Editor’s note: Professional Carwashing & Detailing (PC&D) is excited to announce a new content series in partnership with Melissa Pirkey to share the stories and experiences of leading women in the carwashing industry. We will continue featuring these inspiring stories in upcoming issues.
The women interviewed for this special series share inspiring and exciting stories. The goal of this new series is to not only share the stories and experiences of these market leaders, but also inspire more women to join this fun, exciting and growing carwash industry.
This month, let’s meet Caitlin Higgins, marketing manager for National Carwash Solutions.
MP | How did you get your start and how long have you been in the carwash industry?
CH | I was looking for a career change from my previous role and I really loved the idea of being in an industry that was growing quickly and where I felt I could learn a completely different business.
MP | What is the most important lesson you have learned while working in the carwash industry?
CH | You have to be flexible. Things change rapidly so staying up to date on new products and ideas and how those correlate to an improved experience for the end customer is really important for my job.
MP | What advice do you have for women getting into the carwash industry today?
CH | There’s truly never been a better time. I feel like there’s so much opportunity, especially for women, to step into leadership roles and really be influential on how this industry moves forward. Find a company or organization that values new perspectives and employee growth.
MP | What are some challenges you have overcome as a woman in the carwash industry that you’d like to share with other women in hopes of helping them to overcome similar challenges?
CH | I’ve been very fortunate to work for a company that wants more input from women, so my challenges are really different than, I feel, someone in a true carwash business would face. If anything, the biggest struggle I face is being tasked with “admin-” type requests if I’m the only woman in the room. I still struggle with how to navigate those situations professionally.
MP | What aspect of the carwash industry is most exciting/rewarding to you?
CH | How quickly the industry is changing and evolving. It’s exciting to see technology and training becoming a bigger focus from independent sites to larger chains. There’s so much room for growth and seeing customers invest back into their site and people creates a great work environment and, overall, will benefit them from a loyalty standpoint.
MP | What three character traits are most important in your opinion for a woman starting out her career in the carwash industry?
CH | Resilience; adaptability; and being a team player.
MP | What would you have done differently starting out in the carwash industry if you could go back to the beginning? Or, would you not change a thing?
CH | Honestly, I don’t think I would change much. There’s so many nuances in this industry that it takes a long time to absorb everything and get your grounding.
MP | Where do you see the carwash industry moving toward in the future?
CH | I think we’ll continue to see private equity growth and acquisition with a growing emphasis on the overall customer experience across the board.
Melissa Pirkey is the carwash division vice president and vertical leader of Assured Partners/Midlothian Insurance. If you’re interested in sharing your story in an upcoming issue of this publication, please contact her at [email protected] or email PC&D’s Rich DiPaolo at [email protected].