Anyone who knows Carina Spurlock would agree that she has a passion for cars. When she’s not expressing that passion as the General Manager of Mister Car Wash in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, you might find her under the hood of her 1990 Nissan 240sx. Carina says she feels accomplished knowing her engine is mechanically sound and that she’s kept it that way herself.
That rewarding feeling is similar to the one she gets every time a Mister Car Wash customer drives away with a smile behind the wheel and a bumper-to-bumper shine.
A native of Des Moines, Washington, this car buff began her career with Mister Car Wash in 2014 as a tech/customer service advisor of the Minnesota Mister Express Lube locations. With her positive attitude, she stood out as someone who wasn’t afraid to work hard to get the job done. Her dedicated work ethic and willingness to learn helped move Spurlock through the ranks quickly to lube general manager.
But that was only the beginning. In just a few short years, despite her young age, Spurlock would be noted for her excellent grasp of managing a successful car wash business.
When Mister Car Wash first approached Spurlock about a potential promotion into the car wash side of the business, Spurlock was a bit apprehensive about leaving the position she knew and loved — and was darn good at. Nevertheless, she accepted the manager in training role and made it immediately obvious that she was a great fit. Soon after, she was promoted to site manager in Brooklyn Park, a stepping stone to her current position as general manager in Cottage Grove.
Along Spurlock’s journey, she says she has had the pleasure of meeting and working with many people, each of whom she has learned something valuable from. She feels indebted to Mister Car Wash for recognizing her hard work and dedication and believing in her ability to grow. Of all the positions that tested her skills, Spurlock admits she enjoys being a general manager most. She feels proud that her employees find her approachable and is equally inspired by the opportunities she’s given daily to build trust and satisfaction with her customers.
“The upbeat personality that everyone has in our business is great. It truly makes for a great work environment and an enjoyable experience every day,” said Spurlock. “There is not one day when I wake up and get ready for work that I am not excited.”
It is quite evident that Spurlock is making good use of her on-the-job education. As she reflects, “I am very ambitious and have learned so much about myself and others through the years with working for Mister Car Wash. It always amazes me to see how I am different now as a person simply from all of the management experience and time I have under my belt. I enjoy seeing the growth and maturity within myself.”
In between managing the car wash and working on her car, Spurlock is focused on finishing her associate’s degree. She is grateful for being a recipient of one of the many $1,000 scholarships Mister Car Wash grants deserving employees every year. She applied her Mister Car Wash scholarship toward her tuition at Inver Hills Community College. “I hope to gain more managerial and communication skills to improve how I communicate effectively with my team as well as my customers to ultimately take on a bigger and busier location with confidence” she explained. “Maybe one day I may even have the opportunity to become a regional manager.”
As any good career coach will tell you, climbing the ladder of success requires setting lofty goals as well as having someone at the top of the ladder cheering you on. Spurlock has many such cheerleaders at Mister Car Wash, among them her division manager Tim Vaughn. As Tim says, “Carina is a breath of fresh air and an inspiration to everyone with a desire to get better every day. She’s always trying to do things the right way and wants to bring others along with her. If she continues to push, she will continue to grow and move up into greater roles that can benefit our company. Just look at what she’s done in the short time she’s been with us.”
Spurlock hopes that her sense of urgency and drive will allow her to reach her current goal and beyond. If her manager’s words ring true, that’s far from a pipe dream. Spurlock has proven she has what it takes to excel along with an employer whose growth plan has no end in sight. With 235+ stores and counting, Mister Car Wash will no doubt continue to create rewarding career paths for the car wash industry’s best and brightest.