Recap of Winter Meeting & A Taste of Napa Valley 1.26.21

Part I: Welcome, Reports, Updates

Newly installed President Patrick Mosesso welcomed over 80 people to our January 26th annual winter event, made possible with the efforts of a hard working committee and through the support of our very generous sponsors: AutoWash Technologies, DRB Systems, Maintenance Technology, Simoniz and Washify Services. Plus, Fernando and Fabiano from Washify again worked behind the scenes to bring us this virtual event.

He recognized outgoing Board members Jeff Arimento, Kevin McLoughlin and Micah Smith with special plaques. Mat Paisner, who will serve as Immediate Past President, received the traditional plaque with a bronze gavel in recognition of his presidency. 
Jeffrey Katseff, our new Operator Vice President, noted that applications for $1,000 NECA scholarships are available now. Anyone employed, full or part time for at least 1 year by a NECA company member, or their child or spouse, is eligible to apply, and should contact the NECA office for an application. The application deadline is April 30th. He also reminded us to order Covid messaged, Windmaster signs (see page 4).

John Shalbey, our new Treasurer, provided a financial report indicating that the financial state of the Association is strong despite challenges caused by Covid. He noted that in 2021, we will run at a deficit, largely due to the lack of Northeast Regional Carwash Convention (NRCC) income but have more than adequate savings to make up the difference, and to continue to provide exceptional benefits and services for our members.

Digital Reputation Management and Marketing Program

Scott Bernstein, COO of Mittcom, the agency working with us to deliver the program, reported statistics indicating the initial success of the program as of this meeting: over 182,000 individuals have been introduced to NECA and our car washing messaging through; there has already been nearly 1,000 location searches for local area car washes; and over 158,000 individual people have watched our videos, some more than once. This data is being used to re-target interested individuals. To drive business to member washes, every single member car wash has been geo-targeted by zip code to create a distance radius around each wash, the size of which is determined by population density. As more people visit our site and click through, the cost to NECA decreases, and the benefit to our members and the New England industry grows.

NECA is a Team Effort

Before beginning the educational portion of the program, President Mosesso emphasized that you don't have to be an elected leader on the Board to be part of the leadership or to volunteer and help out. He credited the many members who step up and volunteer, and who are responsible for building NECA's reputation as one of the most progressive, active and successful regional associations.

In particular, he thanked Molly Messina of Royal T Car Wash, who graciously volunteered to be our social media monitor; Molly's Dad Brian, who has organized years of car wash tours for our members; Kevin McLoughlin, who has been heading up our dinner program planning; and Peter Silk and Greg Thompson, 2/3 of our scholarship review team. Golf outing chair Mark Delaney, assisted by Chris Ouimet and Felix Taranto, who hope to present a golf outing in September.

Some current opportunities:

  • Work with our management to develop content for our quarterly E-Newsletter for members.
  • Join an advisory task force on responding to social media posts.
  • Participate in a task force, or offer suggestions, on ways to spotlight supplier members, our industry partners in the absence of live exhibits. See page 4.

 Part II: Education

Note: If you have questions for any of the panelists, please contact the NECA office for how to contact them.

Panel Presentation: Carnauba Wax vs Ceramic

Moderator: Chris Ouimet/Fitzy’s Car Wash

Panelists: Frank Yonker/Qual-Chem, John Shalbey/RoJo, Stu Hulsey/ZEP, Chris Zona/Fresh Auto Wash, Al West/Simoniz

The discussion began by differentiating between carnauba hot wax, a natural occurring hard wax, with a high melting point, that is rubbed in and sits on the surface and ceramic clear coat, a sealant, composed of self-curing silicone polymers that hardens over time and bonds to the surface. They do similar things but ceramic has some added water repellency.

The panelists agreed that if space and budget allows, offer as many options to the customer as possible. These are value-added services that work to increase the average ticket. They suggested situating your carnauba application in the first half of the tunnel and the ceramic application towards the end.

Ceramic is all the rage now in the detail industry and experiencing increased customer demand. Each finish tends to last for around 30 days but variable conditions such as weather, the type of wash, etc. affect carnauba shine and ceramic durability.

Panelists pointed out that there is an additive effect over time. Applying a drying agent with ceramic is advantageous since the more layers, the greater the depth of beauty. Plus a drying agent will help rinse out of cracks and crevices.

The products work so well together but there might be some challenges in older in- bay automatic configurations. You may not be able to put up another arch although equipment manufacturers are adding more relays and injectors to accommodate more applications. It was advised that it's important to balance the spacing between applications to get water off the car.

Operators are marketing to consumers through on-site signage and Facebook. Some are offering the applications a la carte at point of sale, some are bundling the applications in their higher end packages, and some are customizing expanded plans on customer request.

Panel Presentation: Maximizing Drying Efficiency

Moderator: Mat Paisner/ScrubaDub

Panelists: Mike Snow/Maintenance Tech, Matt McNamara/PECO Car Wash Systems, Travis Yaconis/Motor CityWash Works, Chris Zona/Fresh Auto Wash and John Shalbey/RoJo

To start, the panelists agreed that assuming standard tunnel length and chain speed, chemistry has a greater effect on drying than equipment and heating. They noted that flash drying can slow down the movement of water droplets but all factors need to be in balance for the most effective wash.

They discussed whether heated drying make sense all year long or in winter only. They noted that this is very well-accepted in the colder areas of the country since it will evaporate micro droplets. It's also a cool, very visual option for customers that seems to be best advertised when the car behind sees the flames coming out of the heater when the car in front is being dried. It can be included in higher wash packages or sold as an a la carte service.

The panelists agree that when it comes to blower nozzles, length not shape, and placement make the difference. The shape and size also depends on application. In addition, customer perception should be considered.

There were mixed opinions on whether dryer flips are worth the investment. They seem to be very effective in drying the backs of SUVs. It was suggested that if used, install on last drying arch.

Elephant ears also work well and you can get good results by adjusting the drying angle of your drying equipment. Operators were advised to keep in mind that the more "stuff", the more problems, and that simple is often better.

There was no one answer to the optimum length of drip space before drying because of the variety of factors to consider: chain speed, chemistry, equipment configuration, even vehicle sizes. Everyone agreed, since there is no substitute for gravity, that they would like more drip space.

There were some suggestions on how to determine the best drying equipment configurations. It may depend on space with a preference for 10-12 feet of drip space which is not always possible. Space, again, and line speed is important. It was suggested to use 3 arches (more is overkill) and 10-12 blowers, with most blowers at the end, and if possible a mechanical towel drying system. Customers react very positively to the quiet, pillow-like effect of mechanical towel drying, after the noise of the wash.

Part III - A Taste of Napa Valley

Pre-registrants received packages that included half bottles of superb, Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, and blocks of delicious paired cheeses from Vermont. Cassandra, wine expert from Julio's, provided a history of wine making in America, an explanation of why Napa Valley produces such fine wine, and notes on what to notice in the wine we tasted.


Day of Event:01/26/2021
Time Starts:05:30 PM
Time Ends:07:15 PM

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