LAS VEGAS — The Car Wash Show™ 2017, hosted by the International Carwash Association (ICA), was one for the record books over the past 10 years, according to ICA President David Begin.

The ICA, in partnership with the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA) and the Western Carwash Association (WCA), welcomed the professional carwash industry to Las Vegas for The Car Wash Show 2017 from April 4-6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The event included 400 exhibiting companies over three days of trade show hours, 48 education sessions, two comprehensive seminars, new and enhanced networking events and a keynote address from Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, former governor of Pennsylvania and the Chairman of Ridge Global.

On Wednesday morning, at the State of the Industry Breakfast and Keynote Presentation, Begin noted the significant momentum carrying the industry.

“Welcome to our general session and the largest convention we have had in 10 years,” said Begin, referencing the number of carwash operators in attendance and the number of exhibitors and trade show floor space. “This is an incredibly exciting time in our industry. The retailer and supplier segments of our industry perhaps have never been stronger. [The industry] has attracted a lot of interest in new and unprecedented ways.”

During this session, Begin and ICA’s CEO, Eric Wulf, both noted the significant improvements made in the technologies and processes found in this industry.

“Tell me if you agree,” Begin asked rhetorically. “Do you think we’re putting out cleaner cars, more consistently, at better-looking retail locations with more efficiency than ever before?”

Continuing its mission to help owners, operators and members be more successful, ICA promised to hold an event “redefining how you think about your business” and “bringing you together.”

At the general session, Begin and Wulf recapped the association’s strategic partnerships, including with the Automotive Oil Change Association and the Western Carwash Association, which co-hosted the event.

The duo also noted other ways ICA is working hard for carwash owners and operators as well as the industry as a whole.

In addition to offering comprehensive research to support its membership base, Begin and Wulf also highlighted ways the association is working with a wide range of groups, from the automotive industry to legislators, on such important issues as emerging vehicle technologies and water usage.

“No matter how good the economy is, how great the tunnel is and how good the technology of the soap is, it’s still the case that nothing happens in this industry without great, talented people,” concluded Begin, prior to the keynote address.

During the keynote, Ridge delivered the address, “From risk to resilience: The global mission to secure cyberspace.” According to the association’s literature, if there is one person who knows how to conquer a challenge, it’s Ridge.

However, even Ridge knows that success, regardless of the industry or the mission, doesn’t happen alone. Ridge encouraged attendees to get involved to keep our industry moving forward.

“Your associations have a very important role to play,” confirmed Ridge. “The fact that you all come together as a group of associations to promote special interests [that impact your industry] is very much a part of the political process. So, I encourage you to stay involved with the associations and understand what they are doing on your behalf. And, if your association calls on you to pay a visit to a local legislator, take them up on it. There’s nothing more important than your elected official to see you in person advancing your cause.”

The buzz and the excitement from this year’s show was witnessed on and off the show floor.

It’s not too early to start making plans for next year’s show, which is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center from April 26-28, 2018.

For more information about this year’s show and next year’s event, be sure to regularly visit www.carwash.com and www.carwash.org.