The best way to describe iFLEX 2018 is in the famous words of Frank Huguelet, aka Ric Savage, of True Brand — “Boom Baby.” The energy of the show, from start to finish, was as bright and exciting as the Las Vegas strip after dark. The team from FSB Core Strategy, AOCA’s management company, did an outstanding job of organizing the show and executing the plan. The iFLEX show events kicked off in grand style at The House of Blues inside Mandolay Bay Hotel, which hosted the Presidential Reception and AOCA Membership Meeting. The place was packed as everyone saw old friends and made new friends. Dave Jensen, outgoing AOCA president, called the meeting to order — or as “to order” as you can inside a rambuctious bar full of old friends — and gave an update on the affairs of AOCA. He also introduced the incoming board members, as well as John Lindsey, the 2018-2019 President of the AOCA Board of Directors. Lindsey gave his acceptance speech and thanked everyone for coming. Lindsay presented Jensen with AOCA’s President’s Award and thanked him for his service as president. NOLN closed out the meeting portion of the event by presenting awards to the 2017 Best Looking Lube winner, Lucas Oil Center of Evansville, Indiana, owned and operated by Bill Floyd, and 2017 Operator of the Year, Mark Bochnowski, of Lube ‘n Go in El Paso, Texas. After the awards presentation, the party continued into the night. It was obvious from the first night, this year’s show was going to be special.
A big benefit of co-locating iFLEX with ICA is that our needs for continued education are very similar. A best practice in a car wash is usually a good practice for quick oil and lube shops. The day ended on a positive note during the welcome reception on the trade show floor, which provided another networking opportunity for the industry.
The slate of directors on the AOCA board is:
- John Lindsay, Power Lube Express Auto Care
- Dave Jensen, Pennzoil 10 Minute Oil Change Centre
- David Haney, Oil & Lube Express
- Bob Falter, Multi Management, Inc. D.B.A. Jiffy Lube
- Bill Floyd, Lucas Oil Center
- Sue Ackley, Oil Change Plus
- Justin Cialella, Victory Lane Quick Oil Change
- Mark Bochnowski, Lube ‘n Go
- Amber Kossak, Solid Start/True Brand
- Jeff Malicote, Valvoline
- Steve Barram, Integrated Services, Inc.
The next morning, we enjoyed the official start to the 2018 iFLEX show, inside the north hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. AOCA once again co-located its show with the International Car Wash Association (ICA), which is a good fit for like-minded operators of car washes and the operators of quick oil and lube shops. Initial numbers have attendance for the show at almost 8,800 people. The day started off with several educational classes covering topics from the new transmission fluid labeling regulations to best practices when hiring new employees. An always popular session is the governmental affairs meeting, which allows the members of AOCA to sit in on one of the most important functions of AOCA. The governmental affairs committee was led by incoming board member Justin Cialella. Justin and his committee covered many of the pressing concerns for our industry. This year’s concerns included transmission product compliance, state inspection programs, OEM/Dealership Magnuson-Moss violations and other pressing topics. Joanna Johnson, president and founder of Johnson Policy Associates, has been advocating for our industry since 1991. She is very well respected in Washington D.C. and the 50 state houses in the United States. Cialella is resigning his post as Government Affairs Committee Chair. He will be liasing between the board and the government affairs committee. AOCA is currently taking nominations for Government Affairs Committee Chair. If you are interested, please contact Kristy Babb: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Friday, we started the day with an old AOCA tradition, as Kevin Davis and his family led us in a Prayer Breakfast. Kevin’s message encouraged us to stay positive in a negative world. Micah Davis, Kevin and Paulette’s, daughter sang several inspirational songs. For many, the Prayer Breakfast is worth the price of admission. In Friday’s educational sessions, Les Reed of Valvoline, presented a research-based session on how to make your quick lube more profitable. Reed used an example of the difference just one customer can make to the bottom line. After Reed was finished, most of us stayed in the room for the always-popular AOCA Talk Live. Once again, Dave Everett, of Service Champ, moderated the event and the panel of quick lube experts, Mark Bochnowski, Jimmy Grant and Eric Frankenberger fielded questions from the audience — covering everything from using synthetic oil filters to best advice for a new owner/operator. Soon after the educational events concluded, the show floor was the place to be, as vendors and operators discussed how they could help each other. Crystal Matthews and the whole True Brand/Solid Start team commanded our attention during their high energy-event that determined if we were deal makers or deal breakers!
Saturday came too soon, as we finished up several must-see educational events, hosted by ICA-invited trainers and instructors, and made last-minute deals on the trade show floor. Exhausted and full of knowledge, we reluctantly said goodbye to each other. It seemed every goodbye included, “Can’t wait to see you in Nashville next year!”