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Shattering the Glass Ceiling

Shattering the Glass Ceiling

December 2, 2021

28 minute Read

By Shaneen Calvo

In the latest issue of CAR WASH Magazine, we spotlighted women owners/operators in the car wash world. Join us in this issue as we celebrate the accomplishments of these 13 powerful women who are making a name for themselves as leaders and trail-blazers on the supplier side of the car wash industry.

Not only are these women making a name for themselves in the car wash industry, they are forging a new path for others to learn from and follow – even though that path has sometimes been blocked by an invisible barrier. These 13 women have shattered that glass barrier and come out much stronger on the other side. As decision-makers and leaders at companies involved in supplying products and materials to car washes, they are exemplifying what statistics are saying about women in business leadership and C-suite positions.

According to McKinsey & Co.’s Diversity Matters report, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to outperform competition. Also, women earn more bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the United States than men, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Yet, women account for an average of just 16% of the members of executive teams in the United States and 12% in the United Kingdom, per McKinsey.

The women that CAR WASH Magazine spoke with for this article are shining examples of how their gender does not define them – and they are rocketing right through those glass ceilings!

Katie Balash
President and CEO
Vaughan Industries, Inc.

Lanese Barnett
Vice President of Business Development
Amplify Car Wash Advisors

Dorielle Birnkrant
COO/CMO
PetroCal Associates

Nancy Campbell
Vice President of Production and Managed Services
DRB

Taryn Chmielowicz
Vice President of Marketing
DRB

Margaret Horsfield
President and CEO
J. E. Adams Industries

Kelly Maria
VP Chemical Operations & Sales
Mark VII Equipment Inc.

Erin Noonan
Director of Marketing
G&G Industrial Lighting

Kati Pierce
President
Sonny’s, The CarWash Factory

Yolanda Tomás Puchades
CEO
ISTOBAL

Juliette Silver
CEO
Car Wash World/Panaram International

Twyla Stephenson
Co-Owner
STI Conveyor Systems

Brittany Webb
Senior Financial Analyst
Car Wash Advisory

What’s the secret?

“How can I do what they’ve done?” is probably going to cross your mind as you read through this article. Well, these women powerhouses have outlined some of what makes them so good at what they do in their leadership roles.

I care. I care about the industry, the customer, the company and the employees. I care about every interaction and experience that folks have with me or my team. I want to make a difference and you will never hear me say, ‘It’s just a car wash.’

—Nancy Campbell, DRB

My most noteworthy skills include customer service and dedication. I love my business and I love my customers; I work seven days a week because I truly enjoy what I do, and I am acutely dedicated to servicing my customers.

—Juliette Silver, Car Wash World/Panaram International

Wise Words for the Past, from the future

It requires a lot of dedication, knowledge, persistence and skill to rise to the levels these women have. Learning was an integral part of that path, too. But, the path wasn’t always crystal clear. Here are some wise words they would share with their 15-year-old self, if they could transport back in time.

I would make sure she knows to keep her head up, keep an open mind, surround yourself with good people and always count your blessings. Things in life aren’t always going to pan out the way you thought they would, and that’s OK! Life really is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you handle it.

—Erin Noonan, G&G Industrial Lighting

I’d tell her to enjoy those years when she’s more idealistic and to follow her instincts and to not be afraid of mistakes. Mistakes are necessary to learn and improve as people. I’d tell her to keep working hard to achieve her dreams and not to worry too much about the past, but to enjoy the present and be optimistic about the future.

—Yolanda Tomás Puchades, ISTOBAL

Being open and caring are my best skills. I enjoy helping others succeed. I truly care about our employees and strive to provide a happy, rewarding place to work. Having the foundation of honestly and transparency builds a great team. This also holds true for our customers – showing you truly care about their success by lending a hand, giving advice to help them increase their P&L, and being there to support them makes a huge difference.

—Kelly Maria, Mark VII Equipment, Inc.

In addition to my curiosity to analyze industry and numerical trends, I am driven by the interactions with others and have a heart to be ready and available for any desired financial conversations with our clients in order to work toward the best possible options.

—Brittany Webb, Car Wash Advisory

You’ll never have it all figured out, and that’s OK. But I can tell you this, each year gets better and better. Enjoy the ride!

—Lanese Barnett, Amplify Car Wash Advisors

The car wash industry is in an evolutionary state. Historically the field has been dominated by small business owners with a fairly conservative growth curve. Today, regional and national car wash chains are growing faster than ever and the space has become very competitive. Outside interest coupled with increased funding from financial institutions, strategic partners and private equity groups is available and helping fuel that growth. I think the future is bright. Consumer demand continues to rise and the industry
is responding.

—Lanese Barnett, Amplify Car Wash Advisors

I would love to tell my 15-year-old self to not try to grow up so fast and surprise… you DON’T know it all. Take time to enjoy this time and, yes, you do need college. Otherwise, you are going to go back later in life and it will take you longer to
achieve your goals.

—Nancy Campbell, DRB

That’s a Surprise!

That’s a Surprise!

While you might know what these powerful women do at work, you’d never guess what some of them do when they aren’t working. Admittedly, most of them are workaholics; but when free time presents itself, you might be surprised at what these top-notch business executives like to do.

I studied classical music and have performed at a professional level, taught children and adults and directed full-scale productions. The skills I learned through music ironically are transferrable to the car wash industry. High level performing requires dedication, organization, determination, perseverance and passion.

—Twyla Stephenson, STI Conveyor Systems

Most people don’t know that I am a classically trained actress. I studied at The Theatre School at DePaul University, a conservatory program that began as the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago. I was also once called to audition for the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular as a Rockette.

—Katie Balash, Vaughan Industries, Inc.

I took a pasta-making class in a centuries-old castle on a hilltop overlooking vineyards in Tuscany, Italy. After lots of practice, my culinary specialty is fettuccine with garden-grown tomato sauce!

—Margaret Horsfield, J.E. Adams Industries

The Future Is Looking Bright

The women who participated in this article came from all different types of companies in the car wash industry and all different departments. But, there was a common theme in their responses to what the future holds for the car wash industry.

Continued growth, innovation and more consolidation are the future of this industry. While we have seen significant consolidation on the supplier-side, I think we will see even more among car washes in the coming years.

—Taryn Chmielowicz, DRB

I think the future of car washing is BRIGHT – and not only because I work for a lighting company. The current climate of the industry is booming and I anticipate that trajectory lasting well into the future.

—Erin Noonan, G&G Industrial Lighting

The future is tremendously bright for the car wash industry. Our industry has been one with low barriers to entry which is why we’ve all been seeing new-to-industry operators diving in for years. The vast majority of car washes are still owned by small business owners. That fact coupled with how the industry has been extremely fragmented and thus ripe for consolidation, means we have different sized operators from each end of the spectrum helping feed each other’s business appetites.

—Dorielle Birnkrant, PetroCal Associates

The sky is the limit! Just when you think it cannot get any bigger or better, there is another announcement or expansion.

Juliette Silver, Car Wash World/Panaram International


Shattering

Katie Balash

President and CEO, Vaughan Industries, Inc.

What was your first impression
of the industry?

I have been around car washes since I was 5 and recall visiting car washes with my dad that were loud, damp and dark, but filled with mysterious and fascinating moving parts. As I got older, my impressions changed for a variety of reasons. A classic example of female representation at the time was detergent advertising featuring a naked woman in a bathtub strategically covered in bubbles. I recalled asking my dad if I could go into sales, and he refused. He couldn’t imagine a woman being taken seriously in sales and he wanted to spare me the likely sexism and objectification that existed at the time. Returning to the industry was unexpectedly eye opening. It took me a while to integrate what I remembered with what I see in front of me now, and how that influences our future.

Who are two people you admire in the industry and what have you learned from them?

Ron Stits from Finish Line Car Wash and I share a unique business relationship. He is a customer of Vaughan Industries, and Vaughan is a client of Ron’s credit card processing company, Advanced Business Management, Inc. (ABMI). Ron’s mindset in business closely mirrors my own. It’s not enough to gain a customer, it’s about being a partner in the success of a client. His counsel and questions remind me to listen to advice and that your instincts are rarely wrong.

I also admire Justin Salisbury from Breeze Thru Car Wash. Justin runs a program called “Leadership Worth Following” within the car wash industry, and the conversations we have had have been inspiring. He is deeply driven to help others discover their value and purpose, and to inspire them to do the same for others. I have called him on numerous occasions to ask for his opinion or advice. His mentorship challenges me to think well beyond any of the questions I ask.

What is your dream car?

It’s hard to pick just one dream car, especially in Detroit. The third Saturday of every August hosts the “Woodward Dream Cruise,” an event that draws car enthusiasts from around the country to share their passion for all things automotive. For now, I am thrilled to participate in that with “Lucy,” my 1962 Ford Falcon.

Shattering

Lanese Barnett

Vice President of Business Development

Amplify Car Wash Advisors

Why were you attracted to the car wash industry as a career choice?

Like many who didn’t grow up around car washes as a family business, entering the car wash space was not an obvious next career move for me. I came from a marketing communications agency background and, as a leap of faith, I left that path to work in-house for a car wash chain. What I discovered along the way is that the car wash industry is exciting and dynamic and full of wonderful people with whom you share a unique bond because you are members of the car wash community.

Who are two people you admire in the industry and what have you learned from them?

Chuck Space, Executive Director of the Southwest Car Wash Association, and Mary O’Neill, Marketing Director of my affiliate company, Commercial Plus. Chuck, I’ve known for a long time and I’m honored to call a mentor. He is passionate about serving the car wash community and has always encouraged me to lean into leadership roles. Mary, I’ve known for a shorter time, but she is my car wash kindred spirit! Some people you just hit it off with right away and Mary is one of those people. She was raised around car washing and has a wealth of knowledge. I love collaborating with her on marketing and graphic projects.

What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?

I have two little girls whom I adore. They are the light of my life and bring my husband and me so much joy. I love playing with them, watching them learn and grow, and run and be silly. My 3-year-old has been around car washes since she was a baby and can name every car wash in our area – and give you her opinion on each!

Which three character traits are most important in a friend?

Authentic, funny, trustworthy. To me, a friend is someone you can trust with your vulnerabilities, laugh with, and talk about the big or small things going on in your life.

Shattering

Dorielle Birnkrant

COO/CMO
PetroCal Associates

What are some causes you care about?

I’m Israeli and American and I’ve proudly served on the Board of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces for many years supporting soldiers and their families through various educational, cultural, recreational, and social service programs. Growing up in Los Angeles, I’ve always cared about the homelessness crisis too. Whether it’s supporting organizations like LA Family Housing, Midnight Mission or Feeding America, or gathering our team to bag lunches for our local homeless community, it’s ever present and heartbreaking for me. Another cause I support is funding cleft corrective surgeries through Operation Smile. All it takes is 45 minutes and as little as $240 to change a child’s life. As a Jew, I was raised with the value of tikkun olam, which means “repair the world.” Together with my friends, family and community, we do our best to give back and always remember how fortunate we are.

What event in your life would you consider especially adventurous or meaningful?

I went on a safari in Kenya and Tanzania, which included actively following a mother cheetah of four cubs hunt for a few days, waking up at 2 a.m. to watch lions, zebras and giraffes in the peaceful zone of a salt lick, and having my Hungarian father prove that all animals do indeed speak Hungarian (as he called an elephant bull right up to our jeep!).

Which three character traits are most important in a friend?

Honesty, loyalty and empathy. I bring those traits to all my relationships and the best people reflect those right back.

What’s a goal you have for yourself that you want to accomplish in the next year? Five years?

In the next year, I’m looking forward to hiring a few key positions so PetroCal can continue to help our clients with their expansion plans, both with our financing and real estate brokerage services. I’m launching a new website and blog so my team can share our expertise no matter where our clients are on their journey. In the next five years, my goals are to lower the amount of time it takes to get a loan approved by streamlining our services, improving our processes, and using technology to help both our clients and lenders move through each stage of the loan process more seamlessly.

What are the best skills you bring to your position?

I think of myself as a juggler in life, always adjusting and re-evaluating what to focus on. And when it comes to our customers, I try to help them do the same when it comes to their loans and real estate needs to launch and grow their businesses. I think about what needs to be done today, tomorrow, this year and in five years. Then I act accordingly to get things done. My goal is to streamline processes, improve efficiencies and help people get where they want to be.

Shattering

Nancy Campbell

VP of Production and Managed Services

DRB

What was your first impression of this industry, and has it changed since then?

I had no idea the car wash industry existed, let alone is as large as it is. My first impression was “I can’t believe this much goes on behind the scenes of a car wash.” There is so much that goes into the software, the equipment, the planning, the testing and more, that I am still in awe of the industry and all that it encompasses. I honestly can say that my impression is no different today. As my career has grown, I have been exposed to different aspects of the industry and still find it fascinating and huge and exciting.

What challenge have you conquered despite the odds being against you?

COVID and the challenges it brought to the table is foremost in my mind. During a time when companies and people faced challenges that had not been felt before, DRB banded together – holding tightly to our mission statement and our ‘Hungry, Humble, Smart’ way of doing things, and we are stronger than ever.

What do you think the future holds for the car wash industry?

I truly believe the future is bright for the entire car wash industry, especially car washes themselves. People are keeping their cars longer, sanitation and disinfecting have jumped to the top of the list for folks this past year, and new technology continues to come into play. Everyone is so busy with life, that customers are looking for convenience and speed. With RFID chips, license plate recognition, cloud-based management systems and automation, the sky is the limit for the industry. Healthy competition is out there and that makes for a strong footprint for all of us.

What are some causes you care about?

St. Jude is very close to my heart. As a mother and grandmother, I cannot fathom the struggle the family of a sick child must go through, and my heart just aches for them. St. Jude does such good work and I feel very strongly about helping in any way I can. I also have a spot in my heart for an organization called Don’t Bully Us Rescue. They are a non-profit that rescues, educates, and promotes responsible lifetime ownership of the bully type dogs.

What is at the top of your bucket list?

At the top of my bucket list was something I shared with my husband’s bucket list: owning a boat. We both enjoy being on the water and live very close to the Chesapeake Bay. I find the water, even on a rough day, to be very calming. It helps me focus on what is important in life.

Shattering

Taryn Chmielowicz

VP of Marketing
DRB

Why were you attracted to the car wash industry as a career choice?

The tremendous amount of growth the industry has seen and continues to see was very attractive to me. I had been working in an industry where growth had slowed and it certainly had an effect on the energy and pace of the industry. The passion and entrepreneurial spirit of this industry is infectious. I love an industry where people eat, sleep and breathe it, and there is no doubt the car wash industry is just that!

What challenge have you conquered despite the odds being against you?

COVID-19 posed a challenge for my marketing team as we had to quickly switch gears from trade show planning to helping our customers through pandemic shutdowns, all while working from home. We quickly developed the DRB Here to Help initiative, which included Here to Help webinars and Data Bytes, a weekly video series reporting on key metrics and trends impacting the industry during the pandemic shutdowns. We were able to stay in contact with prospective and existing clients during a time when most of the world was virtual. It was a tough time for everyone, and I am so proud of what our team accomplished.

What is at the top of your bucket list?

Pre-pandemic I had a trip to Italy planned with my husband, children and parents. We had to cancel and are hoping to reschedule for the summer of 2022. We have family in Sicily and are looking forward to spending some time in their hometown of Castelvetrano exploring, cooking, eating and exposing our children to a different culture.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

Such a tough question as there is so much of this world I have yet to see! My husband and I plan to do some traveling when we retire. We hope to spend some time in various cities throughout the United States (and perhaps the world) to help us determine where we might want to land for the long haul. We love Charleston (S.C.), Denver and Scottsdale to name a few.

What event in your life would you consider adventurous?

I have been skydiving and whitewater rafting. I like to snow ski in the winter and kayak and paddleboard in the summer. I’m usually game for anything outdoors (except sleeping – camping isn’t for me!).

What gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment at the end of the day?

Watching my team grow and succeed is the ultimate reward.

Shattering

Margaret Horsfield

President and CEO

J.E. Adams Industries

What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your position?

I have a background equivalent to a Swiss-army knife – very diverse with lots of multi-use tools! After initially starting off as an engineer, I spent nearly 17 years in the aerospace and defense industry. During this time, I built a well-rounded foundation working in various functional groups like product line management, supply chain management, strategic development, operations management, and quality. This has helped me fit into our small business where most of us wear many hats.

What gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment at the end
of the day?

I am a relative newcomer to this industry and consider myself fortunate to be in the front row seat where I get to watch a high-achieving team that embodies the caring culture of J.E. Adams Industries. Together, we work to create an environment where people feel respected, valued and heard. Our team members are passionate about improving efficiencies in our product lines, delighting our customers, and providing support to an exciting industry.

What aspect of the industry is most intriguing to you?

I truly believe that business success comes from building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships. As a supplier to the car care sector, our team recognizes that we are nothing without our customers, so we strive to keep the needs of our customers at the forefront of our operations.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

I have had the opportunity to travel the world and have found so many fun and intriguing places! However, as the saying goes, “There is no place like home.” I feel so fortunate to live in a great part of my native state of Iowa.

What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?

Outdoor activities and anything with my family brings me a lot of joy. We live by a lake, so boating on our pontoon, canoeing and fishing are high on my “to-do” list, along with hiking, biking, running and downhill snow skiing.

Shattering

Kelly Maria

VP Chemical
Operations & Sales

Mark VII
Equipment, Inc.

Why were you attracted to the car wash industry as a career choice?

It wasn’t actually my choice to get into the industry. At the time I was working for a major oil company, and I was assigned to the newly established Car Wash category position. I had no idea what I was getting into, and boy was it a quite the ride – so much to learn! I put my head down and absorbed all I could to learn the business. It was an amazing opportunity that I will always be thankful for.

What challenge have you conquered despite the odds being against you?

Imagine 26 years ago, there were maybe one or two other women in the industry. It wasn’t easy as a woman working in the industry. Luckily there were a handful of businessmen who were respectful and took the time to educate me and help me navigate the car wash world.

What are some causes you care about?

Children in need. Children need advocates and I believe it does take a village to create a great life for them. A few years back I worked on a project that brought our community together to make blankets for kids. When kids are removed from their home because they are not safe, they often leave with nothing but the clothes on their back. The hope was these blankets would provide some comfort during a difficult and scary time.

Which three character traits are most important in a friend?

Loyalty, honesty and being jovial. I have so many wonderful friends; we would do anything for each other.

What is your dream car?

Porsche 911 is my dream car. I will likely never have one because it is not practical. I am a now an SUV grandma.

What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?

Since becoming a grandma, there is nothing more rewarding, fun or that I would rather do than be with my grandson Ciam. Until you become a grandparent you have no idea the blessing that is bestowed upon you. It is the most amazing love and joy!

Shattering

Erin Noonan

Director of Marketing

G&G Industrial Lighting

What was your first impression of this industry, and has it changed since then?

Shortly after I started working for G&G, I had the pleasure of attending my first ICA The Car Wash Show. I was immediately blown away, not only by all the sights and smells of the trade show floor with its thousands of gadgets and gizmos, but by the overall kindness of everyone I encountered. This industry is truly made of good people; all down-to-earth, genuinely nice humans that make the car wash world thrive. My initial impression hasn’t changed much since but instead has only been solidified as I watch these people applaud, educate, share resources and generally support others who share this same space.

What aspect of the industry is most intriguing to you?

I think the most intriguing thing about the car wash industry is that it really is about more than just washing cars. Sure, a happy customer with a clean vehicle is the ultimate end goal of each business, but understanding the teamwork and level of service that goes into each wash is fascinating. Hearing about the community events hosted, charities supported, leadership training and the investments made into personnel, the focus on creating memorable customer experiences – those are the things that create ripple effects and serve a good far greater than a shiny car at the end of a wash.

If you could transport back in time, what would you tell your 15-year-old self?

Every challenge helps you grow and become better prepared for the next challenge. Oh, and take more psychology classes! My current-self loves learning more about what makes people get excited to be a part of a high-performance team.

What event in your life would you consider adventurous or especially meaningful?

Oh, this one is fun... I LIVE for adventures! From backpacking in the Grand Canyon to summiting 14’ers in the Rockies, riding ATVs through the desert to ziplining through the jungles of Costa Rica, each adrenaline-pumping excursion leaves a lasting mark on my heart. Sometimes you have to disconnect from the world to reconnect with yourself, and these adventures always do just that for me.

Do you have a favorite car wash?

My personal favorite site is Rock N Roll Express in Stuart, Florida. They incorporated G&G’s DMX color-changing mood lighting with arch effects in a blackout tunnel that makes for a really great show and customer experience. I’m also a huge music fan, so I love their branding and the way they continuously support it with their website, social media posts, etc.

Shattering

Kati Pierce

President

Sonny’s, The CarWash Factory

Why were you attracted to the car wash industry as a career choice?

As with most of the best things in life, I got into the industry by accident. I had just graduated with a degree in marketing and was in search of a ‘real job.’ While doing temp work, I spent a week at an office that had several different businesses under one roof. One of these was a chain of full service car washes and another one was a car wash equipment distributorship. While I was never ‘attracted’ to the business, I did fall in love with it. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Typical day? What does that mean? That’s one of the best parts of my job. However, I do have somewhat of a daily routine. First thing in the morning, I like to spend time walking around the office, saying hello to our team, seeing what everyone is working on and getting updates. Around 9:30, Pablo serves up Cuban coffee. He’s really the secret to our success at Sonny’s and keeps us going! Sonny’s is very fast paced, but we always take time for lunch and catch up informally at a local restaurant. The end of the day comes fast – “How did that happen?” – and then we’re off to enjoy time with our families or for a dinner with customers. We love having customers visit the factory and with the car wash college we have customers in town a lot.

Which job in the industry is the most challenging, but potentially the most rewarding?

Having been on most sides of the business, I can definitely say that being a distributor is the most difficult job in our industry, but the best in many ways as you get to work so closely with customers. Helping people who are new to our industry realize their dream of owning a car wash and taking them from the dream to the reality is very rewarding. You get to work closely with people, who ultimately become your friends, and watch them fall in love with our industry. And they just keep coming back for more! Once they build that first wash, they’ve got the bug and want to do more.

What is your dream car?

I don’t really have a dream car, but I did always want an electric car. I was able to finally get one a year or so ago. I don’t think I’ll ever go back!

What is at the top of your bucket list?

I’ve never made a bucket list – no jumping out of airplanes, running a marathon, or writing a novel for me! There are a lot of places in the world I’d like to see and I always have a wish list of places to visit.

Shattering

Yolanda Tomás Puchades

CEO ISTOBAL

Why were you attracted to the car wash industry as a career choice?

As part of the third generation of a business family, I’ve been acquainted with the car wash industry since a very early age. Many of my childhood memories are associated with the company and the car wash machines. There is a sense of pride in seeing the company grow, become international, develop its brand, evolve and improve. I remember that from an early age, I wanted to be part of the business and continue that legacy.

After more than 20 years in this industry, what attracts me is the constant potential for improvement of the business and the challenge that represents. This sector is closely linked with major movements and trends such as changes in the automotive industry or in the way gas stations operate. Being able to assimilate these changes is a challenge that motivates me.

What do you think the future holds for the car wash industry?

We closely follow the new trends in the automotive industry and try to see the impact this can have on our own business model. Our focus on innovation is not only because we believe it is necessary to grow and to stand out, but also because it is a lever for anticipating change. Our intention is to continue to increase our investment in innovation using a collaborative model – by integrating new technologies that can help us improve our value proposal and by getting closer to the user to improve their overall experience.

What is at the top of your bucket list?

I would like to have more time to travel and be able to discover new cultures, especially in Asia where there are several countries that I would love to visit. I would love to spend some time in France and take the opportunity to improve my French, a language that I love but only started to study later in life.

What event in your life would you consider especially meaningful?

I like to spend some of my time helping other smaller or younger companies however I can, i.e. sharing experiences, information and vision based on my perspectives and knowledge. The value of the entrepreneur has to be enhanced and recognized in society. I also adhere to initiatives that seek to advocate for gender equality, especially at the company level, sharing my insight and understanding and trying to inspire or help women, especially the new generations.

What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?

I like to spend time with my family and travel with them. We love nature and try as much as we can to discover new routes in our region and spend the day or the weekend traveling through them. I also love the sea and we sail and enjoy diving and fishing, especially in summer.

Shattering

Juliette Silver

CEO
Car Wash World/Panaram International

What gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment at the end of the day?

Second only to raising my two incredible children, my greatest sense of accomplishment has come from taking over the family business, Car Wash World, after my father sadly passed away seven years ago. Having my company certified as a woman-owned business in a largely male-dominated field and to be given respect and authority is an incredibly empowering feeling that I consider a win for women everywhere. My father would be so proud and excited to see how much our business has grown in the seven years I’ve been running it.

Why were you attracted to the car wash industry as a career choice?

The car wash industry was a big part of my life. Growing up, my family-owned car washes, and as a child I would love to watch my parents as they worked. I have always looked up to my parents, and I was thrilled when they offered me the opportunity to work at our car wash and then ultimately at the business I own today.

What challenge have you conquered despite the odds being against you?

The car wash industry has historically always been primarily male dominated. As a woman in this industry, the challenge has been to prove my expertise and demonstrate my experience as a business professional – not as a businesswoman. I endeavor every day to exceed everyone’s expectations and I have achieved my goals through my hard work and perseverance – even though I had additional obstacles on the road there because women were not usually seen in leadership roles in the car wash industry.

Who are two people you admire in the industry and what have you learned from them?

Two people I greatly admire are Joel Miller, Senior Vice President of Business Development at National Carwash Solutions, and the second is a pair: Tyler Slaughter and Blake Newman. Joel and I started out in the car wash industry around the same time, and over the years he’s impressively worked his way up the ranks, flourishing in each position he held. No matter what his position, he has always given me his time and attention and is always willing to offer advice and guidance. When I took over the business, Joel made sure to introduce me to potential clients, opening many doors for me over the years. I also have a deep admiration for Tyler and Blake, whose knowledge of social media and marketing transformed the business for the better. Through their efforts and expertise, they brought together a small group of car wash operators and vendors and created a platform that is unprecedented and brilliant.

Shattering

Twyla Stephenson

Co-Owner

STI Conveyor Systems

What gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment at the end of the day?

To see the company that Rob and I have built over the past 12 years. There have been many sacrifices and risks on our part, but our amazing team has made it all worthwhile. I feel like a proud mama when I look at our STI family and the way we all pull together to make something much greater than our individual parts. Our company core focus is “building community through excellence and innovation.”

What are some causes you care about?

As a company we support SickKids’s hospital in Toronto, children in third-world countries via non-profit organizations, and our local pregnancy resource center. On a personal level, I love hosting community events, volunteering in schools and retirements homes, and counselling people in difficult life situations. I believe it’s important to give back to the community that we live and work in.

What event in your life would you consider adventurous or especially meaningful?

Working with non-profit organizations in Africa, Asia and Europe. Africa was the most adventuresome with hikes to teach in remote villages where I was the only non-local woman, cooking and sleeping in mud huts, and a scary off-road encounter with a white rhino. However, nothing compares to the relationships I built with people in these countries.

What was your first impression of this industry, and has it changed since then?

Having come from the automotive manufacturing industry, it was very refreshing to now be a part of an industry that was more specialized and included many family based businesses such as our own. In the five years that we have been in the US market we have witnessed tremendous industry growth, a shift towards a more premium guest experience and increasing acceptance of conveyor belt technology.

At our 2016 debut trade show in Nashville, I had to spend a lot of my time explaining the technical aspects of belt conveyors but now an increasing number of clients are looking beyond this to my advice regarding designer features that will visually increase their brand recognition and customer experience.

What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?

I am the happiest when I am with my family. As I write, I am camping with my hubby Rob and our four boys ages 9-16. As a family we enjoy camping, snowmobiling, dirt biking, skiing/snowboarding, board games, Friday night pizza and movie nights and trips to Florida (half the adventure is driving for 20 hours crammed in a vehicle with four boys to get there).

Shattering

Brittany Webb

Senior Financial Analyst

Car Wash Advisory What was your first impression of this industry, and has it changed since then?

When originally being introduced to the industry I knew little to nothing therefore I was extremely impressionable. My initial impression was the car wash industry seemed to be a small and a furthermore slower market. Funny enough, that changed quite quickly. Obviously working at a car wash advisory and broker firm, I was soon opened to the true realities of an ever growing, non-stagnant, progressive world of washes.

What’s a typical day like for you?

It’s always hard to box in a typical day as every day comes with new and complex responsibilities. My days usually consist of ongoing financial model creations, pricing and valuation analysis, operating financing discussions, financial documentation, and deal structuring and negotiations.

What do you think the future holds for the car wash industry?

What a year 2020 was! In the years to come, I believe this industry will see a considerable amount of growth as new builds are at an all-time high and acquisition activity is projected to continue to rise. The incredibly competitive world of business continues to look on for what’s in store for the car wash industry during this exciting time of expansion.

What is your dream car?

A matte-black Tesla Model S.

Do you have any unique skills or talents that most people don’t know about?

Most people don’t know I play the piano and sing. Definitely hidden talents of mine!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

My top choice is always and forever Turks & Caicos.

What are you happiest doing when you’re not working?

Everyone knows I LOVE spending time with my beautiful family and 1-year-old baby boy.

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