CHICAGO — How would you classify your industry knowledge? Nearly half of American Coin-Op's Wire survey respondents consider themselves extremely knowledgeable (10%) or more knowledgeable than most operators (38.8%).There are a variety of ways to learn about the coin laundry industry, such as service schools, conventions, seminars, etc. Seventy-three percent of respondents have attended a service school, convention or seminar.Many of the distributor-related educational events/open houses are scheduled for the spring and fall, according to American Coin-Op’s recent annual distributor survey. Fifty-nine percent of respondents plan to attend some type of educational session next year. Twenty-four percent of respondents aren’t sure if they will attend an educational session next year, and 17% don’t intend to take in one of these events.The big event next year is Clean ’09, slated for June 18-21 in New Orleans. Thirty-four percent of respondents plan to attend this show, while 40% aren’t going to make the trip. Twenty-five percent are not sure if Clean ’09 will be on their schedule.THE WRITTEN WORDIndustry trade publications play a key role in operator education, according to the survey. Seventy-eight percent of respondents read most or all of the stories in the trade publications. Thirteen percent read about half of the stories in an issue, and 9% read less than half of the stories in an issue.The Internet is also playing a large role in operator education. Ninety percent of respondents say the Internet is helpful in terms of finding valuable industry information. Six percent are not sure about the value of the Internet, and 4% don’t find the Internet a helpful source.GAINING KNOWLEDGEIf you could improve your industry knowledge in one area, what would it be? The No. 1 response is a tie between “learning more about practical marketing ideas” and “learning more about operational costs” (both at 26.6%). Coming in a close third is “learning more about maintenance” (23.4%). Other answers include “learning more about new equipment” (7.8%) and “learning to be more customer-friendly” (7.8%).Subscribers to American Coin-Op’s Wire e-mails — distributed weekly — are invited to participate in an industry survey each month. The survey is conducted online via a partner website. Each survey is developed so it can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Readers are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.Click here and follow the menu instructions to sign up for the free e-mail service.