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When Jeff Gheysens was just six years old his family established Cumberland Carwash, a self serve based out of Vineland, NJ. As most success stories go, he started out by helping the family as much he could. Eventually he took over the business and soon became the co-owner of Sparkle Kleen Car Wash in Bridgeton, NJ. Now he is the president of the International Carwash Association™ (ICA), a role he said he is ready to take on, full steam ahead. Gheysens shared his story, as well as his plans for the ICA with PC&D.
Professional Carwashing & Detailing: How did you get involved with the ICA™?
Jeff Gheysens: My family has been a member of the International Carwash Association for 34 years. After getting involved in the industry at my family’s wash, I started hearing about the International Carwash Association in their conversations. I began noticing how the association helped their business grow and prosper, and the support they were receiving from being members. It was then my turn to get involved and experience the association for myself.
I began my term on the Association Board of Directors in 2004 and have held many different positions, including treasurer in 2008 and vice president in 2009.
PC&D: What was your reaction to being elected the newest president of the ICA™?
JG: I am truly honored to be serving as the Association’s president. To be elected to this position by your peers is humbling and I am so grateful I’ve been given the opportunity. It has been a great experience, and it’s only the beginning of my term. I’m looking forward to what is to come in 2010 in working with the rest of the Board of Directors, Association staff and others in the industry.
PC&D: What are your goals as president?
JG: My number one goal is to succeed as a leader and help the Association achieve their overall strategic goals for 2010 while positioning them for further success in 2011 and beyond.
With the support of the Board of Directors, Association staff and our membership, I will further establish the International Carwash Association as a leader and most trusted resource for carwash industry information and knowledge. And, as the WaterSavers program continues to evolve and grow each quarter, I will continue staking the International Carwash Associations’ claim as the industry’s most recognized leader of environmental stewardship.
PC&D: What does the future hold for the ICA™?
JG: The future is nothing but promising for the International Carwash Association. For one, the WaterSavers program has taken off better than we could have expected. We’re up to 700+ locations today, which is so impressive given it’s only had a presence in the industry for a little less than a year.
That alone proves how the International Carwash Association is a leader in this industry — not only for providing our professionals with the resources and information on how they can run their businesses more effectively, but that we are stewards for the environment and our members are listening and see the importance of this movement. It has never been more important to communicate and educate the American public on the environmental benefits of professional carwashing, and the word is just getting out. The International Carwash Association is the driving force behind that. That said, this program is only going to grow from here and we couldn’t be more proud of the progress it’s made thus far.
The International Carwash Association is also positioning itself as a key resource to not just carwash professionals but to other segments that make up the car care world, including retail establishments and convenience stores, petroleum marketers and retailers and other establishments with carwashes as a secondary business.
PC&D: What kind of message would you like to send to those in the carwash industry who are worried about the state of the economy?
JG: Keep your head up. Don’t stop now, and by all means, don’t give up. The worst is behind us, and by supporting and learning from one another and listening to the needs of our customers, our industry will be stronger and more prosperous today than it was yesterday.
I’m looking to 2010 as a fresh start. It’s time to capitalize on each and every opportunity presented to you during this recovery period to drive your business forward with more energy, more strategy and more focus.
Today, it is important to keep an open mind, to seek out new opportunities and business practices, but most importantly, you must maintain your visibility in the world of carwash and continue building relationships with your current customers and your communities.