This past week we started our first Veterans Day Blog Series where we had the opportunity to interview entrepreneur veterans local to Raleigh-Durham, NC. It has been enlightening, educational, and rewarding to learn about their experiences and we are grateful that these veterans (and all veterans) served our country.
We have mentioned that Spiffy is a veteran owned company, and this is something that we here at Spiffy take pride in. To finish off our series, we will share our President’s interview.
Please welcome our own Karl Murphy, Spiffy’s Co-Founder and President.
Q: Will you introduce yourself, your company, and your military service experience?
A: I'm the President and Co-Founder of Spiffy.
I served in the 82d Airborne division as an infantry officer for 5 years to include an 8 month "de"tour through Saudi Arabia and Iraq in 1990-91.
Q: What makes your business unique?
A: Spiffy the brand is like Starbucks for car washing. Spiffy the operation will disrupt old school car washing much like Amazon is disrupting old school retail. To the consumer, Spiffy is 10x more convenient than going to an old school car wash. The process takes 2 minutes vs. 20 minutes of your time.
Q: How do you think your experience in the military plays a role in how you run your business?
A: In the army your first job at 21 yrs old is managing 5 direct reports and 40 soldiers and it doubles in size about every 2-3 years.
You become very comfortable with a lot of moving pieces all over the place - cars, trucks, people, planes, stuff blowing up....
At Spiffy we have 70+ trucks and 100+ technicians across the country and I am very at ease with all the moving parts. The stuff I did in the Army at 22-25 will be harder than Spiffy at 10x the size for a bunch of reasons.
Q: What was your transition like from the military to the corporate world? What challenges did you have to overcome?
A: The military to civilian transition for me was pretty hard. I went into technology sales. In the Army if I asked to see someone they would see me. No questions asked.
As a sales person I very quickly became aware of the fact that I was no longer the "officer in charge." The incredibly difficult task of prospecting was a hard adjustment. Not the actual work but the brutal math of making 100 calls and getting one meeting then getting rescheduled 3 times..... It took me a few years to figure out how to translate my personal and professional skills into successful sales skills. The big switch was when I stopped taking the objective math personally and I began to treat it like a daily goal.
Q: What's your dream car?
A: Dream car? Hmmm...I'm really not a car guy which is sorta funny considering.. though I do have a dream bike.....a custom, hand crafted titanium road bike with Italian components (gears and brakes)....I have been drooling over a kish bike... California style, made in North Carolina and harder than steel...what else could a man want!
Q: Anything else you'd like to share?
A: I stand for the national anthem and shed a small tear when others don't. Every Veteran's Day I contemplate the 1% of us who have carried a rifle for our country juxtaposed to all the strife among left, right and center, the folks taking a knee because America to them isn't as fair or just or good.
I wish more people served. I think there would be more Americans who see the world through a different and, in my personal opinion, a more unifying lense. Men and women in foxholes tend to have a laser focus on the task at hand. They tend to come home with a more intense appreciation for how special our country is.
Thank you Karl for your inspirational words and sharing your experience. And thank you to all the veterans, active men and women in the military, people fighting for our country in the US or overseas. It has been an honor to conduct this Veterans Day Blog Series, we look forward to next year.
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