International Carwash Association’s 2021 Annual Report
We’re thankful to provide you with a much improved upon report on the status of International Carwash Association® for 2021. Thanks to your support, we were able to sustain through the challenges of the pandemic and the two and a half years between editions of The Car Wash Show™️. From setting records in 2019 to losing 90% of projected revenue in 2020 to our success in Las Vegas this past November… well, we’re hopeful that the roller coaster ride is over.
But ICA is more than a trade show, and we departed 2021 with that statement never being more true. The crisis forced us to reevaluate everything that we do, from how we serve the car wash community, to how we structure our staff to how we govern the organization. In each of those areas, we evolved, innovated, and grew. In many ways, we enter 2022 a healthier association than we were at the end of 2019.
Of course, the world didn’t wait around for ICA. Things continue to change at a rapid pace, and there are few places where this is more evident than the car wash industry. Because of that, it’s important that we continue to seek new ideas, experiment with new concepts and challenge previous conclusions.
The pages that follow provide a description of your Association’s accomplishments over the past year, and we do this for a few reasons. First, we believe that those who support ICA deserve to be shown how the Association’s resources are being used. Second, we want to invite suggestions, feedback and even criticism, because it’s the only way we’ll improve. And third, we want you to be informed and proud of your industry’s association. In fact, we even hope you’ll encourage others to join in support.
It has been our privilege to serve you over the past year. Best wishes for a very successful 2022, and we hope to continue to earn your support.
Ken Littrell, President
Eric Wulf, CEO
International Carwash Association serves the car wash community through three primary initiatives: events, education and communication. Members and sponsors support each, with additional benefits delivered to them in return.
While it occurred well outside of the traditional spring timeframe, simply having a successful trade show was deemed to be more important than when it would occur. Fortunately, that objective was met in November when The Car Wash Show 2021 opened in Las Vegas, Nevada. Total participation was slightly above the event’s long-term average, with approximately 7,400 car wash operators and suppliers gathering for the three-day event.
The exhibition was expectedly smaller than the record-setting 2019 event, but only slightly lower than the long-term average with approximately 138,000 square feet of products from 369 participating companies.
Some elements of the event were curtailed due to health restrictions, including the traditional general session. Instead, awards were presented in a reception hosted by ICA President Ken Littrell. Honored were Car Wash Hall of Fame Inductee Dan Pecora, accepted posthumously by his son Robert, and Distinguished Achievement Award winner Anthony Analetto.
While some of ICA’s other networking events are awaiting their return from the pandemic hiatus, the Executive Management Institute made its return to Indiana University in August. The event was again sold-out, and feedback from the cohort that engaged in an intensive full-week, on-campus learning experience was exceptionally positive.
In January, ICA announced the launch of LEAD™️, an online training platform for car wash managers. LEAD, an acronym for leadership, education and development, offered twenty-two talent management courses, which has since been expanded to a total of thirty with the addition of eight courses in the area of communication and service. The LEAD courses are made available on a learning management platform that can be optionally customized to host a car wash company’s existing educational content.
LEAD was developed over a nearly two-year period with the input of more than two dozen car wash leaders and managers, together representing more than 300 years of hands-on car wash experience. The resulting courses offer users practical lessons, gathered onsite at real world car wash locations, with easy-to-understand progress reporting for users and learners.
Content is available on an unlimited subscription basis, which protects car wash owners from lost training investments due to employee turnover. With LEAD, any employee can take any course, as many times as they’d like – and earn an ICA learning credential for successful completion. You can learn more at carwash.org/lead.
2021 was the milestone ten-year anniversary of the launch of CAR WASH Magazine™️. In that time, the magazine has grown in size and scope, while continuing to evolve in order to serve the changing needs of car wash business leaders. Today, ICA’s flagship print publication is delivered each quarter to members and supporters around the world, complemented by new media offerings that reach an even larger audience.
CAR WASH Magazine Live is the weekly online broadcast featuring the week’s stories and interviews with car wash personalities. CAR WASH The Podcast is the serial audio program, bringing in-depth conversations with some of the industry’s leading thinkers. CAR WASH News is the weekly email digest of headlines and happenings, delivered to more than 20,000 subscribers per week.
ICA experienced a 55% increase in membership in 2021, a sharp increase that was supported by the Association’s new individual membership model. For only $10 a month or $120 a year, individuals can become ICA members. Companies can purchase memberships on behalf of their employees through the new Corporate Supporter program, at a discount. Regardless of the path, each member receives the following:
A print subscription to CAR WASH Magazine, delivered each quarter.
Exclusive invitations to Pitch™️ presentations, featuring fast-moving online product presentations.
Exclusive insights from Pulse™️ surveys, providing industry-leading growth projections and sentiment monitoring.
Exclusive access to experts in the areas of vehicle design and consumer research, focused on car wash industry priorities and opportunities.