The 2017 International Fast Lube Expo (iFLEX), presented by the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA), was once again combined with The Car Wash Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 4-6.
This year’s show was the biggest in 10 years with nearly 400 exhibitors and more than 8,100 attendees flooding the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show also included more than 70 education sessions over the course of three days, which sent operators home feeling inspired and full of new, great ideas. These sessions have become so well attended there was standing room only in most. In fact, this year there were three times as many educational sessions offered versus only two years ago in 2015. Talk about a testament to the show’s ever growing attendance and success.
One session that really stood out was the state of the industry breakfast accompanied by the keynote presentation. The state of the industry presentation was lead by International Carwash Association CEO Eric Wulf and president David Begin, who informed those in attendance on the success of last year and what’s in store for the remainder of 2017. The keynote was presented by Governor Tom Ridge, First Secretary of Homeland Security, Former Governor of Pennsylvania, president and CEO of Ridge Global and Partner and Ridge Schmidt Cyber. Governor Ridge went in-depth on the importance of cyber security, its evolution and how we can circumvent future issues. This was quite a treat from the man who has dedicated a large portion of his life to helping America overcome rather difficult obstacles.
A few other sessions that stood out included: Potential Impact of Self-Driving Cars on Engine Oil Requirements and Fast Lube Business, Products and Services Under Scrutiny and the New Investor’s Real Numbers and Pitfalls You Need to Know.
Apart from the educational sessions, the networking opportunities alone are astounding each year at this special event. The welcome reception took place on the show floor this year, which allowed vendors, operators and prospects alike to mingle and discuss the latest in technology and product offerings. One exceptional addition to this year’s show included a booth crawl, much like a pub crawl, where attendees could go from booth to booth drinking an ice cold beer while discussing the events of the day and new opportunities.
Other important events included the annual AOCA membership meeting, where Joanna Johnson, AOCA’s policy advisor, won the new membership recruitment award. David Haney, AOCA president, won the award for outstanding leadership and service.
New AOCA board members were also elected at the membership meeting. The AOCA board is currently made up of Dave Jensen, of Pennzoil 10 Minute Oil Change Centre in Ontario, Canada, as president; John Lindsay, of Power Lube Express Auto Care in Blackfoot, Idaho, as vice president; Bob Falter, of Multi Management Inc. DBA Jiffy Lube in Forest Hill, Maryland as treasurer; Bill Floyd, of Lucas Oil Center in Evansville, Indiana, as director; Sue Ackley, of Oil Change Plus in St. Louis, Missouri, as director; Jim Grant, of Fast Lube in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as director; and Greg Strawhun, of Lube Specialists, Valvoline Express Care in Troy, Missouri, as director. Vendor directors include Jeff Malicote, director and general manager of Express Care, for the Valvoline Division of Ashland Inc.; Amber Kossak, president and CEO of Solid Start/True Brand; Sean Malstrom, vice president of Sales at S&E Quick Lube Distributors, Inc.; and Steve Barram, CEO of Integrated Services, Inc. The combined show continues to grow and will take place once again in Las Vegas next year, April 26-28.