In honor of International Women’s Day, we like to celebrate the women who help make Spiffy a unique disruption in the car care world. We’ve chatted with the exceptional Rachel Pinell, who runs our Dallas-Fort Worth operations. This year, we’re thrilled to virtually sit down with Severnia Wynn, one of our Orlando supervisors, to learn more about her life and experiences managing a growing Spiffy market.
Where did you grow up?
I come from Hawaii. I grew up there, and my mom’s from there. I’ve been gone for years now, but I was out there from when I was little till I graduated high school. Then I moved to Florida.
What compelled the move to Florida?
My kid’s dad, he’s military. And Hawaii is not a cheap place to live. Either you have money, or you don’t. I was in the “don’t.” So we chose to go somewhere where we could afford to live. You have to be able to afford to live in Hawaii because the prices are way higher since it’s an island. Everything is imported.
How long have you been in Florida?
Longer than I’ve lived in Hawaii. It’s been 20 something years now. This is my home now. I’ve lived in Atlanta for like five years, but I couldn’t do it anymore, so I moved back to Florida. I lasted five years out of Orlando, and then I came back. I haven’t seen many places, but I want to be in Florida. I think Orlando is the best area for me.
What do you like to do outside of work that you might bring into the work environment?
Sometimes it’s like I don’t even know what’s outside of Spiffy. [laughs] When the pandemic started, it was pretty rough because we were fighting through to be here. And now, things have been picking up, and I’m Spiffy 100%. So lately, I haven’t done much, hobby-wise.
I graduated with a Master’s in Psychology, so I can use my psychology background here. It teaches you how to work with different personalities and be able to get along and deal with the roughest of attitudes, and still be balanced as a manager - mostly out in the field with technicians or customers.
That’s fascinating. I feel like that psychology background comes in handy with conflict resolution.
Yeah. Sometimes you’ve got newer techs with their hair standing on their head, frustrated because of an issue with a customer. You have to teach them how to bring it back down, so it doesn’t flow over onto the customer. You gotta stay calm out there. In our work, there are going to be people who are never perfectly satisfied. And you just say, “We got this,” and we just keep moving.
Have you always been a Supervisor at Spiffy?
Yes. When I got hired as a Supervisor, I knew that it was a management role. My focus has been on the wash side, the combo technicians mainly.
When did you start?
Back in October 2019 was when I started with Spiffy. Orlando was a satellite at the time until we merged with YLL and became HQ2.
What has that experience been like?
The combo side was pretty busy when we were going through the pandemic. We were doing whatever services we needed to do to stay afloat, so we helped a lot because we had more services in the beginning [of the pandemic] on the oil side. Now that it’s picking up, I mainly focus on the wash side, and Race [Funk, another Orlando supervisor] does the oil side. He focuses on that tech team, and then I focus on the combo team to make sure that all of our services are going well. If I have to step in to assist him with the oil side, I do, but I don’t have to do too much because we do have a great scheduling guy, Austin, who makes it easy for us. So I handle mostly wash and detail services.
Did you bring any car knowledge or background in wash and detail when you started?
Not even a little bit. When I was interviewed, I explained to them that I did not have the background. But, if they gave me the opportunity and trained me, I had management experience to back it up. I’ve been an Assistant GM in transportation where I came from. I’ve had a CDL and strong management background, but not in wash and detail. So what I needed to learn was Spiffy. What are the fine details? How do they do it? Oil changes especially; I knew nothing about that. So they gave me the opportunity, sent me to North Carolina, and I trained. I passed with flying colors, and I’ve been learning and running my department ever since.
That reminds me of one of the key points made during Spiffy training: throw away any knowledge you have about wash and detail and start from scratch.
Right. That made it easy for me because I didn’t know anything, so I was focused on learning. Some people can struggle to let go of what they know. They’ll be like, “Well, I know this, and I know that.” Sometimes you can’t teach that to people because their mindset is hard to break and say, “Okay, this is great, but this is what Spiffy does.” I think it makes it easier to train for people who don’t have that experience because they’re more apt to focus and not say, “That’s not how we do it, this is the way we should do it, but I’ve done it this way.” You just completely focus and learn how Spiffy does it.
Have you had to help any employees break the struggle of clinging to different processes instead of how Spiffy taught them?
Not so much on the wash side, but I’ve seen it on the oil side. I’ve watched people that have come with experiences that didn’t make it because their mindset didn’t change. They didn’t want to switch their style to how we train our Techs. They get in and then get right back out.
I also had one tech that was furloughed, and she was doing high-volume oil changes for fleets before she left. When she came back recently, she went back to doing oil changes with the high-volume method rather than the typical process for regular customers. When you do high-volume, you have to turn the vehicle on because it has to be hot to use the suction. But when you’re doing it under the car, you don’t want that oil hot because it’s going to burn when it comes out. So I had to stop her and say, “Okay, let’s stop and forget about everything and let’s go step by step.” Now, she’s good to go. She could still do high volume, but you just have to change your mindset when you’re doing different services, and she needed to be reminded of that.
The majority of the combo techs that are on my team can also do high volume, so we can do whatever they need us to do at any given time. It’s only a handful of people right now, but we just hired more people and are getting busy. It’s exciting because they get to help us grow.
Has the past year felt isolating to you and your team? We’ve got many cities that are spread out, which can make it tough to feel connected to the whole.
Sometimes you do feel isolated because everything is starting to pick up, and we’re trying to make sure that we bring in business. Orlando was off the charts before the pandemic, we were doing the highest volumes, and it was really exciting. Now that the pandemic is calming down, our numbers aren’t as high as other cities. We’re very competitive here, so we want that attention and more business because we want our numbers to go up. It is going up; we’re watching the numbers change now. They’re not as high as we want them to be. We look at the numbers every day because we want to keep growing and earn the title of HQ2 for Orlando.
What kind of support have you, and the whole Orlando team, received from the leadership team?
I think that the management team is battling for us. I just think that there’s so much going on and so much growth at one time because they just keep expanding. I’ve never seen a company move the way Spiffy moves. I know that they’re trying to amp up our city. My main concern is making sure our clients are happy and meeting our goal of five stars, nothing less. We set ourselves to a high standard. The team that I have, we’re looking for those reviews, and as soon as we see five stars, we’re high-fiving each other. Whatever support that we get, we appreciate. We know management is in the background and that they’re talking about how we’re going to build Orlando. And we’re glad that they’re getting to that point because several months ago, we felt like, “Okay, Orlando’s just here, what are we doing?”
What has been your favorite part of working at Spiffy?
My favorite part is being out and dealing with our customers, growing that relationship. When you go out and don’t have that relationship, it feels a little weird. So when you go out, and they start to know who you are, not just me personally, but my Techs, then they have that relationship.
I do ride alongs with the techs because I want to make sure that they have relationships with customers and they’re showing professionalism and what we promise. That they’re actually getting the work done properly, not taking any shortcuts. Being out there with the customers and growing that relationship is something that we want to keep doing. We want to give them reasons to put that five star and say, “Hey, I’m using this service from now on.” That’s my biggest thing.
It’s hard out there, the work itself is physical, and when we leave, we’re tired. So I don’t go out and say, “Hey, do this, I need this done. How about to go do this?” I get out, and I work with my team. I can’t sit there and just direct. I work with them on a daily basis. If I’m out in that field, I’m in a car; I’m doing something, I’m cleaning. I can do everything my Techs do because I think that the most significant thing is leading by example. I can’t tell my tech something that I think I’m too good to do.
Is there anything else that comes to mind when you think about Spiffy or the past year and a half that stands out as noteworthy or worth sharing?
With Spiffy, I truly appreciate that they allow people to be a part of the company and grow with the company. And especially for women because, as you know, this is a male-dominated field. To be able to be here and show that I have the ability and that the other women who work here have that ability to stand strong and be an asset to the company is a great opportunity. They don’t look at you like, “Okay, well, she’s a female.” When I interviewed, that was one of my biggest issues. I’ve always been in a male-dominated field, even with transportation and using my CDL. I was an Assistant Manager doing that, but it was still a male-dominated field. It’s great to come into a company that doesn’t treat me differently because I’m a woman, that they can see that I have that ability, and they stand by me with my strengths and help me through any weaknesses. Spiffy has been there from the beginning, and I think they are an excellent company to work for. The biggest thing is having management behind you. When you don’t have that, it can make your life very miserable - in any job that you do.
That’s such a great point. It’s a real struggle to get through jobs where all you can do is keep your head down because you don’t feel supported.
There was something that Mike Tolzman [VP of Operations and Training] did when I first started. He would call and check on me and make sure everything was okay. Specifically, he said to me, “Are you still having fun?” And so when he asked me that question, I’m like, “Yes, Mike, I’m still having fun,” no matter how hard the work, no matter what we were dealing with, we were still having fun. So now when he calls me before he can ask me that question, I’m like, “Mike, I’m still having fun!” It’s felt like I’ve always had that support.
And I just love the way that I’m able to call. They told me, “Hey if you need anything, all you have to do is call.” I can call Scot [Wingo, CEO], I can call Mike, and I can even call Karl [Murphy, President], if I need him. I don’t bother Karl, because I know that they’re so busy. But if it’s something that I really need to talk to them about, I will reach out. Just knowing that I have that support is awesome. It’s not in every company that you interview and actually talk to their President. I’ve never done that in any company. Literally interview with the President, the Vice President. Normally companies don’t do that, right? So that stands out; it definitely stands out.
Do you have any 2021 goals that you’re looking to achieve?
Orlando being number one. Our service will push us to number one, and you guys in North Carolina are going to be hearing about Orlando really soon.
I don’t know if you see the numbers, where they break it down on what each city did. When other cities make more than Orlando, they crack jokes on Slack or email, like “Hey, watch out Orlando!” But when Orlando’s numbers are number one, they don’t say anything. [laughs] Right now, San Francisco is the city to beat; their numbers are great.
Obviously, we want everybody’s numbers to grow because the more we grow, the better it is for all of us. But we’re competitive over here. We want to be number one. So our goal is to outdo San Francisco and every single city out there making that money.
I’m here for it, team Orlando all the way!
Thank you again to Severnia for chatting with us about her experience leading the Orlando team; it’s an honor to have you guiding the way in the Sunshine State. Your energy is truly infectious!
Do you or someone you know have what it takes to be a part of our Technician team? Check out our careers page to learn more about joining the Spiffy family today!
Posted in Technician