Sue Chappell

MacNeil Wash Systems

Sue Chapppell is the marketing manager for MacNeil Wash Systems, a leading full-service fluids and systems provider to the vehicle care industry and division of National Car Wash. She has held several management positions over the course of her career in a variety of sectors from agriculture to national retail, and prior to MacNeil had spent 10 years in the marine industry.

Getting into the car wash industry was a lucky accident. Sue accepted the position at MacNeil in 2011, looking forward to working for a Canadian manufacturer. She soon discovered how extensive and exciting the carwash industry was.

She's had several notable moments throughout her career in this industry, but the highest honour so far has been sharing her experience as a woman in the carwash business. Having worked in primarily male-dominated workplaces, this was the first opportunity Sue had to promote, educate and mentor fellow women actively. She was very proud to have been a panel member at the 2018 Southwest Car Wash Association's Women in Carwashing Seminar.

"Women bring many unique, valuable skills and character traits to the workplace. In the past, the industry was very hands-on, labour and maintenance intensive, which was discouraging for many women. Today's computerized, high-tech equipment is well-engineered, so they need not feel intimidated by the mechanics. There's a lot of opportunity and room for advancement as managers and owner/operators, and it can be a wonderful career for women," says Sue.

Sue speculates that if she knew years ago how lucrative and satisfying owning a car wash would be she would have invested in the express tunnel car wash model, and either owned a chain of washes or a marketing firm that specialized in the car wash industry by now!

Her biggest challenge has been learning all the technical aspects of the business - types of car washes, equipment specifications, chemicals, water reclaim systems, etc. "It's much more sophisticated, computerized, and better engineered than I ever expected," she says.

Sue sees lots of opportunity for growth, especially in the Canadian market, and plans to stay on at MacNeil to continue connecting with the wonderful people that make up this business. When it comes down to it, this is a people business and, Sue says she has met some of the best people she has ever had the privilege to be in business with, in the carwash industry.