Claudia Moldovan Crea, president/CEO of Qual Chem, earned undergraduate degrees in chemistry and finance at Ohio University before jumping full-steam-ahead into the car wash business. With family ties to the business since the early 1980s, it made all the sense in the world. From operating car washes to starting Qual Chem, she has seen all sides of the industry. She recently took time to answer a few questions for CAR WASH Magazine.
Q: What energizes you about this industry? What keeps you comingback every day?
I love all the wonderful people I have met and relationships I have been fortunate to build over the years. Although the industry is growing, it stills feels like such a tight-knit group. For those outside the industry, it’s hard to understand the complexity of the car wash business, but there are truly so many things that go into a car wash. I love the diversity and being able to come to work everyday to build something new, whether it be innovations or sometimes challenges. It’s always exciting!
Q: What are you watching right now in the chemistry world?
I think safety is going to become more and more important. Both from municipalities and state organizations making changes as to what types of chemicals they will allow, and operators choosing to make safer choices for their employees. In addition, as more municipalities will require reclaim systems for water conservation, the makeup of the chemistry and how it will react and biodegrade in the reclaim systems will become increasingly important.
“Safety is going to become more and more important. Both from municipalities and state organizations making changes as to what types of chemicals they will allow, and operators choosing to make safer choices for their employees.”
Q: In terms of chemistry, where are we headed as an industry?
Safer, more environmentally friendly chemistry will definitely become more of a focus in the coming years. I also believe super concentrates will become increasingly popular in order to cut down on package waste and shipping cost. From a formulation standpoint, for new innovations we will most like continue to see more products that provide a protective coating to the surface of the vehicle. These products will aid in drying and provide a glossier, deeper shine, as well as potentially help to repel dirt and make cleaning easier.
Q: What do you think people should know about the ICA Board of Directors?
I feel very honored to be on the board with what I feel is an amazing group of industry leaders. The board members are donating their time and work very hard to improve the industry and provide education and resources to the owners and operators in the industry.
Q: What work is ICA doing that you are most excited about?
I’m very excited to see ICA grow internationally. The world is getting smaller and smaller and there is a wealth of knowledge to be tapped into from operators outside the U.S. Growing internationally as an organization will be beneficial not only for the up-and-coming organizations in emerging markets, but for our U.S. membership and expansion of our knowledge base.
Q: You’re a wine enthusiast, what’s your go-to bottle?
My husband Sam and I have become wine lovers over the course of our relationship. And being a lover of all types of wine, I have to say that is a very difficult question. I could narrow it down to a varietal more than a specific bottle and say my go to is usually a pinot noir. Pinots can be so complex and diverse that I think you can find a pinot for every mood, from light and earthy to big and bold.
Q: What do you do when you’re not “on the clock”?
Sam and I love to cook and enjoy wine together and with our family and friends. We love hiking with our two canine sons Zar and Brisco, skiing and traveling.