize that the IDA, which came from 12 original members, now has over 2,100 members; including 350 supplier members; from 75 countries; 13 international chapters. It is quite obvious that this association is around for the long-haul and will only get bigger and better.
As one of the IDA committee chairs, I was privileged to be invited to sit in on the goal-setting part of the IDA annual face-to-face board of directors meeting, which occurred the Wednesday before the expo. Having served on the board for the first six years of the IDA’s existence, I can assure you that the current board is made up of a high-quality, driven, and intelligent group of professionals, each of whom brings different experiences and talents to the table. And with the very capable leadership of 2022 president Alan Medcraf, this group is destined to help the IDA achieve its full potential for the year.
Stay tuned to the IDA newsletters, e-blasts, and Facebook postings, as the association continues to improve its current programs while rolling out new programs to benefit members.
The next Mobile Tech Expo will take place January 26-28, 2023 at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, FL.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.