32nd NRCC Continues to Raise the Bar
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — The 32nd Northeast Regional Carwash Convention (NRCC), September 19-21, at the Atlantic City Convention Center reached its highest booth count in the show’s history, with 358 sold. And although attendee numbers did not surpass those of 2022, the energy from the seminar lineup and Keynote Speaker put the show over the top, according to Dave Ellard and John Shalbey, Jr., show co-chairs. “Attendees were excited to be at an event with a bunch of carwash entrepreneurs and be able to talk about business, make deals and have fun,” said Shalbey. “From the exhibitor side I heard that attendees were not just kicking tires, but truly investigating and spending money on the latest and greatest technology.”
A wide range of educational options elevated the 32nd NRCC, according to Education Chair Suzanne Stansbury. “It’s always a challenge to select a topic that is far-reaching and then find someone who is skilled in delivering exceptional content. Luckily, we were able to get presenters with lots of charisma and content this year. I was really happy with our educational offering.”
The lineup included the annual “Virtual Carwash Tour” facilitated by Tom Hoffman, Jr. of Hoffman Car Washes and InnovateIT. The sites shown virtually were Flagship Car Wash owned by Guy Paolozzi in MD/VA; Rainforest Car Wash, owned by the Giles family in Ohio and Sudzy Salmon, owned by Jason Woodward in Eagle River, Alaska.
“This seminar gets a great attendance and is always full of information you can take home to your wash,” said Hoffman.
On day two of the show attendees were able to partake of an extensive buffet breakfast before soaking up content from the Early Bird panel discussion. This panel is meant to be unscripted and cover topics relating to all carwash models. Panelists included Amanda Kubarek of K & S Car Wash, Auburn, NY; Victor Thomas of Washsense Group LLC, Easthampton, NJ; Mike Ashley of Virginia Car Wash Industries, Inc., Toms Brook, VA; and Bob Rossini of Torrington Car Wash, Torrington, CT. The panel was moderated by the New England Carwash Association’s Patrick Mosesso.
Next up was an insightful program on “How to Create a Carwash Mentoring Program” facilitated by Carla Thompson, Human Resource Manager with Mister Car Wash. She shared her first-hand experience in running extremely successful programs and why they matter.
“How to Foster a Talent-ful Carwash,” facilitated by Jason Woodward of Sudzy Salmon Car Wash in Eagle River, AK, showed attendees how a lot of hard work and ingenuity can result in carwashes that are empowered by their employees. He doesn’t stress about recruitment and employee retention, he lets his employees help him recruit and retain great talent.
Exceptional Keynote Speaker
Listening to United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, the Keynote Speaker, had you near tears one minute and laughing the next. The quadruple amputee who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan shared his story of bravery, courage and determination to regain his life after his severe injuries by giving back and never giving up. He is the New York Times bestselling author of “Touch as they Come” and he and his wife Kelsey founded the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed to benefit and assist post 9/11 veterans who have been injured in active duty or as a result of their service. Sgt. Mills travels around the country sharing his story and his recalibrated outlook on life. “I heard nothing but great things about the Keynote,” recounted Shalbey. “Sergeant Travis Mills was so inspiring and powerful that he put everyone’s problems into perspective in that room including mine.”
The Keynote was generously sponsored by Micrologic Associates and InnovateIT. You can learn more at travismillsfoundation.org and you can also scan a QR code at nrccshow.com to help support his efforts.
This year’s awards were presented by Co-Chair Dave Ellard. Recipients included 2019 Emerging Leader Tyler Shreck with Autobell Car Wash, who was unable to attend last year’s show due to illness, and 2022 Emerging Leader recipient Nathan “Davy” Bass with White Horse Auto Wash. New England Carwash Association (NECA) Executive Director, Sherri Oken, was also honored with the Guiding Light Award for her service to the association, but was unable to attend. NECA Past President Paul Vercollone was awarded the Most Distinguished Person Award and the association’s highest honor, its Hall of Fame Award, was bestowed to Mike Ashley, Jr. for his tireless service to the board and industry. Ashley has served as the President of the Mid-Atlantic Carwash Association twice and has been on the NRCC board for more than a decade. He is a great neutralizer and problem solver and has an ability to address any situation with a level head and practicality that has made him an integral component on the board.
Welcome Reception Highlight
A highlight of the show is its annual Welcome Reception sponsored by ICS. This casual meet and greet includes complimentary beverages and light New Jersey fare before everyone sets out for dinner with friends and vendors. “The last two years we have held the event at the ACCC just at the close of the show on Tuesday,” recounted Heather Courtney, Show Manager. “It’s a great opportunity to take a break after walking the floor and catch up with friends old and new. It’s been a highlight of our show for years and we couldn’t do it without the generosity of ICS.”
The event’s final seminar on Wednesday was a panel discussion on “How to Grow your Club and Build your Brand.” Beth Martin, Vice President of Marketing at Express Wash Concepts, OH, lead the panel that consisted of Kacy Erdelyi, VP of Marketing with Spark Car Wash, NJ; Nick Lopez, President of bubble Bath Services, TX; and Wade Keith, Brand Manager of Breeze Thru Car Wash in WY and CO. The energetic and knowledgeable panelists had more than enough content for the seminar while covering a number of marketing bases. A power point of the program is available at nrccshow.com
“We have a limited number of educational slots to fill, which makes the selection process challenging, but we do encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas with us,” said Stansbury. “You can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 800/868-8590.
The 33rd NRCC is slated for October 2-4 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Make sure to visit nrccshow.com in the coming months for registration and seminar information. The Connecticut Carwash Association is the 2023 host association.