According to Columbia University, there are approximately 22,200 national associations and 115,000 associations with either a state, regional or local focus in the U.S. In the carwashing and detailing industries, we have several international, state and regional associations that bring members together through events.
One such event was recently held at the Fort Worth Convention Center from Feb. 27-March 1. The 2022 Southwest Car Wash Association (SCWA) Convention & EXPO is hosted annually in Texas, relocating to Fort Worth from Arlington in 2020 due to the show’s popularity and growing space and venue requirements.
According to an SCWA press release, “The 2022 edition of the Southwest Car Wash Association Convention & EXPO recently concluded, bringing together over 2,200 carwashers from 45 different states and Canada.”
The event included an expansive expo with more than 355 booths and over 80,000 square feet of the industry’s best products and technologies.
Attendees were treated to another great education and awards program. Headlined by keynote speaker Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House, the event also honored Jerry Miller, SCWA’s past president and former Fort Worth carwash owner, with the 2022 SCWA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Many other reputable consultants, speakers and industry thought-leaders participated, leading sessions and presentations during the three-day event.
I also had the honor of participating during the event’s closing session by moderating a panel that included Mammoth Holdings’ Gary Dennis, Autobell Car Wash’s Carl Howard, Sonny’s The CarWash Factory’s Paul Fazio and National Carwash Solutions’ Michael Gillen.
The discussion primarily focused on trends shaping the carwash industry’s future, including the state of mergers and acquisitions. During the session, the importance and future of trade associations was briefly discussed.
Responding to the question on associations’ role and future, Fazio recalled the integral role SCWA’s Executive Director Chuck Space and SCWA played in keeping our industry informed during what will hopefully be a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. SCWA’s bulletins helped confused carwash owners and operators navigate through tough times as essential businesses.
In my opinion, of all the roles trade associations fill, industry advocate is the most important. And, not all of these efforts make the headlines.
During the early days of pandemic lockdown, Carwash.com posted a news release that we found online about a carwash being forced to shut down. Within minutes of posting the press release, I received an email from Space. He asked if I had the contact information for the carwash chain so he could reach out.
Although the carwash was located outside of the southwest, Space wanted to help as an advocate for our industry.
By supporting our industry’s trade associations, you are supporting the industry’s future. We hope to see you at The Car Wash Show™ 2022 in Nashville, taking place on May 9-11 at the Music City Center.