CHICAGO — Prior to the keynote address by Daymond John and Robert Herjavec of the hit show “Shark Tank,” CEO of the International Carwash Association, Eric Wulf, addressed the audience at McCormick Place on a number of topics, including the European show.
Wulf said that 2013 marked the fourth year of membership growth for the ICA. The WaterSavers® program has also experienced a greatly increased membership, according to Wulf, and is a way for washes to promote being environmentally friendly.
The emergence of the European wash market has made a show in Europe a way to enhance relationships with the U.S. carwash business. Wulf said it was a “new way to build a brand and develop a market.”
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He also emphasized that the ICA “hasn’t forgotten who we are,” and that’s a group for its members. Wulf talked about how the ICA board is made up of a diverse group of those who represent all facets of the market.
ICA President Gary Dennis took the stage, and gave two awards for integral members of the wash business. The “Inspiration Award” was given to Brain Campbell, who was flown to the show at the expense of those in the carwash business. Campbell was described as the "biggest fan” of carwashes. His enthusiasm immediately overtook the room as he accepted the award with a big smile, and told the audience “Thank you so much, I love car washes!”
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The granddaughter of Leo J. Rousseau, Cynthia Watson, accepted the Carwash Hall of Fame award. Rousseau was a founding owner of the first real production line carwash. He also developed the “Minit Man” system, which was a station to station wash system, which revolutionized the business before World War II.
Watson said that her grandfather would have loved to get the chance to experience the modern carwash business. “To see the evolution of the industry would have been awe-inspiring” to him, she said.