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Mister Car Wash: Rising Stars in the Southeast Region

With unemployment rates hitting record lows as a strong economy continues to sweep across America, recruiting and retaining top talent is a challenge faced by every industry. Mister Car Wash is meeting this challenge head on in the Southeast Region and throughout the U.S. with the promise of a very bright future in a workplace that inspires and rewards those who want to succeed, regardless of gender, race, color or creed. There are countless shining examples of people who care, work hard and have fun at Mister Car Wash. Let us introduce you to four of them.

From their first day on the job, John Ramey, Johnathan Smith, Kim Ogletree and Ben Melendez all agree, they have found opportunity for career growth virtually unlimited at Mister Car Wash. The experience and skills these associates have gained under the tutelage of Mister Car Wash have prepared these professionals for any number of solid careers inside and outside of the car wash industry and yet they stay. Why? Because they’re not just washing cars. They’re impacting lives.

From Orlando Detailer to Regional Manager, Tampa

When John Ramey moved to Florida in 2004, desperate for employment of any kind, he took a job offer on the spot as a detailer for Bill’s Carwash. Never mind that he had no car washing or detailing experience. He figured he’d do the job until “something better” came along. That something better did come, only it was not in the form he expected. Despite – or because of – the nonstop pace and strenuous work load, John fell in love with car washing.

Due to his success and speed in the detail bay, John was promoted to a higher-volume location and soon thereafter to Detail Manager then Assistant Manager, bringing his passion for fast-paced action with him into the car wash side of the business. In short order, he made his way to GM and over time, he managed every Orlando location for Bill’s Carwash.

In February of 2016, John was shocked to learn that Bill’s Carwash was being acquired by Mister Car Wash. Having just had his second son and knowing little about Mister Car Wash at the time, he was naturally very concerned about what the future was going to hold. However, his fears were quickly allayed when he met with Mister’s integration team.

“I can remember leaving that first meeting with the Mister Team right before our acquisition with a feeling of excitement,” John reflects.

Immediately recognizing his talent, Mister Car Wash gave John the additional training, mentorship and opportunities to grow even further as a manager. Today he is Regional Manager for the Tampa Region.

“When I think back about what changed most working for Mister Car Wash,” said John, “the biggest to me is having so many driven leaders and support team members who are always at the ready to give us the support we need to make our sites successful.”

From Nashville Store Manager to Regional Manager, Georgia and Alabama

Johnathan Smith entered car washing in November 2010 as a Store Manager for Super Speed Wash in Nashville, TN. Within two years, he was managing four of their ten locations as Regional Operations Manager and two years after that, he was Senior Operations Manager overseeing six of 12 locations for Super Speed.

Mister Car Wash came into Johnathan’s life in March of 2015 and since that time he has risen to Regional Manager, responsible for eight locations in Georgia and Alabama.

“Your whole life changes when Mister comes along,” Johnathan explained. “To become a part of something this big can be a game changer for your professional and personal growth. Most of us feel like we were good at washing cars with our original companies. But, when you buy into the Mister Car Wash culture and processes, you’ll really start washing cars!”

Looking back on his eight-year journey in car washing, Johnathan said, “I never thought washing cars could be a profession. Now I know it’s the career that I will eventually retire from.”

From Trumpet Player at Savannah State to General Manager for Mister Car Wash in Atlanta

Kim Ogletree grew up playing the trumpet, earning a marching band scholarship at Savannah State University as a music education major. Today she is playing a different tune as General Manager for Mister Car Wash. It all started when Kim needed part time work to help pay for college living expenses. She chose detailing cars.

Kim served as a Detailer and Detail Manager for six years at Cactus Car Wash in Atlanta. Mister Car Wash acquired that store in 2012 and, recognizing her excellent team work and leadership potential, promoted her to Assistant Store Manager in 2016. By 2017, she had earned her store’s top spot as General Manager.

“I was the first female manager here. My biggest accomplishment was training a lot of the guys in the shop hands on in detailing. We’ve been told it’s the best detail shop in the company, as far as the numbers go. They blew everyone else out of the water. I’m real proud of those guys. I did a lot of work with them. I’m not the detail manager any more. It’s not all about detail, it’s about even balance.”

Kim partially credits her music experience for her confidence as a female pioneer. “I was the only female playing the trumpet in elementary school, middle school and high school. It’s all about teamwork,” she said. “The respect that I receive is priceless,” she added.

When Kim attended Mister Car Wash University during her first year, she found the learning experience eye opening.  “It was fantastic. I learned a lot. There’s a lot more to this business than washing cars.”

From Vacuuming Cars Part Time to Southeast Division Manager

Ben Melendez’ ’ first car washing job was vacuuming part time, five days a week at Vintage Car Wash in his home town of El Paso, Texas. Today Ben oversees 45 car wash locations in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia as Southeast Division Manager for Mister Car Wash. Demonstrating a passion for washing cars and natural knack for leadership, Ben’s talents were tapped early on and developed over 15 years, paving a professional pathway he never imagined.

Vacuuming cars for Vintage Car Wash was one of three jobs Ben held simultaneously in 2003 but it soon became his sole focus. Ben immediately took to the fast-paced environment and the challenge of being part of an energetic team washing hundreds of cars a day. Eight months into it, Ben received a promotion to General Manager. Within three more years, Ben managed three different full-service locations for Vintage. In December of 2007, Mister Car Wash acquired Vintage Car Wash in El Paso.

Looking back on that single day, Ben said, “It changed my life. A door suddenly opened to endless opportunities for me and my career.”

By 2010, Mister Car Wash had promoted Ben to El Paso District Manager. His ability to self reflect and learn to make changes within his personal management style was a key to his success.

In 2012, CEO John Lai invited Ben to relocate to Tucson to oversee four locations, a number that doubled to eight by 2014. A year later, he had oversight of the entire Tucson region as well as Albuquerque, and Ben was as excited about car washing as he’d been the first day he started vacuuming part-time.

“Through hard work and dedication, I have been able to excel with Mister Car Wash. The company has provided me with the support and guidance that has helped me get to where I am today,” he said. “The most gratifying part of my job,” continued Ben, “is being able to personally develop and watch our employees’ success as they grow.”

John Ramey, Johnathan Smith, Kim Ogletree and Ben Melendez are four among more than 8,000 shining stars at Mister Car Wash. As Mister Car Wash continues its steady growth trajectory in the Southeast and beyond, company leaders look forward to continuing to recruit and retain top talent, promote from within and contribute rising wages and new layers of professionalism in the car wash industry. For more information, please visit mistercarwash.com.