President’s Message


Jamie Nester, Richmond VA - sitting President of the Southeastern Car Wash Association

Fall 2017 

Greetings to all the SECWA members reading this. As I settle in to my new position, I’d like to give you some background on why this association is so important to me.

For those of you that I haven’t met or don’t know my story, I started in the industry in 1994 as a car wash attendant at Flagstop Car Wash just south of Richmond, VA.  I was right out of high school and taking college classes part time.  My first year or so at Flagstop was just a job to get by...

Bob Schrum was the owner of Flagstop and he had always told me that when he retired his plan was to sell his company to his managers.  Back then I didn’t see much to the car wash.  We were small at the time and while it was nice to hear Mr. Schrum say that, inside my head I was always thinking “Yeah right…”

I enjoyed working at the wash, but it was when Bob took me to my first SECWA event that I truly became a “car wash guy”.  I had been to the big shows in Vegas before, but it was my first SECWA event that I believe changed me into a true car wash professional.  The amount of networking at these events and friendships that are built (even among competitors) is something I had never seen before.  I can look back and see how the SECWA events are really where my passion for the car wash industry started to take root. If it were not for the SECWA events I attended I believe my interest may have faded and I would have potentially moved on to another industry.

So here we are 23 years later, and yes Mr. Schrum did sell the company to me (and a few other key managers). As I reflect back and think about how SECWA helped me grow, I wonder who those people are in my company (and yours) who are going to be the next leaders in our industry?  Who are those that are going to step up as the operators I have looked up to and learned from over the years start to retire? 

I challenge SECWA to get creative and find ways to get not just more operators involved but also their managers.  Our next roadshow in Virginia Beach is a great opportunity. An evening reception with exhibitor tabletops and a car wash tour is perfect for operators and their key people to start networking and see some the "ins and outs" of other washes.  I hate to admit it, but it was about 3 years before I ever visited another car wash other than our own.  How many of your key people have only seen your car wash and have not experienced everything our industry has to offer?

I am honored to be able to serve as President of this great association.  I can truly say that I would not be where I am today without the knowledge and support of all those involved with SECWA over the years.  Thank you for allowing me to help in serving this association.