VOL. 5, NO. 4 WINTER 2020
Two year guaranteed protection
Improves gloss up to 10%
What is Diamond Plate?
A: Diamond Plate is a nano ceramic polymer coating that reacts with your vehicle’s
clear coat finish to form a second layer and thicker coating for added protection.
These highly cross-linked coatings are extremely weather resistant, provides UV
protection, wear and acid rain resistance. These coatings are so durable they are
used widely in the aerospace industry.
Our Warranty Protects Against
• ACID RAIN
• BIRD DROPPINGS
• TREE SAP
• AEROSOL SPRAY PAINT
• ROAD DE-ICING MATERIALS
• HARD WATER SPOTS
• UV DAMAGE
• PAINT OVER SPRAY
(from newly painted road lines.)
The Diamond Plate 2 Year Warranty
Is backed by an A+ insurance carrier.
Therefore, if a claim is filed, both consumers
will never have to pay
for the price of repair.
Diamond Plate Kit Includes:
• 1 Vile of the Patent Pending Diamond Plate
• VisionBlade Hydrophobic Windshield Protector
• Microfiber Finishing Towel
• P.O.S. Customer Hand Outs
• The Diamond Plate Warranty
Desk Topper Pop Up Sign
Simoniz USA, Inc, 201 Boston Turnpike, Bolton CT, 06043, 800-227-5536
Nitty Gritty .............. 4
What Some Detailers
Don't Get About Coatings
(and What They’re Missing)
of Detailing . ............. 8
Are you Successful?
All the Details . .......... 10
Let's Take a Trip to ... Mexico
Innovations . ............ 12
IDA Column. ............ 14
IDA Community Stays Strong
During Challenging Year
Industry Dirt . ........... 18
Detail Doctor . ........... 21
Cover Story ............. 26
Vol. 5, No. 4, Winter 2020
Publisher: Jackson Vahaly
Editor: Debra Gorgos
Design: Katy Barrett-Alley
Auto Detailing News is published 4 times per year
and is independently owned by Jackson Vahaly.
Web address is www.autodetailingnews.com
All inquiries should be directed to:
Auto Detailing News
110 Childs Ln. Franklin, TN 37067
One More Thing ...
Well… as 2020 comes to an end, I must say,
good riddance. The glass of optimistic poignancy
is empty and here’s to hoping that 2021 will
involve some normalcy. And, yes, I know that
when the clocks strikes 12 on January 1, everything
that has plagued the world will not go up in
puff of magical miasma, but maybe the power of
positive thinking will put good things and better
luck into reality.
How is business going for all of you? I know
people here in Upstate New York took Small
Business Saturday very seriously. Did your business
take advantage of this national quasi-holiday?
I recently read that Facebook has launched
a Season of Support Initiative.
An October 15 Small Business Trends story
reported that in a bid to help small businesses
capitalize on the upcoming holiday shopping
season, Facebook has launched this initiative for
businesses conducting holiday promotions on
Facebook or Instagram. They will receive free
training, marketing support and insights.
“The Season of Support is a three-monthlong
initiative for small and medium-sized businesses
(SMBs) to help them make the most of the
upcoming holiday shopping season. The support
package provides businesses with resources to
strengthen connections with customers as well as
Facebook’s offering, according to the story,
includes 11 weeks of education, resources, and
training for small businesses. It is free of charge
for businesses with a Facebook Page or Instagram
business account. The Season of Support
✔ A free personalized marketing plan for your
✔ Tips on boosting posts
✔ Free video training
✔ Promotional assistance
✔ Toolkits to help drive up holiday sales
“The goal is to get your online presence ready,
keep your audience engaged, increase sales, and
manage your online presence,” the Small Business
Trends s story said. And you will be able to make
this possible by learning with a full collection of
videos so you can gain new skills. Additionally,
you can come together in virtual events with
your community to share insights and connect
with entrepreneurs and small business owners.
What are your thoughts?
Are you going to utilize this?
I know for sure many friends who could benefit
from a gifted Detailing Gift Card. Perhaps
consider promoting your business in this way. Let
people know a clean car makes a great gift.
As for this issue’s cover story, I absolutely loved
getting to know Ed Terwilliger. He was a pleasure
to interview and some of his stories might
surprise you. I had already had the pleasure of
meeting Alan Read a few months ago when the
family and I visited Mexico. However, I learned
so much more about his detailing career and was
impressed at his pioneering ways with the first
ever professional detailing association. And, of
course, there is Mike Phillips. I have known him
for years; however, I rarely get to speak with him
one-on-one as he is always surrounded by people
at the tradeshows. Bud Abraham is also included
in the cover. He was one of the first people in the
industry I met back in 2007. Bud is a character.
You can love him or hate him, but he is the reason
I have this job. And he, along with Terwilliger,
Read and Phillips are four personalities that
have left some sort of imprint on the detailing
And one more thing before I go. We have
now reached the 5-year mark at Auto Detailing
News. The first issue came out in January 2016.
I am so grateful for the past five years and look
forward to offering up more wonderful content.
It has been five years full of interviews, seminars,
phone calls, jokes, acceptance, comradery, and I
now have a rolodex full of amazing people I have
met along the way and now consider my friends.
Cheers to all of you for making it happen!
Until next time,
Copyright © 2020
2 Dollar Enterprises/Auto Detailing News
All Rights Reserved.
VOL. 5, NO.4 • WINTER 2020 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | 3
What Some Detailers
Don’t Get About Coatings
(and What They’re Missing)
By Victor Espeland
Ceramic coatings aren’t going away
anytime soon. These days it seems every
detailer has a ceramic coating service —
even body shops and PPF installers are
getting in on the action. It’s no surprise
considering the benefits of a ceramic
coating. Able to self-clean, resist scratches
and last for years, the ceramic coating
is the obvious choice for paint protection
in the 21st century. Even so, not everyone
has gotten on board.
Here’s one way to look at it. The sociologist
Everett Rogers once described
several personality types to show how
people adopt new ideas. One personality
type, the “Innovator”, champions new
things immediately. The “Early Adopter”
comes next, seeing the promise presented
by the “Innovator”. Then comes
the “Majority”, who sees the success of
the “Early Adopter” and gets on board,
too. The final type he describes, the
“Laggard”, is the one left behind, stuck
holding on to old ideas. The ceramic-averse
are, obviously, “Laggards”. So
what has them stuck?
If you were to ask a “Laggard” directly,
they’d tell you flatly that ceramic coatings
do not work as advertised. On its face,
this claim seems ridiculous, since many of
us see ceramic coatings performing every
day. How can the “Laggard” keep making
this claim? There must be a reason for this
aversion outside of sheer Luddism!
Press the “Laggard” further and they’ll
detail all the ways ceramic coatings have
failed them. They’ll say that after the last
customer came to him complaining about
a lack of water beading after just three
weeks, they couldn’t keep standing behind
the technology. They’ll say that after the
10th time finishing down a high spot, they
could never go back. They’ll say that even
if the coating is installed to perfection, the
customer will just run it through an automatic
wash and complain that it’s not
working. They’ve been burned by ceramic
coatings too many times and they’re not
getting burned again.
If you’re experienced with ceramic
coatings, you’ll read these complaints and
know the issue isn’t with the coating technology,
but the application process itself.
“Laggard” detailers don’t understand
how ceramic coatings bond, cure or are
maintained, and as a result fail to apply
or sustain durable protection. Why aren’t
they getting it? It has to do with the way
we talk about ceramic coatings.
When someone is explaining what a
ceramic coating is, they often use more familiar
paint protection technologies as an
analogy — think phrases like “wax on steroids”.
This metaphor is supposed to connote
the protective properties of a ceramic
coating, but it often leads newcomers to
permanently associate wax with ceramic
coatings. This isn’t just a misconception;
it’s a fundamental error that can lead to
ceramic coating failure. Whether it’s from
a botched application, a failed curing process
or a poor standard of aftercare maintenance,
approaching a coating like wax is
a recipe for disaster.
Instead, detailers need to understand
that ceramic coatings work less like a wax
and more like a second clear coat. Coatings,
like clear coat, need a clean room
environment to form a durable bond.
Coatings, like clear coat, continue to cure
for a week after application. Coatings,
like clear coat, need to be regularly maintained.
With these concepts understood,
“Laggard” detailers aren’t just adding a
new skill to their arsenal — they’re improving
their bottom line, too.
LESS LIKE A WAX,
MORE LIKE A
SECOND CLEAR COAT
In the factory, clear coat is applied
through multiple stages from preparing the
basecoat surface to curing the clear coat in
4 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | VOL. 5, NO. 4 • WINTER 2020
an oven. These steps all mirror stages in
the ceramic coating process, shining light
on the standards and practices necessary
to achieve protective durability. So where
does it all begin? Let’s start with the sterile
environment necessary for a stable bond.
ONE DAY AFTER
ONE WEEK AFTER
Clear coats and ceramic coatings are
both polymer-based and fuse with the
surfaces they’re applied to, forming an
unbreakable bond. To achieve this kind
of bond, the surface must be completely
free of any de-stabilizing contaminants. In
the factory setting, the vehicle is kept in a
sterilized painting booth totally devoid of
outside contamination, ensuring no foreign
particles are able to impede the bond
between the base coat and the clear coat.
How can we apply this concept to
the ceramic coating? For one, detailers
should have a “clean room” dedicated
exclusively to ceramic coating work.
From there, the more you can do to
ensure a clean, stable environment, the
better. Use environmental controls to
maintain consistent temperature and
humidity. Install air filtration systems to
prevent airborne contamination. Anything
that can benefit a painting clean
room will benefit one for coatings.
Now, it’s not always easy to maintain
or even install a room like this. What
else can be done? There’s a new type
of product that protects against contamination
while removing clear coat
defects. This category of products, best
exemplified by Dr. Beasley’s Nano Surface
Primers, locks in the “clean room”
environment by applying a ceramic
foundation, blocking outside contamination
from re-introducing itself to the
surface. This greatly improves surface
stability and makes premature coating
failure highly unlikely. If a clean room
isn’t possible, this is the next best thing.
Clear coats and ceramic coatings must
also be cured to fully bond with the finish.
In the factory setting, when applying
clear coat, this is done by placing the vehicle
in a large oven. The oven causes the
clear coat’s carrier to evaporate, leaving
behind the solid clear coat material. The
evaporation of the carrier leaves empty
space between the solid clear coat material,
which is then filled as the clear coat
polymers cross link with each other into a
densely knit structure.
If curing a ceramic coating in a giant
oven sounds like overkill to you, you’d be
right. In fact, many ceramic coatings are
cured in nothing but an ambient environment.
Many shops, however, will use infrared
(IR) lamps to expedite the process
in a way similar to the factory “big oven”
method. Beyond expediting the process,
an IR lamp also optimizes the cross linking
reaction to produce a more durable coating
In both clear coat application and
ceramic coating application, the initial
cure accounts only for 99% of the curing
process. The rest happens in the following
week, sometimes even two. During this
time, the clear coat or ceramic coating
continues to off-gas solvent as the clear
coat polymers cross-link into a dense knit.
This leaves the coating (clear or ceramic)
susceptible to destabilization by outside
contaminants, as the cross-link structure
is not dense enough to keep them out.
For vehicles at an OEM factory, this
isn’t a big deal — the car likely has some
time before it hits the dealership lot —
but for ceramic coatings, things are a little
different. Most ceramic coating customers
want to drive their vehicle as soon as
possible after application, so it’s doubtful
they’ll keep it garaged for that first week.
If the coating is exposed to large amounts
of contaminants (such as a deluge of rain
water) the curing process will destabilize,
resulting in a failed coating.
Knowing this can make a huge difference
in whether or not a coating fails before
curing can complete. So what is the
solution, outside of keeping the vehicle inside
for a week? In cases like these, a topcoat
for the ceramic coating can be hugely
beneficial in protecting the still-curing
coating. Typically these are maintenance
products to reinforce the coating in the
future, but they also work well to protect
during that crucial first week.
AFTER CARE &
Once the clear coat is applied, cured
and the vehicle is in the customer’s hands,
its durability comes down to maintenance.
Maintain the clear coat well and
it will remain easy to clean and free of
oxidation. Because ceramic coatings fuse
with the clear coat, maintaining the clear
coat becomes maintaining the coating. All
of the ways that you usually care for a vehicle’s
finish transfer over.
This isn’t the case with a wax, which is
why coating-averse detailers don’t understand
the maintenance requirements of a
coating. They assume that if a coating is just
“wax on steroids” it must be super durable
and able to withstand anything. Yes, coatings
are super durable in comparison to
wax, but at the end of the day this is an
extension of the clear coat, not a magical
shield. Much like you would maintain a
clear coat with a sealant application every
few months, you would maintain a ceramic
coating with a ceramic maintenance spray
every few months for optimal durability.
WHY THIS IS GOOD
These concepts can help “Laggard”
detailers step into the 21st century by
mastering the successful ceramic coating
installation. Having a perfect success rate
is definitely good for a shop’s reputation.
What’s less obvious is how this meticulous
approach makes your coating service more
valuable and your coating business more
consistent, so let’s dig in and explain.
Many customers struggle to see the
value in having a ceramic coating professionally
applied to their vehicle. They
see inexpensive ceramic coatings available
to the consumer public and assume it’s
something anyone can do. This is where
a lot of “Laggard” detailers get frustrated
— even if they were on board with coatings,
they wouldn’t have enough information
to explain why professional installation
If you have advanced knowledge of
ceramic coating installation informed by
OEM clear coat application methods, you
6 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | VOL. 5, NO. 4 • WINTER 2020
can explain to your customer the stringent
standards and techniques adhered
to in the process. Where most detailers
can only speak to the decontamination
and paintwork correction carried out beforehand,
those practicing clear coat-level
application procedures can detail the needs
of a clean room environment, the careful
surface preparation practiced and the advanced
mechanics of curing. Not only will
this communicate the value in your standard
of care, it will also assure the customer
that they are in the hands of an expert.
Why do so many detailers use foam
cannons to hand wash vehicles?
It looks cool.
The same goes for ceramic coating
application. When a detail shop has a
dedicated ceramic coating clean room,
advanced filtration systems and infrared
lamps for curing, customers notice. What
once seemed like an overpriced spray wax
now looks like an ultra-advanced procedure
that’s worth every penny. If your shop
isn’t set up for that kind of transparency,
have a professional video shot that details
the ceramic coating application process,
then play that on a loop in your waiting
room or on your website. However you do
it, showing off factory-level standards for
coating application is a bit of theater that
goes a long way in demonstrating value.
“Laggard” detailers will often claim
that the longevity of ceramic coatings
makes it so customers can go longer without
booking a service, which in turn hurts
business. When you understand ceramic
coatings as a second clear coat, however,
you see that in reality, it’s quite the opposite.
With this perspective, you can explain
to the customer plainly how the coating
bonds with and cures on the clear coat,
and how that similarity to clear coat requires
a similar level of after care. From
this point you can communicate the value
of a recurring maintenance service consisting
of bi-weekly washes, quarterly reinforcement
treatments and annual inspections.
Once a customer understands and
internalizes these needs, they can commit
to on-going services that greatly outpace
wax re-application in terms of margins.
Ceramic coatings aren’t snake oil
— it’s the “Laggard” detailers out there
approaching them like wax that give the
technology a bad name. If these stragglers,
however, can learn to emulate OEM clear
coat application processes in their ceramic
coating application, they can start to
understand the standards and practices
necessary to install a durable coating. Remember,
it’s not just about doing something
right. By taking these steps to ensure
the durability of a ceramic coating, you’re
communicating and demonstrating value
while ensuring a steady stream of recurring
bookings. There’s nothing to lose and
everything to gain.
Victor Espeland is the Communications
Manager of Dr. Beasley’s, Inc. of Chicago,
Illinois. All Dr. Beasley’s products
are professional quality, safe for consumer
use, and readily biodegradable.
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0000 Malco Auto Detailing News Ad_December 2020_Final.indd 1 11/20/2020 9:09:27 AM
VOL. 5, NO.4 • WINTER 2020 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | 7
THE BUSINESS OF
By Rob Schruefer
How do you measure success in your
detailing business? This can be tricky because
success is not the same for every
detailer, it is a very subjective measuring
stick. What would be considered success
in the first few years of business, may not
be the same in year 5, 10, or 15. In this
article we will look at some of the ways to
take a step back and look at yourself and
your business to see whether or not your
business can be considered “successful.”
ARE YOU IN THE RED?
I think the first and most important
point to consider is your bottom line. Are
you in the red or the black? If your business
is making money and paying the bills
that is the first milestone of ensuring that
your detailing business will make it. The
first few years are difficult ones for every
detailer starting out. Sometimes there is
money to pay the bills, but not enough
left over for you to take the paycheck you
deserve, if anything. I remember the first
time that I was proud of myself in the
detailing industry. It was when I did not
need to work a night job to make ends
meet. It was the winter of my 5 th year in
business, and for the first time I did not
have to wait tables or bartend to make
sure I had spending money. I was able to
pay myself a regular paycheck and started
looking at the growth of the company.
After that is where the perspective of
success diverges for each company individually.
While the end of the year profit
is always a good way to measure how you
are doing, there are several other ways
that can be considered. I will offer you a
few of the ways that I use to measure success
within my company.
ARE WE INCREASING
REVENUE EVERY YEAR?
2020 2021 2022 2023
Increased revenue is
a great way to measure
your growth from
year to year. We all
know that increasing
your revenue does
not always mean increasing your
profit too. There are costs associated with
growth, and they will offset, and sometimes
eat into the increase of revenue. If
you set yourself a goal of an obtainable
number like a 5 to 10% increase in revenue,
you will ensure that your business
does not become stagnant. A great way to
visualize this is to make a line graph with
year-to-year revenue, and watch it rise
each year. It will also allow you to project
years into the future to plan for big purchases
and future expansion.
IS YOUR STAFF
Another way I eel successful is when
my staff is doing well. Not everyone has, or
even wants employees, so this one would
not apply to everyone. As a company, we
are responsible for making sure that each
of our teammates make enough money
to support themselves and their families.
We do this by making sure that we pay a
competitive wage and can offer enough
hours to provide full time employment. If
I can help people make a better life for
themselves, I consider that a huge success.
Also, our CXO asks each teammate, each
year, what their goals are for the year. Answers
range from buying a new car, getting
a new place to live, or starting college
classes. He posts them up on his wall and
follows up with them to see how they are
doing to meet that goal, and what it is that
we can do to help. Every time someone
makes one of those goals, I feel like we
played a role in getting them there.
LOOK IN THE MIRROR
The most important piece of success
is how you see yourself. What is important
to you as a detailing business owner?
If you take a few of those things and
make them into goals that are difficult,
but obtainable, you will always be pushing
yourself forward. As I stated before,
measurable success will be different from
person-to-person, but feeling proud of
yourself and what you have accomplished
is the real definition of success.
Rob Schruefer is the owner of On The
Spot Detailing out of Columbia, Maryland.
He proudly serves on the board
of the International Detailing Association
and works tirelessly to ensure
that detailing business owners receive
business development support to help
them achieve their goals.
8 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | VOL. 5, NO. 4 • WINTER 2020
Introducing Enrique Villegas of Kompetenz Body Shop Automotriz
Enrique Villegas II
S.A De CV of Mexico City.
Let’s Take a Trip to…
How long have you been in
the auto detailing business?
I have been in the business for 40 years.
Do you have any employees?
Yes, 210 in operation
and 25 in administration.
Is there a big retail market in
Mexico for auto detailing?
Yes, it is a huge market in Mexico.
Approximately how many
detail shops in Mexico City?
Maybe 10, but there are many
What was your background
before the auto estetica
It was a primitive car wash service.
Washing by hand and buckets full of
water, but [my way of doing business]
was transformed by Bud Abraham.
Do you have a fixed
location or mobile?
What kind of work do you do?
Retail? Auto Dealer? Fleets?
Kompetenz is open to the public plus
we have auto fleet accounts all over
Mexico. Also, we are partnered with
Grease Monkey Inc. and we work with
corporations such as Banregio Bank,
Femsa-Coca Cola, EuropCar Rental
and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City
and “consulates” throughout the area.
[We mostly compete] for fleet accounts
because that market is huge.
What are you biggest
The continuous fluctuation in
exchange rates because all of
the best supplies are imported.
Also, extortion and violence.
Are there many suppliers of
detail products in Mexico?
Yes, but we get most of ours
from America and Germany.
Anything else you can
tell me about the detail
market in Mexico?
Any kind of crisis is a very good
opportunity to grow in this business
because customers prefer to keep
their cars in good condition.
In His Own Words…
I had been detailing for a while and in
1993 my parents Enrique and Laura told
me to find the best detail supplier in America.
So, I visited the American Chamber
of Commerce office next to the American
Embassy in Mexico City and I got a long
list of suppliers. One of the hundreds of
that list was Mr. Bud Abraham of Detail
Plus, Inc. from Portland, Oregon.
I was very lucky when he came to
visit our location at Jardin Balbuena
in Mexico City in the 1993 and I remember
his words... “Don´t feel insulted,
but your operation is so primitive”
...and that was the beginning of the
transformation of our business and we
trusted in this smart man and he became
a part of the Villegas family.
We began to invest in many kinds
of used equipment during an economic
crisis that went on for several years. But,
with Bud’s advice and business vision, he
helped us to continue innovating and developing
and we opened the first professional
auto detailing business in Mexico in
December 1997 with the new name and
In 1999 we opened a semi-automatic
car wash in the same location but in the
beginning, customers were afraid to wash
their cars in this new mode and we were
worried that no customers would ever
come. We marketed and kept at it, and
eventually customers started coming and
liked the new way to wash their cars. Les
Wickham was a very important friend of
mine and taught us with his brilliant mind
and engineering ideas. I will never forget
his words, “Enrique, now you have all the
aces in your pocket.” I understood what
those words meant many years later.
We completed our dream, which was
to have a full-service car wash business,
in the following years. We increased sales
and opened a new freestanding Detail
Shop business, and we got the Detail Plus
Paint Touch up System and began a new
era in the industry in 2001.
We are very thankful to Bud Abraham
and his family with their kindness to us
over the years. We were also about to visit
them in America, and we consider them
family. Bud is my American father and
I´m blessed to know him.
10 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | VOL. 5, NO. 4 • WINTER 2020
Introducing new & improved products for professional auto, boat & motorcycle detailers.
New line of Air Fresheners from Buffalo Scents
Buffalo Scents is a Buffalo born and
raised brand committed to creating safer,
healthier and better-smelling air fresheners
for automobiles. We’re a small, tightknit
team based out of Buffalo, New York
– a city known for brotherly love, the epic
debate of bleu cheese vs. ranch, wings
(yep, we just call them wings here), underdog
sports teams, and snow. Lots of it.
We’ve always spent a lot of time in
our cars, whether it’s stuck in traffic, navigating
a snowstorm, or waiting in line to
tailgate. We know all too well that a clean,
fresh-smelling car can make all the difference
in how you feel when you drive, according
to owner Stephen Szortyka. Our
vehicles are our second homes – and because
we can’t burn incense or plug an essential
oil diffuser into our cars, we wanted
a more natural, fresher, and cleaner
way to create a moving oasis.
Buffalo Scents was created with the
core belief that air fresheners shouldn’t
have to come with all the nasty chemicals.
Even better, they can come in an affordable,
stylish, and natural-looking design
that doesn’t feel tacky or flimsy.
The company’s mission is simple: keep
cars across the country smelling as fresh
and clean as possible, without adding unnecessary
chemicals. “We’re a new age
air freshener with simple, game-changing
values: good scents made from good ingredients.”
Mud Stopper Plugs
Have you noticed that mud, grime, and grit
sometimes builds up in the outer holes of the fiberglass
grating in your car wash bay? It’s difficult
to clean out this sludge and it might begin to collect
gravel and small pieces of trash. This is unattractive
and potentially unsafe for customers. In addition,
this increases the possibility that brushes will
pick up solid particles that can scratch or damage
Mud Stopper plugs easily and quickly solve this
problem! Once you identify which holes in your
grating collect mud, you can clean them out and
insert a plug in each one. This directs the mud
and sludge further towards the center of the grate
where it will fall into the pit instead of building
up around the edges. Plugs are easy to insert and
perfectly sized for common car wash grating. Your
wash will instantly look cleaner, stay cleaner, and
provide a safer experience for all customers and
employees. Packs of 100 plugs are available.
Unit from Apollo
To help protect communities
against COVID-19 and other
viruses, the Apollo disinfectant,
sanitizing and remediation
sprayers are designed
keep people safe. The Apollo
DR3000-PRO Turbo Spray system,
that has been designed for commercial
use, includes a professional variable-speed air turbine, a 30’ Ultra-Flex
air hose and a 32oz capacity professional spray gun with internal stainless-steel
fluid passages, springs and finite solution adjustment. The system atomizes disinfectants
into micro-fine particle sizes and spray patterns up to 10” wide for
complete, even surface coverage while the multi-stage air intake filtration protects
the system from contaminants for years of reliable service. Add the included
wheels to the DR3000-PRO and you have total portability.
Whether you’re spraying a fleet of trucks or trailers the DR3000-PRO will be
there to work for you all day long, providing reliable, safe and even distribution of
your EPA approved Covid-19 disinfectant or sanitizer solution of choice.
12 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | VOL. 5, NO. 4 • WINTER 2020
WATERPROOF LIGHTING for SPECIAL ENVIRONMENTS
Connectorized LED Lighting
Made in the USA
IDA Community Stays Strong
During Challenging Year
Members of the International Detailing Association unite to make it through tough times
By Erin Reyes
IDA Communications Coordinator
There is no doubt that 2020 has been
one of the most challenging years in recent
memory. We have lost cherished
friends and colleagues, endured multiple
lockdowns, rallied against racial injustice,
overcome political differences, and
some of us may have even experienced
permanent business closures. We have
cried together, laughed together, learned
together, worked together, all without the
ability to physically be together. But we
have stuck together nonetheless, and that
is what makes the International Detailing
Association (IDA) community so strong.
The year started off like most others,
with the IDA participating at Mobile
Tech Expo in Orlando, Florida at the
end of January. We hosted our Annual
Business Meeting, presented the annual
IDA Awards, and inducted the inaugural
class of the IDA Hall of Fame. Association
leaders including Board members
and committee chairs convened to discuss
goals and create a strategic plan for the
upcoming year. We gained a large group
of new members and Certified Detailers
at the event. Basically, everything pointed
to it being our best year yet.
Fast forward to March 2020. The IDA
Belgium/France Chapter made their
tradeshow debut at The Detailing Show
in Tours, France. It was well attended and
garnered much international interest for
the association. Then, literally the next
day, the country went into lockdown and
all large events were forbidden.
It was ostensibly all downhill from
there: countries began shutting down,
tradeshows and large-scale events were
cancelled, businesses had to cease – or
at least greatly alter – operations. How
could detailing companies (mostly small,
independent businesses) and, subsequently,
the IDA, thrive – or, at the very least,
survive – through such a situation?
However, something surprising happened.
Despite all the seeming roadblocks,
throughout this past year, the
IDA community has continued to grow.
At the time of publication, we are 1783
members and nearly 1100 Certified Detailers
How then, in a year of struggle and
uncertainty, were we able to experience
this type of growth? Essentially, it comes
down to the sense of community that we
have been able to foster. Our leaders and
volunteers have worked tirelessly to maintain
this tight bond and provide meaningful
support to our members in a time
when they absolutely needed it most.
• A SENSE OF RELIEF
Earlier this year, in recognition of the
hardships that members and Certified Detailers
were experiencing across the board,
the IDA Board made the decision to offer
some relief in the form of extended dues
and recertification periods. At a time when
connection and access to information
were so invaluable, we did not want detailers
to be left out due to whatever financial
or operational challenges they might have
been facing. That is the exact moment
that a supportive network would be most
necessary. This summer, we also ran a promotion
for one free month of membership
for both new and returning members to
encourage as many detailers as possible
to invest in the community for their own
benefit and the support of others.
Another popular addition this year
was a series of group sessions, which were
facilitated by Jason Rose, CD-SV, RT,
who has a background in psychology and
human services. These sessions, which oftentimes
featured special guests, offered a
safe space for members to gather and discuss
their concerns about the state of the
industry – and the world, at large – and
offer support to others who understood
exactly what they were going through.
Topics included managing anxiety, navigating
compassion and empathy, courage,
While providing financial and emotional
support for our members was important
for us, we also recognized the
need to continue offering professional development
opportunities. Despite outward
obstacles, members still had the drive to
continue bettering themselves and their
careers. IDA Certification is, without a
doubt, the number one opportunity we
provide for professional development.
With in-person gatherings limited, though,
it was clear that an alternate solution was
necessary for certification events.
14 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | VOL. 5, NO. 4 • WINTER 2020
Luckily, Alan Medcraf, CD-SV, RT,
IDA Vice President of Operators, was
more than ready to accept the challenge
and became the first IDA Recognized
Trainer to offer online certification events.
This allowed detailers from across the
globe to take part in the IDA Certification
Program without ever having to leave
the safety of their homes. As of now, we
have successfully held five online certification
events, resulting in more than 20
new Certified Detailers. Hopefully, the
success of these first online certification
events means that they will continue well
past the end of the pandemic. With this
year’s addition of four new Recognized
Trainers, for a total of 33 worldwide, we
would say this is a great possibility. Check
the event calendar on our website for upcoming
Along with the success of the online
certification events, the IDA Certification
Committee also launched the Marine
Certification program in September.
To date, we have already had nearly 15
Certified Detailers complete or begin
working toward the specialty certification.
This clearly shows that, even in
the midst of a pandemic, there are detailers
dedicated to advancing their careers
and the detailing profession. Learn
more about IDA Marine Certification at
Speaking of advancing the profession,
we were also proud this year to introduce
the Founder’s Endowment Fund, established
by the IDA Founder’s Club, to support
programs and projects that further
detailing education and training for future
detailers. At the time of publication,
submissions are still under review and no
grants have yet been awarded, but a bevy
of entries show that there are indeed individuals
and companies who are working
to improve the detailing industry, and the
IDA Founder’ Club is proud to be able to
support that mission.
Our growth was not just limited to the
United States, though. This year, the IDA
Chapter Development Committee helped
establish two new chapters – Bulgaria and
Denmark – bringing our current total
up to eight active international chapters.
Several more countries and regions have
... even in the midst of a pandemic,
there are detailers dedicated to
advancing their careers and the
expressed interest in creating their own
chapters, and the committee has set a goal
of adding two additional chapters within
the next year, for a total of ten.
The Chapter Development Committee
made it their mission this year to offer
additional support to existing chapters, as
there was no corner of the globe that the
pandemic and its effects did not reach.
Within the chapters, members established
regular virtual meetups for detailers in
their country or region to come together
to discuss how they were dealing with
the effects of the pandemic and share camaraderie
in a time when it was so desperately
needed. The United Kingdom
Chapter was hit particularly hard, so they
established a schedule of twice-monthly
calls, facilitated by chapter member Craig
Brigham, CD, to catch up with one another
and discuss hot topics. Similarly,
the New Zealand Chapter has recently
hosted two virtual Happy Hour events.
The Chapter Development Committee
further helped facilitate cross-chapter
meetings so members from different parts
of the world could gather to share their
knowledge and expertise to help each
other grow. One of the greatest benefits
of belonging to the IDA, which was made
undeniable in a digital environment this
year, is being part of a global network
that brings individuals together to share
tools and knowledge with one another,
and establish connections that would not
otherwise exist due to distance and other
With tradeshows and in-person gatherings
being limited or cancelled altogether,
the IDA Tradeshow and Education
Committee, like everyone else, had
to learn to operate in a strictly digital
environment for the health and safety of
Instead of planning in-person gatherings,
the committee pivoted to focus on
coordinating several virtual panel sessions
to provide up-to-date information to detailers
– both members and non-members
– on dealing with the pandemic. Association
leaders and experts provided as accurate
information as possible, at a time
when it may have been hard to decipher
what was actually helpful with information
coming from a wide variety of sources.
Recordings of these panel events are
archived on the IDA website at https://
can also find other COVID-related reference
materials on this webpage, including
safety documents, UK-specific resources,
and a copy of the press release we released
in March, explaining our thoughts
on why auto detailing businesses should
be considered essential businesses, at a
time when non-essential businesses were
being forced to shutter. The press release
was also translated into several other languages,
as a resource for our growing international
Though all these resources are important,
perhaps the most vital was something
that, in this digital age, is easy to
overlook: a dedicated space for social networking.
Members have always turned to
our exclusive Facebook group as a way to
connect with one another, but this year it
took on a whole new meaning as a place
where members could commiserate and
get feedback from those who were living
the same experience. They could also
go to the group to find pictures of work
other members were doing to establish
a sense of normalcy in a world that is,
truthfully, anything but normal. Several
chapters also have their own Facebook
groups, where they can connect in the
same way as the main group but do so in
a language that is most comfortable for
them and discuss regional-specific topics.
For members without access to Facebook,
there is also the integrated website
community, where members can connect
in a space truly built just for them.
Though we remain optimistic about
one day soon being able to resume our
previous activities – in-person certification,
tradeshows, meet and greets – this
year has taught us that we can weather
the storms and thrive in times of adversity,
all thanks to the hard work and dedication
of our community. In the event that
we are not able to “return to normal” (if
there even is such a thing), you can rest assured
that our leaders and volunteers are
already working diligently to plan for all
contingencies, including the introduction
of digital SV testing and a potential virtual
tradeshow in 2021.
While many things remain uncertain
for the coming year, one thing is for
sure: the IDA will be here to support the
detailing community, and we will work
together to make it through whatever
comes our way.
VOL. 5, NO.4 • WINTER 2020 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | 15
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FEB 4-6, 2021
TECH EXPO –
Gaylord Palms Resort
FEB 17-19, 2021
CAR WASH EXPO
Fort Worth Convention Center
Fort Worth, Texas
SEPT 27-29, 2021
CAR WASH EXPO
Georgia World Congress
OCT 4-6, 2021
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
NOV 15-17, 2021
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
*These shows are still scheduled
at the time of publication of this
issue. However, shows might still
be canceled due to Covid-19.
Check websites for each show for
Santa Rosa Detailer
Celebrates Grand Opening
Shawn Sepulveda, owner of A Perfect
Experience Auto Detailing, now known as
A Perfect Experience (APE) Luxury Auto
Spa, believed people were ready for an
outdoor family-friendly event as long as it
was safe, masked and socially-distanced.
Following all CDC guidelines, Sepulveda
celebrated the grand opening of his new
5,500 square-foot APE Luxury Auto Spa
with a Trunk or Treat Car Show on Sunday,
According to a press release, in addition
to changing his business name to
APE Luxury Auto Spa, the move to a
larger 5,500-square-foot facility now provides
room to offer several aesthetic services
they were contracted out in the past,
such paintless dent repair (PDR), window
and glass chip repair, cosmetic wheel and
rim repair, paint protection film (PPF),
and window tint installation . Now those
services are all offered under one roof.
APE Luxury Auto Spa partnered with
the North Bay Impalas Club to host what
they hope will become an annual car
show event. There were no entry fees for
the Trunk or Treat Car Show. There were
also food trucks, a deejay, raffles and giveaways,
and plaques and trophies for the
winners of the car show.
APE also now highlights their Transparent
Warranties – the first warranty program
ever to cover automotive detailing
and aesthetic services. Transparent Warranties
offer unprecedented coverage for
PDR, PPF, glass repair, headlight repair,
tire and wheel work, key fob replacement,
and both interior and exterior detailing
work. These warranties are the only ones
of their kind on the market for detailers.
Sepulveda has prepped multimillion-dollar
classics and exotics as a member
of the highly prestigious McCall’s Motorworks
Revival and The Quail Detailing
The latest on Mobile Tech Expo 2021
As of now, the 2021 Mobile Tech
Expo is still happening, although show
officials said they are closely monitoring
Covid and will be keeping the health of
the community and the show participants
as its top priority.
The Show, slated for February 5-6
with its Education Day on February 4, will
take place at the Gaylord Palms Resort
in Orlando. Educational sessions will go
on throughout the day and on Saturday,
February 6, International Detailing Association
Certification testing will be offered.
According to an official statement: We
are excited to bring the 2021 Mobile Tech
Expo back to Orlando at the Gaylord
Palms Resort. We are closely monitoring
the virus, following local health guidelines
alongside those within the hotel property
as the safety and health of our attendees,
exhibitors, and local community is our
highest priority. As the situation changes,
we will assess and communicate any
changes with these guidelines.
Here are a few of the
educational sessions being
offered pertaining to detailers:
• Current Marketing
Trends for Selling
8 a.m. - 9 a.m., THRU, FEB 4
What’s the number one thing needed
for anyone that is selling something? Their
attention! Marshall Hill, Total Auto Solutions
and DJ Patterson, EcoGreen will
take a look at where customer’s attention
has been over the past few years, current
market trends and forward thinking maneuvers
for Detailers to best use in their
B2C & B2B marketing efforts.
• Three Unique Ways to
Grow Your Business
9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m., THRU, FEB 4
We all know a lot of the standard
things we are supposed to be doing in
our business. Sales, marketing, customer
follow-up, have a website, get reviews,
etc. Some we do really well and some we
can do better. Coach Cory K will help
Teams at Monterey Car Week. He is also
Santa Rosa’s only Air Force One Detailer.
He and the team have restored and are
continuing to preserve and protect the
original presidential jet, Air Force One on
display at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
Sepulveda has been part of these
events as a member of Master aircraft
and automotive detailer, Renny Doyle’s
famous Detail Mafia, an exclusive group
of detailers – ‘Made-Men’ – who strive
to be the most accomplished and technologically-advanced
team of automotive
detailers in the U.S., and artisans in
the care and maintenance of automotive
paint and automotive interiors.
you find unique ways to create the life
and business you want.
• The Wall
4 p.m. - 5 p.m., THRU, FEB 4
Join John Corinella, CD-SV of American
Detail Corp. in this motivational seminar
focused on identifying and overcoming
the obstacles in your path. John will be
touching on topics related to identifying
challenges, chasing your dream, building
self-confidence, positive and negative influences,
the impact of being tapped into
the IDA, and much more. Leaving 2020
behind and looking into a fresh year in
2021, you won’t want to miss this session!
• Sell Your Used Equipment,
Old Stock or Product Line
11 a.m. - 12 p.m., THRU, FEB 4
Have used equipment that is taking
up space in your shop, garage or storage
unit? Do you have a product line and are
looking for a venue to sell online or are
you interested in creating a side income
that you can run right from your business?
18 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | VOL. 5, NO. 4 • WINTER 2020
SEMA360 attracts thousands of attendees, includes Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs
Thousands of industry professionals
logged onto www.sema360.com on November
2 to take part in the first day of
SEMA360 , a five-day online trade-only
event where attendees from throughout
the world could interact with automotive
parts manufacturers, see new trends and
products, network, and hear from leaders
and experts in the specialty equipment
aftermarket industry, a press release reported.
Following a live Keynote Q&A
powered by OPTIMA Batteries and featuring
Mike Rowe and Tanner Foust on
Monday morning, SEMA360 officially
opened for attendees who were looking to
connect with the more than 650 manufacturers
that are headlining the event.
Rowe, creator and host of the hit TV
series “Dirty Jobs,” and Foust, industry
celebrity and driver, broadcasted live from
their respective locations. During the halfhour
episode, the two talked about the
state of the automotive aftermarket, their
passion for the industry and the need to
inspire more people to get involved in the
Rowe shared his experience and stories
behind the success of his show “Dirty
Jobs,” how the mikeroweWORKS Foundation
came to be and how it evolved
from a PR campaign for skilled labor to a
scholarship fund for those willing to learn
a trade that’s in demand.
“There is a real shortage of skilled
technicians across the country, and real
opportunities to prosper in those trades,”
said Rowe. “My foundation gave away
$1 million in work ethic scholarships this
year to people who want to learn a trade
and help close the skills gap.”
Foust, who was streaming live from
OPTIMA’s event Hi-Performance Expo,
gave attendees a sneak peak of the track,
shared his insight on the diversity of the
industry and talked about how the industry
is persevering during this unprecedented
time of COVID-19 .
“The enthusiast world and automotive
market is healthy,” said Foust. “When you
cruise around in SEMA360 and what we’ll
do the next couple of days here through
this platform, you’ll meet a lot of people
who are almost investors. You’ll find
people who have innovated. People are
tinkering and inventing and putting their
passion into physical representation.”
SEMA360 also allowed for attendees to
view more than 2,200 products in the New
Products Showcase, see over 300 custom
vehicle builds, and take part in more than
30 industry-specific education sessions
throughout the week. Each SEMA360 day
was full of exclusive seminars and events.
Andrew Morgan, Keystone Automotive
Operations Category Director-Truck
& Off-Road, said in a press release, “In
these challenging times, we have to be
flexible and adapt, and we are very thankful
SEMA found a way to help bring the
Amy Fitzgerald, owner of Cool Hand
Customs, also was looking forward to connecting
with the industry on SEMA360.
“The ability to connect with others in
the industry this year is more important
than it has ever been,” she said in a press
release. “With the education seminars
and all the virtual opportunities it offers,
SEMA360 is an invaluable resource this
year for all of us who make not only our
careers but our lives in this industry.”
“Our industry is resilient, and it’s making
history by coming together to conduct
business through the online platform,”
Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of
events, stated in a press release. “We were
unable to have an in-person event this year,
and the industry was able to pivot and find
a way to conduct much-needed business in
preparation for a successful 2021. We are
looking forward to seeing even more activity
in SEMA360 as the week continues.”
Paul Apollonia will help you discover how
eBay can be a sales tool on your mobile
device, an overview of listing items, taking
photos, pricing, and shipping tips.
• What Your Accountant
is Not Telling You
1 p.m. - 2 p.m., THRU, FEB 4
You may get all the proper forms and
taxes completed on time. You probably
have never had your business audited with
regard to any of the forms or tax returns
you have submitted. Yet, there are many
things that you should know about the
accounting aspect of your business. Your
accountant may know most of them, but
to make sure, both of you have to be “on
the same page”. In this session, Tom Shay
will share 14 key aspects of financial management
that you should be aware of.
• Insulate Earning Capability
with Additional Revenue
8 a.m. - 9 a.m., THRU, FEB 4
Was your income impacted last year
by the Pandemic? Some of us had greatly
reduced income because we rely solely on
revenue from detailing services. In this
session, Prentice St. Clair, CD-SV, RT,
will talk about what it takes to be a more
rounded “automotive reconditioning”
technician. With 22 years teaching and
providing multiple services, Prentice can
help you understand what it takes to learn
and equip yourself to be multi-talented,
so that you can dramatically increase the
average ticket price per vehicle.
• Proper Pad Care
1 p.m. – 2 p.m., THRU, FEB 4
The intention of this educational seminar
is to educate/advise on proper care and
maintenance of all pad types foams, microfibers
and wools. The seminar will cover
care and maintenance of all pad types and
will be advised from the time of purchase to
knowing when it's time to replace. The intention
is to educate on how to get the maximum
performance and durability (work
time) from buffing pads. Maintenance will
include how many pads to use per vehicle,
when to change pads, how often to clean
while buffing and when to clean for new
job. We will also be discussing “best practices”
on cleaning pads, differences and
“tricks to the trade” on best ways to clean
various types of pads. We hope that attendees
leave with better knowledge of identifying
the best ways to clean various types
of pads, what processes will work best and
“best practices” of getting the best performance
and longevity from your buffing
pads. Speakers: Clint Hintz, CD-SV, RT
and Justin Labato, CD-SV, RT, Buff and
Shine. JL’s Showroom Detailing, Inc.
• Chemical Technology
to Boost Your Profits
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., THRU, FEB 4
We will discuss the latest technologies
in the detailing industry, and highlight
which ones can turn into better revenue
sources, which ones help cut expenses (labor),
and which ones are a waste of your
time. We will share information about new
coating technologies, including graphene
and high solids ceramic coatings, 100%
inorganic paintwork correction gels (no
more compounds and polishes), and new
cleaning surfactants that leave a protective
film. Not all technologies are beneficial.
Learn about those that are misapplied
to our industry and about others that are
downright bogus, which can affect your
bottom line. Speaker: Jim Lafeber, CD-
SV, RT, Dr. Beasley’s Inc.
• Equipping Your Shop
the Right Way
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., THRU, FEB 4
How to determine what equipment
and tools you need to run your mobile,
fixed or larger scale operation. Know
what to buy, how to buy it and how to financially
manage your purchases to leverage
these assets to your advantage operationally
and financially. Speaker: Keith
Duplessie Details Plus CD-SV, MC, RT
• The 30 minute paint
enhancement with protection!
Maximizing one step performance.
More customers. More profit.
11 a.m. – 12 p.m., THRU, FEB 4
An overview of tips and techniques to
get the ultimate performance while doing
one step paint enhancement procedures.
Jason will show you how to do this with
maximum efficiency and quality. Jason
Rose, CD-SV, RT
• How to Go from Mobile
to Fixed Operations
8 a.m. – 9 a.m., FRI, FEB 5
Find out the back story of how this
successful entrepreneur went from mobile
to fixed location in 4 years. Even
if you are not looking at it now, get a
template for setting goals and executing
them. Speaker: John Corinella, American
• Organizing for Efficiency
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., FRI, FEB 5
Are you always trying to increase your
productivity and profitability? Learn from
an expert how to view everything from an
efficiency (and therefore profitable) mindset.
We’ll talk about shop/work truck layout,
training and even product selection
to get the most value out of everything
you do. Walk away with tips that will enhance
your bottom line and your work/
life balance. Speaker: Yvan LaCroix
VOL. 5, NO.4 • WINTER 2020 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | 19
Details for the 2021 SEMA Show have also been
revealed. The Show is to take place November 2-5,
2021, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Pack your parka, SEMA is going to Sweden!
The 2021 SEMA Nordic program in Stockholm,
Sweden, is scheduled for September 2-6,
2021. According to a SEMA press release, Sweden,
Norway, Finland and Denmark – collectively known
as the Nordic region – boasts a long and rich tradition
of car customizing and motorsports are perhaps
best known as among the strongest fans worldwide
of US classic cars, racing and US culture. “A high
standard of living allows them ample disposable income
to spend on their car hobbies. Given the pool
of US classic cars in the region and the strong racing
culture – including drag racing – opportunities
for manufacturers of products for the hot rod and
restoration market given the very large number of
vintage American vehicles particularly from the 50s
to the 70s. The saying is that there are more restored
1950s and 60s cars in Sweden than in the United
States, the press release stated. Lovingly restored and
stunning hot rods are easy to spot on the road, and
from Easter through September there are numerous
car shows and American car cruises.
Participants can learn the potential for their
products in this performance and classic car paradise.
Meet with top trade buyers enabling the half
century old craze in Sweden and the surrounding
countries of Norway, Finland and Denmark to restore
and upgrade American classic cars, the press
release stated. “High disposable income coupled
with a passion for personalization makes this a very
attractive region. Explore the region with SEMA.
The SEMA Business Development Programs are
low-cost, turnkey events that bring together SE-
MA-member manufacturers and buyers from key
I smell a great stocking
stuffer! Car wash scented
candle now available
Smith and Co. Candles LLC, a family-owned candle
company based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is offering a carwash-scented
candle and wax melts online thanks to a partnership
with Kwik Trip, WTMJ-TV reported.
“Earlier this summer, we teamed up with the Smith &
Co. team to launch the Glazers®-Scented Candle. This was
new territory for our company, so we were thrilled to see the
positive feedback surrounding the launch,” Kendra Nedegaard,
digital content supervisor at Kwik Trip, said in the
September 23 story.
Although the secret to Kwik Trip’s good-smelling suds is
top secret, the candle will supposedly transport you straight to
the car wash, at least that is, according to Kwik Trip.
“We knew we needed to make this scent a reality, Kenna
Smith-Hoff, owner of Smith & Co. Candles LLC said in the
story. “It’s especially near and dear to my heart because my dad
Jim works for Kwik Trip as their lead Car Wash Field Service
Supervisor and oversees car wash production and maintenance
in all three states. He has worked for Kwik Trip for over 20
years, so Kwik Trip runs deep in my family.”
The candle is now available for online purchase at smithcocandlesllc.com.
TOOLS & MORE
DETAILPLUS.COM || 503-251-2955
Laid-off Disney workers find hope
with auto detailing
The COVID-19 pandemic has roiled Orlando's workforce, according to a November
18 Orlando Weekly story. Thousands of jobs have been lost and the hardest-hit
sector of the local Orlando economy are theme park and hospitality employees.
“Walt Disney World alone has seen more than 50,000 furloughs and lay-offs
of part-time, seasonal, full-time and union employees,” the story said. “Orlando's
plethora of entertainers, performers, artists, and hospitality professionals are the
‘magic makers.’ They're what keep this city vibrant and churning with creative energy,
and many of Orlando's most influential artisans and businesses started their
careers with the Mouse.”
Many employees have a lot of creative energy and nowhere to spend it, the story
said. But, thanks to "Ear for Each Other," a Facebook group founded by Maxine
Pollakis, a 22-year Disney cast member, laid off theme park workers are finding work
elsewhere. Pollakis, who started the group with three others – two laid off, one furloughed,
one still employed – formed the group to give furloughed and laid-off Disney
cast members (CMs) a place to promote and market their side hustles, whether
they're creative or practical, to an audience seeking to support them.
Workers who started detailing cars to get by were helped by the initiative, according
to the story. "When the group was created," Pollakis said in the story, "the federal
aid for Floridians was ending, leaving [the CMs] to earn about $200 per week. I knew
so many were struggling and wondered how I could help." Pollakis looked no further
than her own social network, “where she found CMs painting, baking bread, making
candles and soaps, starting pressure-washing and auto detailing businesses, and more.”
The forum now includes more than 30,000 CMs and community members,"
Pollakis said in the story. "Disney cast members are incredibly talented, and it's very
common for artists to find ways to be creative, no matter the circumstances.":
20 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | VOL. 5, NO. 4 • WINTER 2020
The Facts about
Ask 10 detailers the best way to detail
a paint finish and you will get 10 different answers.
Bud Abraham is Founder and President Emeritus of DETAIL PLUS Car Appearance Systems, with more than 40 years of
experience in the car care industry as a manufacturer, operator, distributor and consultant. He writes articles and gives
seminars on the subject of auto detailing throughout the automotive industry. He can be reached at email@example.com.
By Bud Abraham
After reading a recent article on paint
finishing I decided it was time to take a
stronger stand on paint finish procedures:
Which tools, which pads, and which
chemicals to use.
The Buffing Process
If you have an enamel or lacquer
finish that is heavily oxidized, etched or
scratched and the paint thickness gauge
indicates at least 4 mils of paint, it is safe
to use the high speed buffer with a cutting
pad and a heavy-duty or medium grade
compound. When you use a cutting pad
and a compound you will put swirls and
scratches in the paint finish. A professional
detailer will remove these swirls and
scratches rather than simply fill them. It
is unlikely that the new DAs will remove
heavily oxidation on single-stage paint or
heavily scratched or etched single or twostage
This is truly the difference between
a professional in the detail business, and
a detailer looking for a shortcut. Maybe
filling the swirls and scratches on a dealer
car is OK. but this process has no place
in a detail center providing the service to
How to Remove Swirls
After the paint surface has been
buffed with a high speed rotary buffer,
the only way to remove the resultant
swirls and scratches is to follow this with a
high speed buffer (at lower RPMs), foam
or with 100% lamb’s wool finishing pad,
and a swirl remover (not filler) product.
(The rule is: If you put the swirls or scratches
in with a high speed buffer you’ve got to remove
them with one.)
This is where skill and time play a part
in the paint finishing process. Typically,
when removing swirls and micro-scratches
you move much slower over the paint
finish, paying careful visual attention to
the swirls and scratches you are trying to
remove. This also heats the shine into the
paint finish. Like spit shining vs. brush
shining a pair of shoes.
Using today’s high-tech DAs (Rupes
& Flex and copies of that technology) for
light correction on the first step you can
usually remove slight, if any swirls with
the same DA and a polishing pad.
Waxing or Sealing
The final step is the application of the
wax or paint sealant protection (I am not
mentioning ceramic coatings as a final
protection in this particular discussion because
that is an entirely different situation).
Waxes can come in liquid, creme or
paste form. The cremes and pastes are
best applied by hand, with a hand-held orbital
or with a DA and finishing pad and
removed by hand or the tools mentioned
Sealants are usually in a liquid form
and are best applied and removed as previously
When it comes to hand applying vs.
machine applying, in my opinion, it really
makes no difference in terms of protection
and durability. If you can use the
“Hand Wax” idea as a marketing feature
to the customer, then do it that way.
Buffing Clear Coats?
Like a sheet of plexiglass, or a plastic
eyeglass lens, the clear coat, is subject to
scratching. Also, as discussed, clear coat
paint finishes are susceptible to etching
from acid rain, bird droppings, and insect
If you encounter a clear coat paint
finish with any one, or more of these
problems you most likely will be required
to use a high speed buffer, cutting pad,
and a light to medium-duty compound.
It is the only way to remove them. Trying
to do it by hand, with an orbital or a
DA will, at best, only fill the irregularity
and not remove it.
After you’ve corrected the problem,
(in some instances the damage will be
removed completely) the next step is to
remove the swirls and scratches by using
a high speed buffer, finishing pad (either
foam or 100% lamb’s wool) or a High-
VOL. 5, NO.4 • WINTER 2020 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | 21
Tech DA and a swirl remover chemical.
An orbital will not remove the swirls or
scratches, only fill them. A High-Tech DA
might remove some lighter swirls. A point
to remember is that they were “burned
in” with a high speed buffer, and in most
cases, they must be removed with one.
The final step is the same as a single-stage
paint finish, a wax or sealant applied
and removed as previously described.
“Good” Paint Finishes
By good paint finishes I mean single-stage
or two-stage clear coat finishes
that do not have heavy visual scratches,
etching from insects, acid rain, bird droppings,
discoloration, etc. These surfaces
will generally have light surface scratches
or water spots and possibly some staining
from airborne pollutants.
With paint finishes like this you can
generally follow a 2-step process with either
a buff and orbital of hand method or
using a DA.
• BUFF AND ORBITAL OR HAND: This
process requires using the high speed
buffer, finishing pad, and swirl remover/
polish as the first step to remove any light
surface problems and polish the finish
to a high shine. Next, the wax or sealant
can then be applied and removed by
hand with an orbital.
• DUAL ACTION: You can also choose to
use a High Tech Dual Action tool with a
polishing pad and swirl remover/polish as
a first step and apply the wax or sealant
with the DA and a finishing pad.
These processes are recommended for
all paint finishes, single-stage or two-stage
Orbital or DAs
Using the orbital or DA is ideal for a
clear coat in good condition because it
will provide the customer with the shine
and protection they want and will pay for
without being shorted. Depending upon
the surface condition you would use the
orbital to apply and remove either
a light-duty compound,
or the swirl remover/polish.
This would be followed
by the wax or
sealant applied and
removed by orbital
or hand. Or, you
can use a DA to apply
and remove the
same chemicals mentioned
It makes sense that the processes described
could be combined on the same
vehicle, because the paint finish will have
different problems from one area of the
vehicle to the other.
For example, horizontal surfaces including
the hood, top, and rear deck, are
more susceptible to oxidation, and etching
than the sides of the vehicle. Therefore,
you could take the more aggressive
steps on these surfaces. The sides, if not
somehow severely scratched, might require
a less aggressive procedure.
What you do should be determined by
the paint finish problem and not by, “what
is the fastest, or easiest.”
As stated many times, the one-step
process really has no place in the profes-
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22 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | VOL. 5, NO. 4 • WINTER 2020
sional retail center. It was out-growth of
the wholesale trade. Get the dealer car
done quickly and with the least amount
of work with an inexpensive product
that might provide shine and protection
for 30 days.
In my mind, if a professional detail establishment
offers the customer a one-step
it is like a qualified mechanic only cleaning
your spark plugs instead of changing
them, to charge you less. He knows it’s
not the best. So does the professional
But my opinion
aside, one-step chemical
here to stay in
and retail detailing.
So let’s understand
A one-step or
is, as the second name connotes,
a combination of a light cleaner
and an inexpensive protectant which is
generally a light silicone and/or light wax
When using it, understand that it is intended
to be used by itself, not followed by
a wax or sealant. Why? It is not necessary
because it has protectants in it. Although
not as durable as a straight wax or sealant.
It is amazing how many detailers follow a
one-step with a wax or sealant.
Because it is a finishing product. It
should be used with a finishing pad and either
a high speed buffer or dual action tool.
The one-step process assumes the
paint finish does not have any severe
problems. If it does you must follow one
of the other procedures described, even
on a dealer car. The one step process is
there if you can use it.
The one-step can also be used with an
orbital for application and removal. This
is an ideal procedure for dealer cars with
clear coats in reasonably good condition.
This process can be done in 30 to 45 minutes
by an inexperienced detailer, saving
time and money.
There is so much more that can be
written on the subject of paint finishing,
and the point of this article was not to
make you painters but to make you aware
of common paint finishing problems. As
a professional detailer you must be able to
identify paint finish problems, know their
cause and whether you can repair them.
Far too many detailers haven’t a clue regarding
some paint finish problems and
get themselves into “hot water” trying to
If you want to learn more about paint
finishes and paint finish problems, you
might want to purchase the Automotive
Paint Handbook. It costs about $20 and
is an excellent and easy to read source of
great information for the detailer. You may
also try to attend some of the seminars that
the automotive paint companies in your
area offer to their body shop customers.
And, as always, if you have any questions,
disagreements or comments feel
free to contact me at buda@detailplus.
com or text 503-816-7304.
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VOL. 5, NO.4 • WINTER 2020 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | 23
A Little More You Should Know About Paint
You’re not a painter, but do you know
what “solvent popping” is? Solvent popping
occurs when trapped solvent in the
paint expands arid breaks through the
applied paint film. Inside each solvent
kernel is moisture, add heat and the water
expands and blows it apart. The solvent
is like spheres, you can actually see
them embedded if you go down through
a dried paint film, especially a clear coat.
They reach different levels in the paint
film, and you cannot buff them out. If
you sand them, then you are left with the
problem of pin holing. Bottom-line, the
paint has to be removed and re-sprayed.
What types of things occur with solvent
popping? Here are just a couple:
Blistering: This describes bumps in
dried paint film that looks like small pimples
or bubbles. This can be caused by
moisture trapped in the paint film, insufficient
drying time after wet-sanding,
contamination in the air lines used by the
painter or even heavy humidity during
Air Entrapment: This is relatively rare
in painting and can be caused by trapped
air pockets in the wet paint film. Having
the spray gun too close or moving the gun
too slowly while not having sufficient air
pressure can cause this problem. It usually
can be rubbed out.
Dust Contamination: This is not
as much a problem today because of the
implementation of dust-free paint booths.
The chief cause of the problems today include
the use of poor grade masking paper,
particles coming from inexpensive degrading
air lines, poor vehicle prep and a painter
with dirty work clothes. Dust particles
usually will rub out.
To best understand the concept of solvent
popping what I want to do is ask and
answer a few questions about solvent popping
that were presented and answered by
a number of automotive coatings experts.
• What is happening when
solvent popping occurs?
Simply, solvent in the paint is coming out. Solvent is the
medium used to spray the paint. And, the solvent has to
completely evaporate for the paint to cure or crosslink.
This does not happen when the solvent “pops.” What
happens is the top layer of the paint crosslinks with solvent
underneath. Later, when the solvent tries to evaporate,
that is to go from a liquid state to a gas, you have a
solvent pop. It is just like popcorn where there is moisture
inside of each kernel. Add heat and the water expands
inside the kernel and blows it apart. Paint does the same
thing, blowing the paint apart.
• What is the gas you speak of? Air?
No, it is solvent changing from a liquid to a gaseous state.
• Is the gas flammable?
Yes, but they would be better called combustible on a DOT
• So for the painter and/or the detailer this is
a bad problem?
Yes, without question because there is not a quick fix. Bottom
line, if solvent popping has occurred on a paint finish it
has to be removed and repainted.
• What actually causes solvent popping?
It can be a combination of things in the painting process.
The spray gun, the painter and what is called film buildtoo
• So even if you have a paint booth, good
spray gun and an experienced painter, if
too much paint is applied you can have a
There also is the issue of the solvent chosen. If the painter
chooses too fast a solvent you are going to have problems.
The biggest problem is the painter’s unwillingness
to change, to do things the old way. You have atmospheric
changes depending on the season and you must adjust the
solvents. In the fall things dry too slowly and in the spring
is when you see solvent popping occur.
• I have heard that shop owners tell their
painters “don’t buy anymore solvent until you
use up what we have got in inventory.”
Is that a problem?
As mentioned, there is a variety of solvents in every paint
product. That means there will be a variety of evaporation
rates in the solvents used to manufacture the paint. If
the painter uses a fast reducer that does not mean that all
the solvent in the paint would be “fast evaporating.” There
also could be some slow evaporating solvent as well. As the
temperature increases, if you continue to add fast solvent
the top of the paint will form a film or skin over which
traps the slow evaporating solvent, and eventually you will
get solvent popping as this solvent tries to get out.
• Are paint companies trying to develop
products to reach the correct flow to avoid
Yes! If the paint has to do things to adjust for poor chemistry
then there is trouble. Paint companies need to put out “idiot-proof
” paint, so to speak.
• Until those products come along what can
the painter do to prevent problems?
The paint shops and detailers should purchase the “solvent
package” that is designed for the paint. For example,
when we talk about a clear-coat we mean ready-to-spray.
Everything is there, paint, reducer, etc. We have designed
a package and have tested it in a variety of situations. We
know it works, if you use all the parts. Unfortunately, some
shop owners, in an effort to save money, will buy cheap
paint and cheap solvents. Some will buy good paint and
• You hear painters complain about the
quality of the paint. For example, “the car
was perfect last night but when I came in
this morning the hood, roof and deck were all
bubbled over.” What is this all about?
This was a problem with air dry lacquer primers and sealers,
but we don’t use these any longer. It can still occur,
however, where there is super high humidity, like in the
Southeast Coastal area in the late summer. What happens
here is the painter uses slow solvents because it is hot, but
with the humidity so high the solvents are even slower and
won’t come out. Then you have heat speeding up the cross
24 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | VOL. 5, NO. 4 • WINTER 2020
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Alan Read is one of
those guys who is living
his best life. Retirement
for him includes white sandy
beaches, ocean waves, palm trees, dancing,
tennis, and some of the most delicious
food in all of Mexico. If anyone follows
him on Facebook, they might think, “This
guy…. has it made.” And who wouldn’t?
Living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, is
nothing short of paradise. But, for Alan
Read, he damn well earned and deserves
it. As a veteran, he gave up years of his life
to serve and protect our country. He then
went on to work tirelessly — day in and
day out — in the detailing industry and
is even responsible for leading the first-ever
professional detailing association. He
then worked with non-profit agencies, advocating
for abused and neglected homeless
men and women. Now, even with the
luxuries of utopia at his fingertips, he still
spends countless hours each week volunteering.
When I told him I wanted to write
about him for this very cover story, he said
he was more than appreciative, but also
made sure to share in the honor. “[I was
truly] blessed to be a
part of an industry full
of really great people,”
In early 2020, when I met Alan,
my family and I were vacationing in Mexico.
He took the time to meet my family
and show us around, even volunteering to
carry my son on his soldiers, a fete made
even more impressive considering he has
an unwavering injury due to his tennis career
and his military training. He proudly
showed us his surroundings. It was full of
fiestas, delicious food, real fresh seafood
and paradisical relaxation. But even our
first meet-up was cut short as he had to
head off to volunteer at a nearby escuela.
“I would love for you to meet some of
these children,” said Alan. “They have really
changed my life. I feel lucky to be here
but even more lucky that I get to volunteer
here and make a difference.” That is
Alan in a nutshell. A dedicated worker at
heart, and that heart is made of true gold.
Here is his story.
brav·ery (noun): the quality or state
of having or showing mental or moral
strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty
Alan Read spent most of his life in
Texas as his parents lived in Lubbock
when he was born. “I was never happy
living in Lubbock … and I left after
graduating from high school in 1967, but
came back to attend Texas Tech. [I still]
couldn’t stand living in Lubbock, [so that
is why] I joined the Marine Corps to get
away. That was the best thing I had ever
done up to that time.”
Read joined the United States Marine
Corps (USMC) in 1968. It was a pivotal
year in the Vietnam War and the most
deadly for American soldiers and its allies
with almost 28,000 casualties. But, that
didn’t deter Read. “I trained for combat
for the Vietnam War. I was assigned to
serve as a Civilian Contractor and spent
my time in Vietnam as a Contractor. I received
a special commendation from the
Commandant USMC for my service.”
A day before the signing of the Paris
Peace Accords, Read left Vietnam on
January 26, 1973. He then continued his
service as a Ready Reserve assigned to the
Naval Air Station in Dallas, Texas, until
his discharge in 1974.
“My time in the Marine Corps helped
me to understand that together anything
is possible, it not only taught me how important
teamwork is in combat but how
important teamwork is in civilian life. I
took an oath to protect and defend the
Constitution of the United States and
protect my country from all enemies both
foreign and domestic. I will abide by that
oath forever. Semper Fi is the greeting all
Marines use when we see another Marine.
Forever Faithful, Semper Fi.”
After serving, Read, who was no stranger
to the automobile industry, started his
career in the field of detailing in the 1980s.
Read had grown up in a family that
owned an independent auto repair and
wrecker service. He started working on
cars when he was around 11 years old.
He owned an auto parts store and started
selling a few polishes and waxes to some
local customers. Eventually he started an
Undercoating and Rustproofing business
which lead him to working with paint
sealants, polishes, and waxes.
“The detailing business in the 80s
was mainly small independent detailers
many… doing work for car dealerships.
The retail detailing business was small
locations often with one person, a water
hose and a buffer. Some of these people
were amazing, some were not. At that
point there really wasn’t any consistency
and that was why the industry needed to
This is around the time the first-ever
detailing association came about.
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trail·blaz·er (noun) : one that blazes
a trail to guide others
The Professional Detailing Association
(PDA) got its start as an idea that
“detailing” was a profession and detailers
worldwide deserved the recognition
of being professional, said Read. “The
International Carwash Association had
only recognized detailers as a part of the
car wash industry at that time. Bud Abraham,
Bob Phillips and myself and a few
others in the industry decided to put the
PDA into action.”
Their first meeting was in Las Vegas
recalled Read, and that is where they put
the pieces together. “From there the certification
process developed. The real detailers
worldwide were excited and grateful
to be involved with the PDA.”
Not one to monopolize the spotlight,
Read makes sure that others are noted for
their participation. Along with Bud, and
Bob Phillips, all of the people at that first
meeting were co-pioneers, he said. Read
was named the first president of the PDA,
which he stated was a true honor.
“It was an honor to be selected to lead
the effort to make detailing a recognized
profession. Many of the original people
at the first meeting were my competitors
which made my selection even more special
to me. I actually cried when I was
Read was also working for Auto Magic
around this time. Auto Magic was a small
regional, chemical manufacturer based in
Texas with great products, thanks to its
founder, Paul Miller, according to Read.
“But it had little distribution outside of
Texas. My expertise was in distribution
and marketing so when asked to join Auto
Magic I proceeded to develop distribution
all throughout the United States and
Canada. It was a match made in heaven.
In the four short years I was there, Auto
Magic sales increased 10-fold.”
Auto Magic was an amazing experience,
Read said. He also went on to
consult with Ardex, ECP, Mequiar’s, Autoglymm,
and the Toyota Certified Used
Car Program to name a few.
Eventually, Read left the detailing
industry and started working for a
“My last job before moving to Mexico
was as support staff at a place in the Texas
Hill Country called Enhanced Horizons.
We provided housing, education, work
skills and much more for people aging out
of foster care.”
In October 2016, Read visited Playa
del Carmen for one week and it was love
at first sight.
“I decided to move here in the first 4
hours. I will live here forever.”
zeal·ous (adjective): marked by fervent
partisanship for a person, a cause, or an
ideal : filled with or characterized by zeal
One thing many people might not
know about Read is that he is a tennis
pro, a title that was only made possible
because he does not like to turn down a
dare. “In 1990 my family went on vacation
in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I took the
free tennis lessons offered by the hotel.
The tennis pro, a Jamaican named Roy
Shand, told me in [a Jamaican accent],
‘Man, you are the worst tennis player
I have ever seen.’” Read took that as a
challenge and by the end of the week, he
won the hotel tournament. To go a step
further, Read would travel back to Montego
Bay as often as he could and would
continue to improve. “I hired a coach in
Texas to help me and in five years at the
age of 40 I was #23 in Texas.”
Read said he never made much money
playing but always wanted to be able to
play. “I was injured in 2014 and did not
play until last year in 2019. I played with
some of the top tennis coaches in Playa
del Carmen and after one of our sessions
they asked me to join the coaching staff.
Hopefully when Covid is better we will
start teaching kids again.”
All of Read’s tennis efforts including
lessons and clinics are volunteer-based
because he said he does not want to
get paid to do something he loves.
Like many veterans amongst us, the act
of giving is strong with Read. It is in his
nature, but also part of his day-to-day
life. He also volunteers with kids, teaching
them English, as well as helping adults
in learning to understand and be understood
in English and Spanish.
“I am trying to give back some of the
blessings I have been given,” Read said. “I
have been a very fortunate man; I hope to
help as many people as possible and improve
their lives in some way. My final 10
years working were with nonprofit agencies
helping the abused, neglected, hungry,
and homeless. I do the same now here
in Playa del Carmen.”
Because of Covid, a lot of his volunteer
efforts, as well as his social life, have
been waylaid. But Read is keeping busy
playing golf, and volunteering from afar.
In fact, when interviewing Read, he was
at the store buying Christmas presents
for the kids at the escuelita. He said they
have 96 kids out in the jungle, and many
don’t have a roof over their head, or clean
clothes and only eat one meal a day that
he helps to provide. He recently posted to
his Facebook page, “I understand that my
Mexican friends have had a difficult time
this year, so I want them to be blessed and
take care of their own family. I will make
sure every kid gets a gift. If you can help
me out that would be awesome. If not,
just be blessed.”
And, while Read is enjoying his new
life down in Mexico, it is easy to wonder if
all of the professional detailers out there
realize his efforts to start the first-ever association.
It was decades ago, but today,
as the industry continues to find and gain
more and more respect and admiration, it
is because of people like Read.
“My advice for anyone getting into
the detail business is, plan well, get advice
from people [those who have been doing
it for a while]. Continue to learn and
practice your skills. Something I always
told people is, ‘Don’t practice on a customer’s
vehicle, practice on your own.’”
Read makes sure to once again acknowledge
the industry as a whole
when answering what it is he enjoyed
about his detailing career. “The detailing
industry was a big part of my life,”
he said. “I am glad I got to be a part
of it and honored to be interviewed.”
And, with that Read goes back to his daily
life in Mexico, buying gifts for those
in need, while miles and miles away in
the United States, a country he served
to protect, is bustling with successful detailers
participating in a profession he
helped to authenticate. A true hero, and
28 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | VOL. 5, NO. 4 • WINTER 2020
Ed Terwilliger is a humble man. He is sort
of a mix between Mr. Chipping in Goodbye,
Mr. Chips and Paul Newman especially
concerning his extracurricular activities
resume. But, more on that second
part later. The humble part of Terwilliger’s
persona is one I experienced firsthand.
It was at a Mobile Tech Expo a few years
back. It was an IDA seminar and the room
was packed. I stood in the back as a panel
of detailing professionals spoke about the
call for professionalism and respect in the
industry. I noticed another person standing
in the back with me. He kept quiet,
but soon offered up his thoughts on how
detailers can find high-quality employees.
He spoke about trade schools and the dedicated
students therein. After the seminar,
he disappeared into the crowd. A year later,
at the next Mobile Tech Expo he stood
on a crowded stage, being inducted into
the IDA’s newly established IDA Hall of
Fame. “The following individuals were
nominated by their
peers and inducted
for their significant
and lasting contributions
to the professional
detailing industry in the areas
of Innovation, Advancement, Education,
and Leadership,” stated the IDA. Terwilliger
received a buoyant round of applause.
Afterwards, I asked him if I could
interview him for this magazine. Sure,
that would be great, he said. His modesty
and quiet unpretentiousness were once
again noticeable. Here is the IDA’s writeup
Ed Terwilliger has been a passionate
promoter of detailing since the late
1960s. He began his professional career
teaching Industrial Art at Buena
Park High School in Buena Park, California,
in January of 1971 after getting
his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Arts
from California State University, Long
Beach. Ed was instrumental
the core curriculum for
detailing for the North
Orange County Community
In 1988. After teaching Auto
Detailing at the High School at
night, Ed expanded the curriculum from
Buena Park and began teaching Auto
Detailing on campus at Cypress College
in Cypress, California., in 2000.
Ed has been a member of the International
Detailing Association since its
inception. He was a member of the PDA
(Professional Detailing Association) and
the NAPDR (National Association of
Professional Detailers and Reconditioning),
which both preceded the IDA. He
was also a founding member of the SCP-
DA (Southern California Professional
Besides being a member of the IDA,
he has his CD (Certified Detailer), SV
(Skills Validated), and is an active RT
(Recognized Trainer) for the IDA.
As an Instructor for high school, college,
and as an RT for the IDA, Ed has
been responsible for countless people getting
their detailing start through his classes.
He is also a regularly featured speaker
at many detailing tradeshows and events.
He has been a featured guest on the TV
Show Car Care, for Autogeek’s Competition
Ready series hosted by Mike Philips,
CD-SV, RT, on the Velocity Channel.
Ed organizes and regularly hosts detailing
meet and greets for the IDA, which
has had a great impact on recruiting new
IDA members and getting detailers to
sign-up for CD and SV certification.
Ed has spent his entire adult life as
a “Car Guy” in the detailing and auto
appearance industry. He is a passionate
and dedicated ambassador for the IDA
As for the Paul Newman reference, it
appears that Terwilliger is a bit of an athlete,
hobby aficionado, and maybe even a
little bit daredevil. From being a competitive
VOL. 5, NO.4 • WINTER 2020 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | 29
water skier, to loving to ride, fix or beautify
anything with a motor, Tewilliger does not
like sitting still. In fact, when I called him the
first time for this interview, he had just gotten
back from riding vehicles in the Moab
Desert with a few other legendary detailers.
Just another day in Ed’s world.
However, even with a busy schedule,
a loving relationship with his wife, his
daughter and grandchildren, Terwilliger
also has a love for his career as a teacher.
He has been teaching for over 50 years
and has a passion for his students and
their pursuit to be well-respected detailers.
Between teaching, being a devoted
husband, and competing on water skis he
found the time to talk to me.
Here is his story.
mental and emotional strength in
facing difficulty, adversity, danger,
or temptation courageously.
I was a car guy from a very young age,
said Terwilliger. “I started drawing pictures
of futuristic cars when I was very young.
And then in junior high, if not earlier, I was
building model cars. My dad was a bit of
a home-based mechanic so I would help
him with oil changes and brake jobs. Then
in high school I got a job at a gas station/
mechanic shop. I worked for them for three
years. I was doing everything from pumping
gas to working in the lube rack to brake jobs.
I’ve always been hands-on with cars.”
Terwilliger also had a buddy from elementary
school and they would go to car
shows in the 1950s with his father. It was
mostly hot rods and roadsters.
It was a few years later in Junior High
he found that he liked helping out other students
in the Industrial Arts program. It was
also around that time that he decided he
wanted to be a drafting teacher. “I became a
teacher’s assistant in 7th and 8th grade and
that followed me all the way into college.”
“In junior high I made the decision
that I wanted to be a drafting teacher.
And that stayed with me, basically into
college.” he said.
It wasn’t until he was around 16 that
he had his first detailing customer. That
customer would prove to be his first taste
It was a 1965 Lincoln Continental and
his friend’s father made it very clear that
he only wanted him to use Simoniz. So,
Terwilliger did as he was told. The first
time, that is. Satisfied with his work, the
father asked him again for another detailing.
This time, Terwilliger used Turtle
Wax. “He didn’t like that,” he shared. “I
pay you to Simoniz my car. That was the
last time I worked on his car. I said I was
sorry. I didn’t realize it was that important
to him. But, it didn’t stop me. Most things
roll off my back like water on a duck and
I didn’t let it get to me.”
Terwilliger eventually went on to college,
graduating in June of 1970 with a
BA, studying Industrial Arts and did his
student teaching the following Fall. He also
started detailing and painting cars on the
side when he got out of college and started
teaching at Buena Park High School in
January of 1971. Around the early 70s he
got into more serious detailing.
“Back in the day you had a can of wax,
a garden hose, and bucket. Then, in the
early 70s, I could run a High Speed polisher
or buffer. When Rupes and Flex came
out with their more powerful machines a
few years ago, they really revolutionized
the industry. Now, all of those guys who
were afraid of a rotary polisher could now
pick up a machine and polish paint and
get some results without the fear of cutting
or burning through the paint. Along with
pads and chemicals — detailing has come
a long way since I started out.”
following a line of conduct as
though it were a profession.
Being a teacher was always a dream
of Terwilliger’s. He taught at Buena Park
High School, where he started the first
vocational detailing program in 1988
through the Community College district,
starting at night at the High School as a
Satellite location and later moving on
Campus at Cypress College around 2000.
Over the years he has taught over
18,000 students. “I developed great
friendships with some of my students going
back to the early 70s to today. I have
always liked helping people,” Terwilliger
shared. “The other thing is that I wanted
three months off so that I could ‘play’.”
One of Terwilliger’s goals as a teacher
has been to “professionalize” the detailing
industry. The trade needs to be respected in
the automotive world. “I have been working
for 32 years trying to professionalize the industry.
I think that is because I am a professional.
As an educator and in anything I do
I take it from a professional point of view.”
Around 1990 in Southern California
Terwilliger and five of his college students
started the Southern California Professional
Detail Association. It lasted for
about 6 years and had an average attendance
of 30 to 40 people at each monthly
dinner meeting. “It was very active, but
folded because I could not get any detailers
to take over the board. “We covered
everything. We had Ron Ketchum, who
at that time was working for Finish Kare,
which was owned by Floyd Meguiar, and
he was very well connected with the automotive
industry at the manufacturer’s level
— so he brought in paint technicians,
updates from GM and Ford on a regular
basis. We had equipment people come
in and push their wares, we had product
manufactures come in — there was always
something every month. There was
always a speaker of some type.”
A year or two after the International
Detailing Association started, Terwilliger
joined because he wanted to support any
detailing organization which supports
and enhances the industry. “There have
been a lot that have come and gone and I
have been a part of all of them.”
Now, Terwilliger’s plaque hangs in the
IDA’s Hall of Fame amongst four other
Today, he teaches at Cypress College,
an academic and vocational college in
Cypress, California. He currently teaches
Beginning Auto Detailing and Car Care
and Advanced Automotive Detailing.
The Advanced class has a lab every night.
The beginning class has a couple hours of
lecture and then a lab.
“Teaching has been important to me.
I have always been a teacher. I’ve been
teaching just over 50 years.. One of the
things that has impressed me the most
over the years is that the detailing industry
is now a professional industry. That was a
goal of mine since I started my program
back in 1988.”
One of the things he admired at the
30 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS | VOL. 5, NO. 4 • WINTER 2020
2020 Mobile Tech Expo was the determination
of the attendees. “These people
are taking their jobs very seriously. Investing
money. Investing in their education
through the seminars. Tools and products
have also been impressive, but I am so
impressed with how driven the detailers
are. The comradery and networking are
also great to see. Everyone is sharing their
ideas and trying to help each other.”
Terwilliger advice for others looking to
get into the industry is to make sure you
like it first. “Doing what I do is a passion.
I have a passion for the industry. I advise
others to try it out as a hobby. If they like
it, then pursue it professionally.”
de·vot·ed (adjective): zealous or ardent
in attachment, loyalty, or affection.
Terwilliger has been married for 50
years to his wife Rickeylynne. The secret
to their long-lasting marriage? No arguing.
“My wife always says, ‘I might not
always be right, but I am never wrong.’”
In fact, during this interview, you can hear
Rickeylynne encouraging her husband to
share parts of his professional resume and
accomplishments. She also laughed when
I asked him what it is he likes to do outside
of work. Why the laughter? Because,
according to Rickeylynne, this part of the
interview will take a while.
A surprise to many might be that Terwilliger
is a competitive water skier. He skis
three days a week for eight months a year.
During those other four months he snow
skis. When he is not doing some form of
skiing, he is off-roading, golfing, traveling,
boating, racing and working on cars.
One of his great passions is the working
on cars part. “I have a partner and
we work on Mustangs, and racecars. We
have been doing that for 35 years. Building
cars, selling cars, buying cars, fixing
cars. We paid for our racing hobby by
I like anything with a motor, he said.
As for his future, Terwilliger admits he
might hang up his teaching hat next year.
And, not because he is tired, or burnt out,
but because he wants to travel more with
“I am thinking of retiring next year
so that my wife and I can travel. I cannot
do that while teaching. We still travel, but
you cannot stay long because of the classes.
So, if I retire, we can then travel some
place and just stay there for a while. We
are thinking of exploring Wyoming.”
However, he will still be just as busy.
“With my hobbies, and with working on
cars, I will never slow down. As long as I
am physically able, I will always stay busy.”
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VOL. 5, NO. 2 SUMMER 2020