I recently attended a seminar where the speaker emphasized the importance of keeping your audience engaged. He suggested “switching gears,” and rotating between related topics to keep people focused and their energy levels up.

With that idea fresh in my mind and my first cup of coffee in hand, I will start this column with congratulations to the Northeast Regional Carwash Convention (NRCC) board and especially to the Host Association, The Mid-Atlantic Carwash Association.

This year’s chairperson, Dave DuGoff, and his fellow board members Mike and Heather Ashley did an amazing job with the 26th Annual NRCC. The move to the Atlantic City Convention Center (ACCC) has allowed the NRCC to grow in size, and with more than 300 booths it was the largest show floor we have ever had.

The show continues to grow and initial feedback from exhibitors and attendees has been extremely positive. I would like to especially thank Paul Fazio, CEO of Sonny’s the Carwash Factory, for his unwavering support of the NRCC and other regional events. His presentation, “The Future of Carwashing” took market analysis of our industry to an entirely new level. Whether you are a single or multi-site operator or looking at our industry for the first time, there was valuable information about the growth and potential, as well as his insight alerting you to where competition may lie. Thanks to Paul, members of our regional associations are better prepared to face the challenges of operating their businesses.

Tour of West Point

In New York State Car Wash Association (NYSCWA) business, we recently held our fall membership meeting at the Hotel Thayer at the West Point Military Academy. It was great to see so many members of other associations attend the event. More than 50 were treated to a tour of the historic Military Academy on a picture perfect fall day.

I would encourage anyone who is in the area to take a tour of the nation’s oldest military academy; it truly is an amazing place producing some of the best and brightest leaders our nation has to offer.

After the tour of the Academy we spent the afternoon visiting a number of carwashes in the Hudson Valley. This is always my favorite part of the meeting — carwashers spending time — in one-on-one conversation or group discussions that help us all improve our operations.

No matter how long you have been in this industry, there is always something to learn. I would like to thank the operators who opened their doors to us and shared their successes and failures with the group. We all learned a ton!

The day concluded with our membership meeting during which time we voted in our slate of officers and added Gary Baright of Foam & Wash Car Washes to the board. Gary has been a long-time carwash operator and has a passion for the business. He wants to share his passion and grow the membership ranks of the NYSCWA to new levels. His fresh perspective and willingness and desire to want to give back will no doubt make him a valuable member of the NYSCWA board. Gary, welcome aboard!

I’d also like to welcome officially, Todd Mills of Car Wash Products in Scotchtown. He took over a vendor vacancy last year and is already adding a great deal to the board. Thanks for stepping in and stepping up, Todd!

My first coffee is almost empty which means it’s time to get to work. I would like to again thank the members of NYSCWA association, the NRCC board and all those who make this industry a great way to do more than make a living. It is truly an honor to serve as the President of this association.

Walter Hartl

NYSCWA President