This month, CarWash College is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Fifteen years is a pretty big milestone in my book. Several of my friends have married three different times and still never got close to a 15th anniversary combined.
A lot can happen in 15 years, and with CarWash College, it has. It all started with our CEO, Paul Fazio’s, vision. He saw the dynamics of the industry changing in the early 2000s and, like he always does, he wanted to get ahead of it. He knew firsthand how costly mistakes can be in our industry, so he put together CarWash College to help alleviate those pain points for the investors coming in from other businesses.
In the early days, the training facilities were rather modest. The Sonny’s conference room was converted to a classroom, and space was cleared in the parts warehouse to make room for some equipment to be worked on in the labs.
Attendance back then was somewhat sparce. As word began to spread that the college was teaching real management, maintenance and repair skills, the classes started to fill up and we were off to the races!
Soon, a new, dedicated classroom was added, and an air-conditioned, state-of-the-art lab was built. Not long after, classes began to sell out, and a schedule of classes increased to meet demand.
The next logical move was to open a second campus out west to better serve our West Coast clientele, so we did. CarWash College West opened its doors in California in 2016. In 2019, CarWash College moved into a new facility within the Sonny’s distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona. The new facility houses a 130-foot express tunnel, wet lab, equipment lab and a 40-seat classroom. Plans are in the works to duplicate the Phoenix facility back here at home in Tamarac with a completion date set for early 2022.
Besides the physical changes to CarWash College, the courses themselves have also evolved. We still have the original three core classes: Management I, Maintenance and Repair, but also now offer Multi-site Management and Sonny’s Controls class. Private training is available for some of the larger clients as well as Investor Seminars. In 2020, we took the classes to an online platform. If you can’t come to us, we’ll come to you through the magic of the web.
Like I said, a lot can happen in 15 years, and it certainly has. However, none of this could have happened without the over 10,000 graduates of CarWash College who have attend the nearly 700 classes that have been held over the years. So, thank you graduates! I’d like to thank all the instructors over the years who gave of their time and energy and, of course, those that continue to do so. CarWash College is truly a team effort!
I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank Robert Andre and Brad Sorenson who left me a well-oiled machine. My hope is to one day (not anytime soon) hand it off to my successor in even better shape than I received it.
I often tell people I would teach these classes for free if I could afford to, I enjoy it so much. The people I’ve met, the friendships I’ve made and the laughs I’ve shared with students over the last 15 years are the reason I look forward to coming to work every day. Just last evening, I was in the kitchen with my wife making dinner when I got a call from one of my all-time favorite students. He came to class over 12 years ago. We still speak at least once a week. He didn’t call with a carwash issue — he called with a corny joke that he had just told his wife who didn’t think it was funny. He called me because he knew I’d laugh at it. His wife was right: The joke wasn’t funny, but I laughed anyway.
So, raise a glass with me, if you will, in a toast to CarWash College’s 15 year anniversary. Here’s to corny jokes, bloody knuckles in the labs, road trips out west for classes, pallet jacks in the middle of the road (private joke), and more laughs and friends than I could ever count. I wouldn’t trade it for all the world. Cheers!
Bob Fox has 35 years’ experience in the carwash industry and is the vice president of Sonny’s Car Wash College™. Bob can be reached at [email protected]. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit CarWash College or call the registrar’s office at 1-866-492-7422.
This content is sponsored by CarWash College. Sponsored content is authorized by the client and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Professional Carwashing & Detailing editorial team.