Professional Carwashing & Detailing

A change comes to the AOCA

March 8, 2011

If Leanne Stump has a fear of heights, it would come as a surprise to us. That’s because we’ve watched Stump climb the ladder at the Automotive Oil Change Association over the past 10 years and know she has the drive to take the Association even further.

Stump has been a hands-on employee at the Association ever since she started as bookkeeper and office manager in January 2000. Over the years, she involved herself with nearly every project at the AOCA; from making new member kits, and working the database, to learning about the Association’s numerous educational programs.

In 2006, she was promoted to director of member services and administration. She became a passionate advocate for AOCA members; helping to put the message out about the benefits the Association offered and looking for ways to grow these programs, as well. Her passion paid off, and last May she was named the first female executive director in the AOCA’s 25-year history.

Stump recently sat down with Professional Carwashing & Detailing to let us in her new role, her goals, and how carwashes and quick lubes are a match made in profit center heaven.

Professional Carwashing & Detailing: How does it feel to be the AOCA’s first female executive director and what are some of your goals?

Leanne Stump: It feels fantastic! Look at others in our industry: Our own board of directors named Patricia Wirth as president this year — only the second in the 25-year history of our Association.

The executive director of the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association is Celeste Powers and Kathleen Schmatz is president and CEO of Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association. I’m honored to be among these women.

One of my most important objectives is to find opportunities to reach out to our supplier members, other associations, and groups, where an overlapping interest exists in an effort to strengthen existing partnerships and build new ones to better our industry.

PC&D: What are some of the recent changes with the AOCA?

LS: I have a strong passion for our Association and its members; every day we strive to insure that we consistently deliver on our value proposition and our mission statement. I am proud to be the new face of this dynamic organization.

We have a terrific, energetic board of directors; our committees are involved and enthusiastic again; and we have an engaged, dedicated staff, all committed to making the AOCA the association for the fast lube industry.

We updated our logo, are redesigning our website, have given a completely new look to our newsletter, and increased our communications with our members, using targeted email, Facebook and Twitter.

PC&D: What advice do you have for carwash owners looking to add on a quick lube?

LS: Carwash and fast lubes both offer “do-it-for-me” types of services, based on convenience and outstanding customer service. In fact, as life becomes more fast paced, customers depend on fast lubes even more for quick, high-quality service that gets them back on the road — and the more services they can get in one stop, the higher their perceived value. This is where the marriage of a fast lube and carwash combination shows a promising future.

PC&D: What are some of the opportunities and challenges facing your members?

LS: We see another change in the industry that bodes well for the future. The fast lube employee, be it a lube tech or manager, is totally different than 20 years ago. Today’s employee is much better paid in terms of salary and benefits, and also much better trained.

Tighter labor markets, increased competition within and outside the industry, and the need for highly-qualified people to perform more complex maintenance procedures, have pushed up the quality level as never before. These employees are the true “face” of the fast lube industry and they are something to be proud of.

The industry will continue to mature and evolve to meet the needs of our customers and remain competitive. Fast lubes should be able to offer more services and lower prices as the industry consolidates under fewer and fewer owners with more buying power.

The industry must prepare itself for the next motor oil upgrade, the impending introduction of GF-5, DEXOS, and Diesel Exhaust Fluid. One of the OEM’s major goals for these newly formulated motor oils will be to make extended drain intervals a reality, while continuing to provide the engine protection that our high performance vehicles demand. Significantly extended intervals will require changes in how we do business going into the future. Smart cars, hybrids, all of these will change the way operators do business. We will be here to help prepare our members for these changes; to provide education and training on the impact of these changes and how to navigate the road ahead — together!