ARLINGTON, Texas — What are the marks of a successful regional carwash trade show?

The answer to that question depends on who you ask.

For exhibitors, the telltale signs of a great regional trade show are packed aisles, quality sales leads and plenty of networking and learning opportunities.

For attendees, a successful regional trade show includes being able to walk away from the event with great ideas and proven strategies to be successful.

With its three-day event, including two expo days and a schedule of events packed with learning, networking and entertainment, SCWA’s 2018 Convention and EXPO featured all of the above and much, much more.

Known as “the largest regional network of carwash owners and operators,” the association’s current members as well as newcomers flocked to the event this year, hosted by the Southwest Car Wash Association (SCWA).

Learning was just the beginning

SCWA 2018, which followed the theme of “Experience SCWA 2018,” offered a CEO Forum, a Quick Hits program, Ideas Exchange sessions, EXPO hours and as much networking and learning opportunities as attendees can pack into their three-day stay in Arlington — both on and off the show floor.

Sunday’s CEO Forum was presented by three of our industry’s top leaders: David Begin, Paul Fazio and Bill Martin. The trio tackled the critical issues that are facing our industry today and moving forward, including the future impact of on-demand rides on the carwash industry, car sales and technology, and how carwash operators can be more successful moving forward.

Monday’s program offered a wide variety of topics and formats to increase operators’ awareness and market knowledge. From the peer-to-peer Fast Tracks session, which allowed participants to pick and discuss topics of interest at roundtables, and the General Session, which featured a Welcome presentation by SCWA president DeWayne Hall as well as the 2018 SCWA Award Presentation, to the Keynote Address by former SEAL Team Six Leader Rob O’Neill, there was plenty to see and do prior to the opening of the trade show floor.

Showing up

SCWA 2018 hosted over 300 booths, comprised of the industry’s oldest and most respected manufacturers, distributors and consultants as well as some newcomers.

“We are pleased this year to present the largest SCWA EXPO ever,” remarked Hall. “We encourage you to use every EXPO hour to visit our exhibitors and see the latest in equipment, supplies and industry support.”

Judging from our experience at the show, a lot of new investors showed up this year, eager to learn the ins and outs of our industry as well as network. As one new investor was heard saying as we were walking around the expo floor, “This show is truly amazing. You really can’t put a price on what you get here,” he said.

The 2018 SCWA Lifetime Achievement Honoree is Ron Peterson, who was the CEO for Mister Car Wash for over 15 years and filled other important roles in our industry. With over 30 years of experience in carwashing, Peterson has made an impact throughout the industry, including stints on the board of the International Carwash Association, being an inductee in the association’s Car Wash Hall of Fame, working at Ecolab in various leadership positions as well as founding and serving as the CEO of Blue Coral Systems.

There was so much to take away from this year’s event in Arlington, and attendees and exhibitors certainly had a strong return on their investment in attending. These are just some of the highlights from this year’s show, but in order to get the full impact of the event you truly must “Experience SCWA” yourself.

Be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s SCWA Convention & EXPO, which is scheduled to take place from Feb. 24-26, 2019, once again in Arlington, Texas.

To learn more about SCWA, please visit