Getting to Know Your ICA Board: Doug Marquis

Getting to Know Your ICA Board: Doug Marquis

April 3, 2023

4 minute Read

By Brennan Merkle, ICA Communications Coordinator

We sat down with ICA Board Member Doug Marquis, general manager and vice president of sales at Sonny’s Carwash Chemistry, to find out more about what makes the industry special for him and what he’s learned over the years. Plus, we learned what keeps him motivated and
coming back for more.

Q. How did you get into the car wash industry?
A. I worked at a car wash in college, which was very ground-level. After starting a business career, I went from the car rental industry into the chemical manufacturing supply side of the industry, where I stayed for 27 years. Then, I joined the Sonny’s team around two years ago.

Q. What does a typical day look like for you?
A. As a dual role, I work in both the manufacturing and customer service side of things. I’m based in Wisconsin, but we have plants in Ohio and Texas, with our headquarters being in Florida. So, I spend a lot of time between those places, because I love being face-to-face with our team. But I spend a majority of that time diving into strategy and business management rather than facing customers.

Q. What keeps you coming back every day?
A. Always the people I get to work with on a daily basis — co-workers, teammates and customers. They are what have kept me in the car wash industry. A lot has changed over three decades, but the great people have remained the same. We’ve always talked about how we’re selling smiles. Not soap, but smiles. That philosophy makes it easy to come back to work.

Q. What has been your biggest learning in the industry?
A. It’s hard to define. The most meaningful way to look at it is, "Where does the learning come from?" And that experience comes from the people I work with. I learn something new every single day, because every person on our team has some unique skill or knowledge within the industry that’s better than what I have. Then I look for ways I can take those things I learn and share them with people.

Q. What should people in the car wash industry be paying attention to right now?
A. The clear and obvious answer is industry consolidation. It’s the elephant in the room. Everyone is paying attention to it, and they should continue to pay attention to it. It’s fundamentally changing our industry, and I do believe it’s for the better. More investment is good for all of us, whether you’re a supplier or an operator. The expansion creates a lot of consumer excitement and interest, which is fueling growth. The acknowledgment and respect of the industry has also grown exponentially, which continues to feed this membership growth we’ve all been seeing work so well.

Q. Any trends you’ve been watching in the industry?
A. Trends come and go. From the chemistry side, it’s all about new products and offerings; there’s always something new we’re developing. We do, however, need to be mindful of timing and pace. We tend to get very excited about new things and what’s coming up next, and we grab hold of that next thing before spending enough time to let that new and exciting thing we just did grow into something bigger and stronger. An example from the chemistry side was the craze about carnauba wax which turned into a craze about ceramics which has now turned into a graphene craze.

Q. What’s something you do for fun, that refills your fuel tank?
A. I have four kids. My youngest is a sophomore in high school, so my youth sports coaching days are slowly coming to an end. Outside of work, I coached a lot of different sports — that’s where I got to put the car wash business in the trunk for a bit. I love spending weekends at a softball or baseball tournament and spending two hours telling batters to “keep their elbows up.”

Q. What would people be surprised to find out about you?
A. I’ve always been in a sales role, so I’ve always been "out there." But my natural tendency is to be more of a quiet person. Which you could tell that to a number of people, and they’d probably laugh and be like, "Who? Doug?!"

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ICA Meet the Board: Doug Marquis, general manager and vice president of sales at Sonny's CarWash Chemistry.


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