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Media Day at the Washington Auto Show

AEF Students at the Washington Auto Show

A sneak peek, press conference and meet and greet!

On Jan. 23, 2020, the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association (WANADA) welcomed 30 students from the Academies of Hospitality and Tourism, Mass Media, and Automotive Engineering to its media day to kick off the 2020 Washington Auto Show. In addition to getting a sneak peek at this year’s show, students watched press conferences and interacted with representatives from the world’s biggest auto makers.

One of AEF’s oldest partners, the Washington Auto Show is held every year at the Walter. E Washington Convention Center, featuring hundreds of vehicles from more than 35 car manufacturers. The show only occurs once a year, but there’s a lot of preparation for it. WANADA works year-round with a staff of eight, along with contractors, to make it happen.

Mike Bushnell, Communication Director for WANADA, has worked on the Auto Show for three years. He says 80 percent of his time throughout the year is spent on Auto Show-related events. He spends months of preparation searching for cars to showcase and sponsorships to support the show. He and his team must work very closely with auto manufacturers to earn media coverage. Their hard work begins from Thanksgiving to the closing day of the show. 

After the Auto Show begins, there are even more things to pay attention to. Mike says that even one phone call or email can affect how the show runs.  One of the biggest problems is the weather; if it’s snowing, fewer people come out to the show. As Mike can’t control the weather, one thing he can control is how people hear about the Auto Show. Advertising and media coverage is very important. Even though things are bound to go wrong when planning an event, Mike says he still loves his job a lot, especially seeing an event as large as the Auto Show come together. “There’s a lot of satisfaction in seeing all of our hard work pay off,” he said. “Just hearing someone at the show say they had a good time makes it worth it.”

Maria Sharmin - AEF Intern News Update
Written by Maria Sharmin