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contents FEATURES

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Enterprising Vets:

Searching Outside the Box:

Un-American Graffiti:

For decades, Army aviation/forensics experts Jim McDonough and John Cappadoro served our country in combat. Now they serve the residents of Enterprise and Dothan, Alabama as one of the most successful small-market pressure wash companies in the U.S.

Finding good employees is the biggest task pressure wash operators face. Here are some fresh approaches, unexpected avenues, and/or off-the-radar places to possibly find new talent.

One Canadian pressure washer turns a moment of inspiration in to a worldwide movement removing hate speech.

DEPARTMENTS 4 Editor’s Letter

16 Guest Column:

Innovation that Inspires

Dare to Think Differently by Dr. Colby Jubenville

14 Contents under Pressure: A pop culture-inspired look at the pressure wash industry: Pressure Wash “Porn?”

Vol. 1, No. 2, Spring 2019 Publisher: Jackson Vahaly Editor: Drew Ruble Design: Katy Barrett-Alley

Pressure Wash News is published 4 times per year and is independently owned by Jackson Vahaly. All inquiries should be directed to: Pressure Wash News, 110 Childs Ln. Franklin, TN 37067 jacksonv@pressurewashnews.com Copyright © 2019 2 Dollar Enterprises/Pressure Wash News. All Rights Reserved.

VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS |

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EDITOR’S NOTE

Innovation that Inspires Where does innovation in a field like pressure washing come from? Generally speaking, operators identify (or stumble upon) a deficiency or an opportunity in the field, then seek to fulfill it by sending word up the supply and distribution chain to manufacturers about the need for a new product or process. Resulting innovations generally improve production, allowing operators to get more work done in a shorter period of time and therefore to make a better profit. After all, you can only work so hard and for so many hours. The pressure wash industry has certainly innovated through the years. The rotating nozzle revolutionized the industry. Next was the surface cleaner, which still needs an operator, but moved the industry forward. New, powerful, outdoor surface pressure washers featuring self-contained, rider-on systems that are both environmentally friendly while being an aggressive outdoor surface maintenance solutions are an exciting recent innovation. And ever-greater use of remote-controlled, tethered robots, especially to limit the exposure of operators to danger like heights or chemicals, represents important innovation in the industry. Generally speaking, though, (and all the while acknowledging companies like Hydra-Flex mentioned in my last editor’s

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letter, which is built on innovation), there is not a lot of innovation going on in the pressure wash space. Meanwhile, there probably are a lot of things that could be done to make the end-users’ job much easier. There’s certainly a market for innovation at every level. The opportunity is there. But far too often, it’s just not being addressed. Much of the reason for this points to cost. Another explanation is that manufacturers have gotten so big through the years and through successive buyouts that useful feedback doesn’t get fed back up through the chain as fuel for innovation as easily as it did in the past. Most innovation, these days, in fact, probably occurs at the user level, where operators are always customizing to meet the needs of their customers. Necessity breeds invention for these craftsmen. Innovation is also key from a pure psychological standpoint. Operators need a steady flow of new product options that they can get excited about and be inspired by. Think of the golf industry, where companies and their engineering teams are constantly developing and bringing to market new clubs that send the ball flying farther, straighter, and with less effort. Such products rejuvenate our love of the game. It gives us

| PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019

hope and a competitive advantage. We eagerly await the next great innovation in golf that will help us play better and love the game even more. It’s no different for pressure washers. When new products and processes come out, people get excited about it. They fall in love with their businesses again. Innovation, then, plays a crucial role in keeping people engaged. It inspires people to stay on the industry cuttingedge, looking forward with hope. Perhaps more concerning, innovation on a grander scale, even a philosophical one, isn’t occurring at a rapid rate in the industry either. The smartphone and self-driving cars were once the stuff of science-fiction. What might be the future in the pressure wash industry that seems like science fiction now? In a word, it’s probably water. Or, more specifically, the lack of it. As one industry insider explained to me recently, water is the most precious commodity on the Earth. All the fresh water on the earth is all that we have. We’re not going to find any to transport from Mars. There aren’t gigantic ice asteroids crashing into our atmosphere. The water we have is the water we have. Meanwhile, the Earth’s population doubled between 1959 and 1999. Rivers

and reservoirs are lower than ever. It’s not going to take long before governments step in and deem that sustaining life is way more important than cleaning buildings with water. And, in fact, in many areas of the country, water restrictions or strict water runoff laws aimed at curbing the overuse of water are already securely in place. The time is coming when the “old school” way of washing using copious amounts of water (or water at all) will have to change. It’s going to require a hell of an innovation to find a different product or process to use. What is it? I am sure everyone knows about all the “waterless” washing products that are on the market now. New technology in steam machines has made it useful on exterior cleaning jobs -- not just interior. Combined with new, polymer-type wash products, a new wave of waterless washing is on the near horizon. Here’s the point in all of this. Whether big and philosophical or small and incremental in nature, innovation is necessary in any industry that expects to survive and thrive. We should all agree that innovation should always be a top priority of the industry.


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Enterprising Vets For decades, Army aviation/forensics experts Jim McDonough and John Cappadoro served our country in combat. Now they serve the residents of Enterprise and Dothan, Alabama as one of the most successful small-market pressure wash companies in the U.S. BY DREW RUBLE

Forty percent of aircraft shot down in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom fell to Rocket Propelled Grenades, with another 20-plus percent to small arms fire. Such ambushes took down Army Chinooks, Black Hawks, Apaches, and Kiowa Warriors, a Marine Cobra, and an Air Force MH-53 Pave Low across Iraq and Afghanistan. The Ar my’s Aircraft ShootDown Assessment Team (ASDAT) identified the weapons used by insurgents to take down these aircraft, enabling commanders and Army senior leadership to develop tactical

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and material solutions for reducing or mitigating the threat in future combat operations. The team’s forensics work was the key to driving improvements in the development of survivability equipment. The ASDAT formed at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where the Army trains aviation officers in the art and science of electronic warfare and enemy threat weapons systems. In 2008, two longtime Army vets, Jim McDonough and John Cappadoro, were recruited into ASDAT as aviation combat forensics officers. For a period of time as ASDAT

| PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019

members, McDonough and Cappadoro were a part of investigation teams doing forensic work virtually anywhere in the world that a U.S. helicopter went down. In all, McDonough served for 22 years across the world in the Army. During the course of his career, he served 15 of those 22 years in Air Cavalry Squadrons and Attack Helicopter Battalions. He was stationed at Fort Rucker, Fort Bragg, Fort Stewart, and overseas in South Korea, Alaska, Egypt, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He served as a Tactical Operations Officer, Standardization Instructor Pilot, Instrument Flight Examiner,

Master Gunner, and Aviation Combat Forensics Officer. Awards include a Combat Action Badge, Master Aviator Badge, Airborne Badge, Bronze Star, Air Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal. Cappadoro proudly served in the US Army more than 20 years as a Chief Warrant Officer 4. He retired in 2012 as a Master Aviator. He served in multiple tours in countries like Honduras, Egypt, Germany, Iraq, and Afghanistan. During his time overseas, he flew UH-1 Iroquois (Huey’s) and UH-60 Blackhawks. He also served as an Instructor Pilot, Flight Operations Officer, and Tactical Operations Officer.


While serving together on the Aircraft Shoot-Down Assessment Team, McDonough and Cappadoro became great friends. Even before retiring from the military, they agreed to become business partners in retirement, mapping out a plan for a lawn care and interior cleaning company in Enterprise, Alabama, not far from where they had trained in Army aircraft operations. They would eventually shed the lawn care business and enter the pressure washing space, among other lines of business. Today, the company is called Veterans Cleaning Solutions and is -- pound for pound -- one of the most successful small market businesses in the pressure wash industry. The company is a virtual poster child for how to build a wildly successful pressure wash operation in a sparsely populated area and with more expansion on the horizon. But the road the two veterans’ traveled to success in exterior cleaning wasn’t a smooth one, to say the least.

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RETURNING TO THEIR ROOTS McDonough says the military – its processes and disciplines – really becomes part of your DNA. What the military teaches first and foremost, he said, is discipline. And discipline, McDonough said, is, unfortunately, one of the words and actions that too few entrepreneurs have in their vocabulary and behavior, and which they need to truly experience business success. “It’s kind of a mentality that you don’t deserve anything, that you have to earn it, and that you have to earn it every day,” McDonough said. “You have to earn the respect of the people inside the business doors, meaning your team members, and you also have to earn the respect outside the doors, with the customer base, as an entrepreneur, and as the owner. “You have to prove yourself to everyone, every day…So the values of who you are as an individual directly

| PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019

Jim McDonough credits his employees with the success of his business. Pictured here are: (front row, L. to R.) Valerie Krist, Megan Coakley, Brooklyn Kersey, Chariti Holler , Yolanda Austin, and Kelley Massingil; (2nd row, seated, L. to R.) co-founder  John Cappadoro and McDonough; (back row, L. to R.) and Robert Green, Matt Bell, Mark Krystyn, Donnie Uptain and Frank Dieckow.

translate to the quality of work you do, the quality of workers you will have working for you and that you can attract, and the quality of customer you are working for and attract. Because you attract who you are.” Discipline was no doubt a key to McDonough’s ascendance while in the military. He started out in a field artillery position in an aviation platform completing tasks like navigating an attack helicopter team to specific battlefield positions. Then in 1994, he went to flight school and become a warrant officer flying Kiowa Warriors and the like. Years later in 2008, he returned from Iraq and was recruited for the aforementioned ASDAT squadron, focused on forensics work with threat weapons and or their effects to U.S. platforms. “So my life cycle in the military

was learn how to fly, basically, and the modern, fluid battlefield, and then turn light-attack and armed-reconnaissance aviator, and then, at the very end, I was dealing with intentional shoot-down of our platforms, doing the forensics work and the reverse engineering -- so we could figure out a material or non-material solution to reducing the risk of loss of life or loss of platform,” he summarized. McDonough and Cappadoro took a disciplined approach to mapping out their future retirement plans as well. Two years before retiring from the military, in 2010, the two men had already started having conversations about opening their planned dualpronged service company. “It was one of those typical things with two blue collar guys over a couple continued ...


Enterprising

VETS

of beers and using a napkin hashing out a business plan where we have the same client space and service them on the outside and service them on the inside,” McDonough said. T h e i r t a r g e t m a rk e t w a s Enterprise, Alabama, a town of only about 25,000 people. “So we looked at what our income goal needed to be and we weren’t going to be able to do it with just a lawn care company or with a standalone carpet cleaning company, so we combined the two services together, have the same client base, a single marketing push, all at once being able to do multiple things based on trust -- that was our concept,” he said. They earned their first dollar with the business in July, 2011. In 2015, well after retirement from the armed services, they dropped the lawn service and picked up a roof and exterior cleaning division, renaming the company to Veterans Cleaning Solutions. “Our evolution to pressure washing came from a lot of requests from our clients,” McDonough said. “They loved us on the lawns, and they loved us inside, and we got multiple requests for other services. But the one that kept coming up all the time was house washing. So we started a pressure washing division.” So they started exterior cleaning and became a wild success by leaning on their military experience and discipline right? Wrong. Quite by contrast, they started out running the business in a highly undisciplined way, amassed a bunch

of debt, got smacked in the face with the many realities of operating a solvent business along the way, and nearly closed. “Frankly, it was a mess,” McDonough admitted. “Every day was not filled with rainbows and unicorns.” For a time, the partners weren’t even fully aware of the financial hole they had dug themselves with the new business. “We actually looked at expanding out from Enterprise into the larger, nearby Dothan, Alabama market in the beginning of 2015, at about the same time we were selling the lawn service,” McDonough said. “We were like, ‘hey, here comes a huge injection of capital from selling that business, so we can translate that money into equipment and infrastructure to build into the emerging market of Dothan.” Luckily, before jumping in to Dothan head-first, they had the presence of mind to consult with a Small Business Development Center at Troy State University in Alabama, which was offering a business class called “the next level.” “It was a $179, nine-week course and it was about writing either an initial business proposal or business plan or polishing up your expansion or scale up plan,” McDonough said. “So I signed up for it because I wanted to have a good plan going into the scaling up of a branch number two for the business.” One class requirement was to review and outline your financial plan. What the partners discovered was not good news.

“We essentially found out that we were insolvent, that we were headed for bankruptcy, and we didn’t even know it,” McDonough said. “All of a sudden, we realized not only do we have no money, but we are also severely over-leveraged. We have put up almost $270,000 in debt and we had an American Express card that was absolutely out of control. It was gut-wrenching.” The business had good volume and a high-quality client list. The pair simply needed to reign in their finances so their profits weren’t being wasted. The company aligned with Soft Wash Systems and entrepreneur AC Lockyer, who advised the company on the steps they needed to take. Lockyer strictly advised the partners to start living exclusively on their military paycheck and not take any more profit from the company. From then on, the only way they earned money in their company was just like their technicians and their salespeople did – they sold it or they cleaned it. “Our only reward, for the time being at least, was being a business owner. And essentially since we were the ones who jacked this thing up – us two senior warrant officers – we said we will not take another dime out of this company until all the debt is paid off,” McDonough said. “Now, that sucked. Bad. I mean really bad.” “In the evenings and weekends, we cleaned and we sold and we cleaned and we sold, and we are taking paychecks,” McDonough continued. “We made okay money; but it’s still it wasn’t the money we were taking out of the company before we

reconsolidated some of our loans got some things squared away.” In December 2015 the company had $275,000 in debt. Living frugally as described above, the partners had by July 2018 paid off all their debt (a mere 30 months). It was a civilian lesson in discipline, to say the least. “$270,000 in 30 months is discipline” McDonough said. Now McDonough wants to teach other operators not to make the same mistakes. “This mentality of ‘I deserve, I deserve, I deserve, because I work so hard, I deserve’ – no, you don’t,” McDonough said. According to McDonough, young entrepreneurs need to break their tendency to think along the lines of ‘I own a business, I founded it, I’m the president and CEO, I have a wife and kids and I should have a certain kind of car and a certain kind of house and a certain standard of living.’ What they should really do, McDonough said, is commit to the future, the longterm, and pay themselves a check like their employees. Young business owners who hold down their lifestyle as they build their company might actually get to the point where they start doubling and redoubling their business, he said, which might eventually lead to the very lifestyle they envision. But the horse must go before the cart. “I hear other people, coaches and mentors, often say, ‘do what most people won’t do for five years so you can live like no one else can for the rest of your life,’” McDonough said. continued ...

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“There is so much truth to that. That’s what a business can do for you. But if you don’t understand your cash flow statement – and we didn’t and we weren’t respecting it the way we should have – you are asking for trouble. Build a cash flow statement, produce it once a week, and look at your cash flow versus the traditional five financial statements routinely. Those traditional five financial statements are kind of like looking in the rearview mirror. There’s some useful information there. But it doesn’t present to you all the real hazards that are in front of you when it comes to cash flow. Looking at cash flow is like looking out the windshield of your car instead.”

THE FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT With their debt paid off, success did come for the partners. And it came fast. The company has accomplished some incredible things to systemize and turn around their business, from being ready to put the key in the door and close to becoming a huge success. The business now produces north of half a million dollars in revenues in a town of just 27,000 people. That makes Veterans Cleaning Solutions a clear outlier in the industry. For any

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pressure wash owner/operator who say there is too much competition in their market, or their market is not big enough and they can’t get the prices they need, call Jim McDonough. He’ll prove you wrong Veterans Cleaning Solutions currently boasts 10 profit centers -- five interior and five exterior – with about 60% on the roof and exterior and 40% on the interior. Exterior accounts for more of the business largely because the company successfully attracts much larger projects on the exterior side. It frequently gets multi-family exterior jobs -- $50,000 to $60,000 jobs -- often through project management for other companies that can sell that kind of work but don’t have the capability to clean that kind of work. “My issue is getting the work done,” McDonough said. “We grossed $600,000 last year. We were 60/40 split between exterior and interior and we gross 26.7% net before tax. And then, on top of that, we look at the population base we’re in -- a population base of 27,000 in Enterprise. We get 85% of our work from Enterprise and far less from Dothan. Dothan is 85,000 people, so it’s almost three times the size of Enterprise. And we are putting our second location or second branch in Dothan now in 2019…We have five sales people feeding the five production assets and

| PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019

we’re about to add two more territory managers .” So how exactly do you build a more than half-abillion-dollar business in a 27,000 population market? What were the keys to this success? Other than getting out of debt? Education and partnerships were one key. “First and foremost is having a good foundational company to work with. So Soft Wash Systems is that company,” McDonough said. “I’ve also been part of UAMCC [the United Association of Mobile Contract Cleaners]. You have to have strategic partnerships.” “Another one of those is having a coach. There’s a lot of coaching systems out there that you can do like Michael Gerber’s eMyth. I chose Howard Partridge…I knew there was a better way. I knew there was an easier way and I just needed someone to kind of help me along. Howard Partridge and the Inner Circle -- that was the key that started bringing everything together. His book The Five Secrets of a Phenomenal Business, along with The 14 Fastest Ways to Cash, were two books that I studied more than the Bible. So, for 15 bucks, that was transformational.” N ex t , M c D o n o u g h c re d i t s breaking away from the job site in order to grow his business. “Guys who think they can’t go home and put on a clean shirt and go to Rotary and be off the job for three hours, that think, ‘I can’t do that, I have to work,’ well, they are missing the boat,” McDonough said. “In actuality, that’s precisely what you need to do as the business owner. Your job is

not to be on the truck. I understand that as the owner/operator, you’ve got to feed your family, and that’s the rut that they’re in, but you have to believe and break away.” Here is where McDonough said the military background he and Cappadoro share – specifically forensics and reverse engineering work on downed helicopters -- played a role in understanding how to achieve success. “While we were on the aircraft shoot-down assessment team, we weren’t allowed to think like Army aviators. We had to think like the insurgents,” he explained. “We had to think like the bad guys. And it made us think differently from the other side of the coin. So, in this business, we reverse-engineered a lot of the sale scenarios and the transactional scenarios and studied how you are able to create a sales environment. That’s a real key when it comes to our marketing and sales. We do some things differently that I have yet to really see anybody else do and this is the key to a small market.” Wi e l d i n g t h a t m e n t a l i t y, McDonough said the partners put themselves in situations that are target-rich environments for their business as frequently as possible. “Everyone is trying to do flyers and radio ads and TV and they are wrapping trucks, and those are some effective means if you pursue them,” McDonough said. “But they are also kind of carpet bombing instead of putting on a nice shirt and joining Rotary or Lions or the Civitan and getting in to a room where 50 or 60 or 100 of your ideal clients are. That’s the market you’re looking for and yet guys will not step into that room because they don’t feel they’re worthy enough


Enterprising to be in there. And that’s crazy because every one of those organizations are all about business development and networking. They are networking organizations. They just happen to be CEOs, business owners, clergy, doctors, and veterinarians – your ticket. And yet guys just don’t go into those rooms. I’m just amazed. I walk in for lunch and walk out with three leads almost every week.” Last but not least, McDonough credits his employees as a major key to his success. “The key to my business, really, is the people working for me, many of whom were clients before they became employees,” he said. “Imagine being a territory manager or sales person

and you can tell a customer, ‘I work for an organization that is manned by veterans, we have great systems, they have a fantastic reputation, they invest a ton and education, they go after the toughest jobs that primarily focus on the difficult the dangerous and the complex that nobody else will touch, they do it with state-of-the-art systems, top of the line gear, and they have the best warranties and guarantees in the market, and, oh, by the way, I was a client of theirs before I became a team member,’” McDonough said. “Do you think we get that client? Do you think we have more than a 60% closing rate? Yes! It’s a done deal! It’s about the people.” How does the future look for

Veterans Cleaning Solutions, especially as they embark on the Dothan market expansion? “Our significant market advantage is highly capable, skilled people willing to get out and put a handshake out there and smile at the customer and listen to find out what the problem is and give them a route to fix it and a date to start it,” McDonough said. “I think the future is hugely bright -- it’s so bright I gotta wear shades -- and the reason I say that is because of our people and because we cross-market so well. “We built a $600,000 going towards $1.2 million business in a 27,000 population market offering high-value cleaning services done by pristine people to one

VETS

client base. My techs make about $18 an hour, which is almost unheard of in the industry. I pay them commission, I don’t pay an hourly rate, so the client gets a highly competent, highly trained, highly experienced, highly motivated person who’s very efficient in their movements. They get it done, they are trained on customer service, and it’s a fantastic experience. That’s us in a nutshell.” Spoken like a well-disciplined, well-trained, experienced veteran of the trade who has been through some turbulence and wars in owning, operating, and building a business and who has now found uncommon success.

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CONTENTS

UNDER

PRESSURE

A POP CULTURE-INSPIRED LOOK AT THE PRESSURE WASH INDUSTRY

Pressure Wash “Porn?” America can’t get enough of “dirty” pressure wash videos BY DREW RUBLE The average pressure wash operator works hard, beats the streets for sales, comes home each night tired, and certainly doesn’t think of their work as very interesting to the general public. Newsflash. Think again. As news outlet Triple M reported in February 2019, vast sections of the internet are dedicated to videos of things being power washed “and it is totally and utterly mesmerizing.” In fact, since as far back as 2010, millions, that’s right, millions of people have watched clips from YouTube channels like Power Washing World, where outdoor furniture, trucks, patios -- even vegetables—are pressure washed. BuzzFeed once uploaded a pressure washing video to YouTube that garnered more than 1.4 million views in less than four days. Some videos last less than a minute. Others, particularly time-lapsed videos, can be much longer. Many if not most pressure wash operators are in on the secret and have

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been for a long time. A wildly popular sub-Reddit called r/Powerwashingporn allows pressure washer enthusiasts to upload their own pressure wash videos. The site boasts a community nearly 600,000 people. What’s the attraction? Triple M says it probably has something to do with Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), which, defined, “describes the experience of tingling sensations in the crown of the head, in response to a range of audio-visual triggers”. ASMR, which by definition is accompanied by feelings of relaxation and well-being, is usually linked to videos of “whispering, tapping and hand movements.” Think slime videos elementary and middle school students have obsessed over the past few years. Pressure wash operators themselves can probably agree that some aspect of ASMR is what got them in to the profession in the first place, or that keeps them enjoying the work now. No matter the explanation, the

| PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019

bottom line is that pressure wash videos, according to Triple M, “have, incredibly, become insanely popular in recent times.” Even mainstream media has taken notice. Venerated newspaper the Wall Street Journal chimed in recently on the internet phenomenon of pressure wash “porn.” Writer Ellen Byron, in a May 29, 2018 WSJ article, wrote that “online videos of pressure washers spraying down dirty driveways, sidewalks, roofs, siding and cars are gaining steam. Viewers say they feel instant gratification watching without having to lift a finger themselves—except to click on a video.” Byron opened her article by profiling Richard Van Remmen, a tax-preparation professional in Rock Hill, S.C., who purposefully keeps his lawn furniture outdoors all winter so there is plenty of mold, algae, pollen, pine sap, and dirt to

remove once he shoots his videos. Van Remmen, Byron reported, attaches a camera to his pressure wash wand, granting viewers a point of view that mimics cleaning the furniture themselves. One of Van Remmen’s videos has been watched more than a million times. Byron next profiled a video enthusiast, Fred Stoverink, a Los Angeles-based actor and woodworker, who likes watching online videos of other people pressure washing. “It’s satisfying,” Stoverink stated in the article, “because you’re watching something that in your mind you think is permanently dirty and this water jet, which makes your garden hose look completely weak, is cutting right through the grime…There’s a sense of catharsis.” Stovernick even gets disturbed when a dirty spot gets overlooked in a pressure washing video. continued ...


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UNDER

PRESSURE “I’m not going to sleep tonight,” he told the paper. “It becomes infuriating when somebody misses a spot.” So exactly what’s the application here? Is there a business opportunity lurking here beneath the public’s apparent fascination with pressure wash “porn?” Can this phenomenon be applied to growing your business? Or is it satisfying enough just to know that the general public finds the work you do to be interesting? As the WSJ reported in the article, some savvy pressure wash business owners are capitalizing on the trend. Keith Rossiter, owner of Rossiter

Exterior Cleaning in Racine, Ohio, spent $1,500 on a drone to start filming his pressure-washing jobs after spotting some amateur pressure-washing videos online, the WSJ reported. That aerial footage, posted on social media, has become the main form of advertising for Rossiter’s growing business. So here are a few takeaways. First, when you get out of bed to go to work tomorrow, don’t think of yourself as a run-of-the-mill, dime-a-dozen, bluecollar laborer. You are a rock star in the eyes of the internet public, waving your magic wand all around and making the world a cleaner crisper space!

Next, think hard about starting to more consistently video your jobs and to use them as a primary plank of your marketing strategy. Going “next level” with a drone like Rossiter did may be out of the question; but be creative and tap in to the cultural curiosity with the work that you do. You just may be tapping deep in to the primal psyche of human nature and in doing so drive your sales

through the roof ! Last, become comfortable working in front of your clients, and coach your employees to be comfortable under their gaze as well. If in fact watching pressure watching is such a cathartic experience, you can only stand to benefit from repeat business if you allow homeowners to watch the magic unfold. Become an internet star!

WHY VIDEO IS YOUR BEST MARKETING STRATEGY DreamGrow, a content marketing and social media company, recently created a list spotlighting the ever-increasing use of video in marketing a business. According to DreamGrow, 2018 was “a full-on video revolution year for

marketers.” Wyzowl statistics found that 63% of businesses have started using video content marketing. Out of those, 82% of businesses feel video marketing is an important part of their strategy.

DreamGrow argues that video is “one of the most versatile and profitable digital marketing tools out there.” Pressure wash “porn” is an indication that video can be a particularly good medium in the outdoor cleaning space.

Priit Kallas, editor and manager of Dreamgrow Digital, (www.dreamgrow. com), highlighted eight reasons to start using video marketing right now.

1. Video Boosts Conversions and Sales

3. Video Builds Trust

6. Video Marketing Can Explain Everything

8. Video Encourages Social Shares

• Adding a product video on your landing page can increase conversions by 80%.

• Stop selling and let the people come to you by providing them interesting and useful information.

• Studies show that 74% of users who watched an explainer-video about a product subsequently bought it.

• 57% of consumers say that videos gave them more confidence to purchase online.

2. Video Shows Great ROI • 83% of businesses say that video provides good return on investment. • Your smartphone can make pretty decent videos. • Your videos don’t have to be perfect. It’s the content that matters! • Latest research shows that users are mostly put off by videos that don’t explain the product or service clearly enough. • Low quality and poor design didn’t matter nearly as much.

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4. Google Loves Videos • Moovly reports you’re 53 times more likely show up first on Google if you have a video embedded on your website since Google now owns YouTube.

5. Video Appeals to Mobile Users • 90% of consumers watch videos on their mobile. • YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year.

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• 98% of users say they’ve watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service. • That is why 45% of businesses who use video marketing said that they have an explainer video on their home page. • Of those businesses, 83% said that their homepage explainer video was effective.

7. Video Engages Even the Laziest Buyers • Video is super easy to consume. 68% of consumers would rather watch a video to solve a product related problem than to read.

• 76% of users say they would share a branded video with their friends if it was entertaining.

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GUEST COLUMN

Dare to Think Differently Want to go next level with your business? Develop a fresh perspective. BY DR. COLBY JUBENVILLE

Colby B. Jubenville, PhD, is a recognized author, international speaker, business consultant and professor. He is the founder and the director of the Center for Student Coaching and Success (www.mtsu. edu/cbhssuccess) on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, the largest undergraduate college in Tennessee. A Senior Consultant with Brentwood, TN based Brent Consulting Group, he is the recipient of the Nashville Emerging Leaders Impact Award presented by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and YP Nashville. The award honors one of Nashville’s top leaders who has made a significant impact on Nashville’s young professional demographic. Most recently, he was a blogger for the Washington Times focused on self-reliance and developing an entrepreneurial mindset. His website can be found at www.drjubenville.com, and his latest book can be found at www. mepersonalbranding.com.

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Remember scientist Albert Einstein’s most famous quote regarding the definition of insanity? It’s so over-used but so true. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. Sounds like my golf game… In a business context, this is a crucial point. Now, I’m quite sure you are actually doing a great job of running your business. You’re probably less dysfunctional than you think. In all my years of consulting and public speaking, I mainly meet dedicated, hard-working people who treat their employees fairly and do a pretty good job of achieving at least a modicum of success. To get where you want to go, though, where you need to be, where you are capable of going, will require doing things a little differently. It’s basic logic that change must occur, right? Or what else could you expect except the same results? As the Eagles sang, it’s time to “change the batter,” and that starts with you.

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Don’t allow confidence and experience to blind you to the fact that you still need to grow and evolve. Look at it positively. You are not done! You are getting better! As one example, stop thinking that just because you are working hard and all of your employees are working hard that you are going to experience greater success. Hard work is important, to say the least, but it’s not the only answer to finding success. You’ve got to break the cycle of your own thinking and start considering other options, other opinions, other perspectives, and other answers. I’ll never forget during my early years as a college professor when I was called to a meeting with my departmental leader. When the door closed, I was told in no uncertain terms that I had been brought there to teach, not to raise the standard, and that I had better learn the difference between the two. You see, students were complaining that my classes were too demanding. Other faculty members were no doubt complaining about my level of effort, engagement, and “give-a-damn,” which was no doubt making them look, well, lazy.

In a field of zebras, there was no place for a cheetah like me. It’s a familiar refrain to anyone in the business world. Even though we all know that innovation is the name of the game and that we must change, adapt, and transform to survive (more less to prosper), we tend to stick to the old routines, doing the same things we did yesterday, and the day before that, and the year before that, rather than complicate our lives with fresh ideas that require work and implementation. I’m reminded of a friend of mine who spent many years in the media business and who championed many creative, new ideas with the potential to head off that industry’s steep decline. Instead, his ideas were most often met with disinterest or distain. Why? Because progress is often derailed by sentiments like ‘it’s just going to make work for me,’ or, ‘I don’t know exactly what you are talking about,’ or, ‘it makes me nervous, because I’m not sure what the outcomes will be,’ or, worse yet, attitudes like ‘will you please just do the job I hired to you, just get in line, and let’s get the job done instead of expanding the size and scope of what we are doing in an attempt to do something great.’


GUEST COLUMN

We all know what happened to media, right? Reluctant and slow to change, the business model collapsed. In her book Mindset, Carol Dweck explained that there are only two kinds of mindsets. The first, a “fixed” mindset, is where a person accepts their level of intelligence or talent (or another person’s level of intelligence or talent) as who they are. As a result, they view success as something that is only for the strong or talented and do not see the benefit of trying to “grow” or change their own mindset. The second, or what Dweck called a “growing” mindset, is characterized by how someone responds to adversity and how they view learning as the key indicator (or trail of bread crumbs) to finding the success they desire. “We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us,” Dweck wrote. “We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary.” If you want more, or you want more from others, develop a growing mindset. Stop coloring your experience with employees with garbage from the past and start today to create a bigger future

for yourself, your employees, and your company by choosing a better response to your situation. Viktor Frankl, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, once stated that “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” That space is our mindset, and it is the key to unlocking our own lifestyle, freedom and (ultimately) opportunity. Said another way, you have to start thinking in fresh ways. Which reminds me of my first coaching opportunity… I went to one of the best high schools in America -- St. Paul’s in Mobile, Alabama. While I was there, I had life-changing experiences with athletic coaches. Sandy Santoli, my high school basketball coach, taught me one of them on the basketball court one day. As St. Paul’s basketball players, we got the opportunity to coach intermural basketball with the grade schoolers. I coached 5th and 6th graders, which included my little brother, Zack. One of the rules of intramural basketball was that you had to play man-to-man defense. As such, coaches taught their players

to follow or defend their counterpart everywhere they went on the court. I’m blessed with a tendency to see things differently, and I did back then as well. As such, I gathered my team together during one time out and told my little brother that on the next play I wanted him to dribble down the court and hold up the number “1” as if calling a play. When he did that, I told my other players that I wanted them to run up in to the stands and give their moms and dads a hug… Yes, I said give their moms and dads a hug…in the middle of the game… As you might imagine, that created a few perplexed looks on the faces of my players. But as I explained to them, doing so would leave Zack one-on-one with a single defender. I then told Zack to jab step his defender and drive in for a lay-up. Play ensued and my plan went off without a hitch. Zack held up the number “1,” the other players ran in to the stands, their defenders diligently followed them, Zack jab stepped his defender, and drove in for a successful lay-up. I remember vividly in that moment that I got chills up and down my spine and arms. It was a great feeling.

My euphoria soon faded, though – it was drowned out by the shrill whistle of Coach Santoli. He came running on to the court waving his arms and shouting “no!” Much to my dismay, he waved off the basket. What happened next, though, I’ll never forget. Coach Santoli then came over to me, put his arm around my shoulder, and said in my ear, ‘Colby, you are going to be a great coach one day… But not today.’ I felt the chills again, but this time they were even better. Yes, I was disappointed that the basket didn’t count. But more so I was inspired that my ability to think differently was going to make me a success in life…eventually. I did go on to coach small college football, win championships, become a professor, launch a business, become an author and motivational speaker, and even create a first-of-its-kind Center for Student Success at the university where I work. Think differently!

VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS |

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Searching Outside the Box Finding good employees is the biggest task pressure wash operators face. Here are some fresh approaches, unexpected avenues, and/or off-the-radar places to possibly find new talent BY DREW RUBLE A late December 2018 report from the Conference Board, a nonprofit research association, found that for the first time in decades in America it is harder to find an hire blue-collar workers than white-collar workers. According to the report, in addition to the fact that more people have college degrees, other contributing factors include that the Baby Boom generation, a segment of the workforce that once held many blue-collar jobs, continues to retire in droves. Added to this, the average annual turnover for hourly workers is 49 per-

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cent, at an average cost of $4,969 per employee, according to the Society of Human Resource Management. In all, 78 million people, roughly 60 percent of the total workforce, are hourly workers. While applicants are dwindling, blue collar jobs are meanwhile exploding in number, and have been since the 2008 financial crisis. Quite often they are very good-paying jobs paying far more than the average new college graduate might expect to earn. The Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce reported that 30 million jobs in the U.S. that pay an average of $55,000 per year don’t require bachelor degrees. To boot, people obtaining career and technical educations

| PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019

are more likely to be employed than their peers with college credentials, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Despite such factors, high school graduates continue pouring in to fouryear schools in search of a degree at an ever more rapid rate. Parental stigma about blue collar jobs teamed with high school administrators touting percentages of college-bound students are at least partly to blame. It’s a societal issue that has blinded young people to real opportunities to kick-start their lives both financially and professionally. The net effect is more problematic for blue collar businesses than simply that they can’t find enough workers. It

also hurts their bottom line. Gad Levanon, chief economist of North America at The Conference Board, stated, “In certain instances, companies looking to attract enough blue-collar workers will have to continue increasing wages and, as a result, possibly experience diminished profits.” Everyone in the pressure wash industry agrees that finding good employees is the number one issue they face. Pressure Wash News talked to various business owners, hiring experts, and HR consultants to uncover some outside-the-box approaches and novel ideas that might help relieve the pressure wash industry’s biggest riddle: FINDING GOOD PEOPLE to work for your company. Here are just a few of the fresh approaches, unexpected avenues, and/ or off-the-radar places we identified where you might just find the new talent you need.


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SEARCHING OUTSIDE THE BOX WOMEN Women are in the workforce at greater levels than ever in history and have stormed industries like health care and law. Interestingly, significant pay gaps still exist in those industries. One reason women are increasingly entering blue collar or trade occupations like construction and truck driving is that even though they still participate in those fields at a lower percentage, they generally get paid in that space the same as men. In other words, women are increasingly finding that if they want to get paid like men, they have to enter a male-oriented job in order to receive male-oriented pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the gender pay gap is much narrower in the construction industry than then national average, with women earning 93.4% of what men typically make, as opposed to the overall average of 82.1% across all professions. The BLS reported in 2014 that nearly 10 million people worked in the construction industry. Of these, 872,000 of them, or 8.9%, were women. That compared to the 97.2% of preschool and kindergarten teachers, 94.2% of secretaries and administrative assistants, and 91.3% of receptionists and information clerks who are women. The website Learn How to Become reported that there has been, however, a clear shift toward opening blue collar work up to women, largely through outreach efforts by government agencies like the Department of Transportation. There are also more localized efforts like

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Non-Traditional Employment for Women, a New York City based organization that aims to, “prepare, train, and place women in careers in the skilled construction, utility, and maintenance trades.” Pressure wash operators we talked to offered up responses like these when asked about their female employees, or about the notion of hiring more women: • “I have women who have no problem pulling 200-pound hose. They are in fact tougher than my men.” • “I have six female leads in my company. Some of these women can pull more hose than these men can. They’re tough as nails. They’re mothers, which requires toughness.” • “I’ve gone through military courses where I’ve been trudging through swamps with leeches and all kinds of snakes around you and cold water and guys are just whining and crying. But the women are right there with us, hanging tough, not saying a damn word. They don’t put up with garbage. They do the hard work as long as the reward and the appreciation is there.” • “They are more attentive to detail than guys are, especially in the cleaning space. Guys are about power and pressure. Women want it done right.” • “Guys -- they do kind of the heavy lifting -- but they are not the subtle, nuance people that get a job right. They are just big, blunt instruments by comparison, so to speak.” • “I have a lot of women working for me not just doing manual labor but sales for sure. When it comes to your customers, if you don’t have a woman salesperson, I think you really lost half of your potential sales base right there. Because the woman in the house is the

| PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019

one who is going to make the decision. They are the decision-makers on ‘yes, we are doing this.’ And if you have a sales person who is a woman, it helps. There’s trust. They’ll listen to a female salesperson’s perspective.” Why owners don’t think of half the human race as solid options for employment in this industry is crazy. If you don’t tap into that stream, you are a fool. Hire women!

RETIREES Author Chris Farrell, writing in a recent Forbes magazine article, stated “a common criticism of the ‘un-retirement’ movement (people earning an income during the traditional retirement years) is that it’s a fine idea for office workers and white-collar professionals. But blue-collar workers? Hardly.” Turns out, Farrell said, that such conventional wisdom is “flat wrong.” In his research for his book, Unretirement, Farrell said he learned that a lot of people are “staying with —or turning  toward” blue-collar work  in their un-retirement years. Farrell also noted that retired skilled workers can also often serve as valuable mentors to younger employees as regards work ethic, professionalism, and integrity. One pressure wash operator we talked to described a retiree working for him who had been running a crew for several years, was older than 70, gets up on roofs, and puts his fellow 25-year-old crew members to shame on the job site. A former plant manager, he understands how to train and coach people. When summer comes and business heats up, he has no problems putting in 50-plus hour work weeks and has more physical stamina and mental endurance than his younger subordinates “who grew up

playing video games sitting on Mom and Dad’s couch.” Find some retirees and give them their ideal retirement job making good money, staying active, and bossing around the younger generation!

POTENTIAL FREE AGENTS Be alert for potential hires 24/7, especially at places like McDonald’s, other fast food and sit-down restaurants (waiters and waitresses), convenience stores, or, frankly, other dead-end jobs where you can offer something better and more secure in terms of income and future opportunity. Notice good service, a good work ethic, honesty, and the ability to easily communicate and connect with people. Go back to their places of employ a few times and double check your instincts, as well as build rapport with the person. Finally, when you think you’re on to something, ask if they are open to a new and somewhat unusual job opportunity. FitSmallBusiness.com, in a January 2018 article titled “29 Creative Ways to Find Employees Online & Off,” pieced together by Laura Handrick, cited Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, who encouraged business owners to do exactly this, or, in her words, “look out for talent everywhere.” “When I led a large retail sales team in MD, DC and VA,” Hurt contributed, “my radar was constantly up for great talent (waiters, hotel staff, other retail experiences). Many of my call center clients do the same thing. You can teach specifics, but innate empathy and strong customer service skills are hard to fake. Plus, the best talent usually isn’t actively looking for a job.” Get your future good employee radar on!


YOUR COMPETITORS Inc. magazine once highlighted the obvious reasons that poaching an employee from a rival business is so desirable. It means bringing onboard to your company someone who already knows the industry, probably already knows your specific business, and can bring valuable new knowledge and even clients to you. And yes, damage the competition in the process. Now, poaching is a strong word. Is it really that bad or out of bounds? No, it isn’t. As RecruiterBox.com once described it, what you are really doing is “prospecting passive candidates from logical hiring sources.” There’s really nothing unusual about it. Professionals have a right to work wherever they want and for whomever they want, even if it isn’t with an individual who taught them or seasoned them or came to rely on them in a business. Inc. writer Hilary Johnson warned in her article, though, that as enticing as it is to poach a competitor’s employee, “hiring from the competition requires caution and a certain degree of finesse… the process is loaded with pitfalls: you don’t want to get a reputation as a poacher, start a tit-for-tat talent war with a competitor or, worst of all, get sued for breaching a non-compete agreement.” Johnson advised companies to consider the following road map when poaching a competitor’s workforce: • Be subtle: Spread word that you’re hiring, and approach the candidate you’re targeting on neutral ground, like a chamber of commerce meeting. • Make sure it is worth it: Do thorough reference checks, really study the candidate’s background, consider how or if they will fit your culture. It’s not worth the blowback you will potentially get if

the poached employee doesn’t turn out to be the star you envisioned. • Be sure there’s no legal danger: Make sure they don’t have a non-compete agreement with their current employer before making a move. • Get in tune with the employee: They may be looking for more than just more money. Their real motivation to join you may be recognition, opportunity for growth, the chance to innovate (do you have better equipment?), or even geography (like working closer to home). • Keep your eye on the ball: If you are out their recruiting employees from rival businesses, chances are they are recruiting your best employees too. Keep your finger on the pulse of your own employee base to ensure you don’t get poached.

L

INDEPENDENT OPERATORS

Look, everyone knows that the pressure wash business has one of the lowest barriers to entry of almost any profession. And everybody knows of independent solo operators in the start-up phase that are out there with no real idea what they are doing and who are offering ridiculously low prices to do jobs (and without the proper insurance or the training they need to be safe and reliable). In part we know this is the case because we are often called in to clean up their mess. Being an independent small businessman is tough. Frankly it’s a lot easier to go get a job and get paid a decent wage by someone else and skipping all the headaches and responsibility. Chances are many of your smaller competitors are

feeling exactly that way as they watch your branded trucks drive by headed to the next legit jobsite. Chances are also pretty good though that those “Chucks in trucks” have learned a thing or two about pressure washing while out there plying their wares as an independent contractor, and might even already have a little client base budding. Plus, from your standpoint, who better to understand and sympathize with your burden of responsibility as a business owner (costs, etc.) than someone who tried it themselves for a while. Partner with them! Bring them in to your business as a lead tech or team leader. Make a plan for them to exit the business up the road if you need to (and if that is their ultimate dream)! Sell them on the opportunity to learn how to properly run a business (and save the money needed to be entrepreneurial again). You see them driving around town. You probably see the look of worry on their faces. Start by meeting them. Maybe they are eating at the same restaurant as you for lunch. Show interest in them and offer some advice. Try, over time, to get in a situation where you are even mentoring them. Give them your card and tell them to call you any time for advice. Eventually, talk to them about a plan to take a job with you even if their ultimate goal is to own their own business. It may feel like grooming your future competition -- and maybe it is. But in today’s difficult hiring environment, what

SEARCHING OUTSIDE THE BOX you have to offer both from a lifestyle and learning perspective should be attractive to the solo operator who struck out on their own in the unpredictable world of pressure wash.

MILLENNIALS & GENERATION Z Although this article started out by talking about how millennials and members of Generation Z are almost all going to college and spurning blue collar work opportunities with great starting wages, the truth of the matter is that tide is turning…albeit slowly. TLNT.com (Talent Management and HR) reports that millennial attitudes toward blue collar work “are shifting.” “Despite having been taught in recent decades that four-year degrees are the “right” path to take, they are beginning to blaze their own trails. Many are realizing the immediate benefit of working in the trades, especially in light of rising college tuition costs,” wrote Mike Kofi Okyere for TLNT. Yves Frinault, CEO of Fieldwire, wrote on Glassdoor.com in July 2018 that to truly take advantage of this trend, employers must begin to steer more young people more aggressively towards blue-collar positions. “These jobs make the comforts of modern society possible. Functioning cars, clean roads, air-conditioned homes, and fresh food are all the result of blue-collar output. Unfortunately, these professions are often taken for granted, as any recruiter in a blue-collar field likely knows,” he wrote. Frinault cited the words of Mike continued ...

VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS |

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SEARCHING OUTSIDE THE BOX Rowe, former host of “Dirty Jobs,” a television series on the Discovery Channel that followed hard-working entrepreneurs and employees doing unglamorous blue-collar jobs, and who stated “we are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist.” Frinault suggested upselling young people on taking a job with you by focusing on return on investment, or ROI. Young people, he argued, can earn even more in blue collar fields after gaining additional experience and developing management skills. “It’s not uncommon for tradesmen to

command six-figure salaries  while paying only a fraction of the cost on their education compared to white-collar counterparts,” he wrote. “Many people assume a college is a good investment because individuals with bachelor’s degrees earn more on average. However, this statistic doesn’t tell the whole story. About 40 percent of undergraduate students drop out before earning their degree. There are other factors to consider as well when considering the ROI of college — such as tuition expenses, the emotional burden of debt and the opportunity cost of foregoing additional years in the workforce.” Next, Frinault encourages incorporating technology that empowers blue-collar workers rather than replaces them in to your business. This culture, he said, will be attractive to younger workers who grew up surrounded by technology.

Robotic pressure wash systems. Vast use of social media and remote access in your operations. These are aspects of your business that will be compelling to younger prospects. But you have to be a bit of a salesperson to convince them to take this stand and make this decision against a society obsessed with college-bound dreams.

VETERANS We’ve just come through the longest sustained combat operations in American history, and a lot of returning military vets are looking for work. These are just a few of the things we heard people say about vets working for them.

“People who have served in the military tend to be self-disciplined and able to handle chaos that sometimes comes with fast-paced situations.” “Veterans have been trained to operate in the extreme and to adapt to an evolving landscape by thinking quickly on their feet. There are a lot of opportunities in fastpaced jobs because not everybody can do them.” “A veteran has earned valuable life experience.” “By virtue of their successes in the military, they have demonstrated they have leadership, communication, and critical-thinking skills. These qualities are highly sought after by employers.”

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DISTRIBUTOR MEETING June 25th—June 26th, 2019 Take a road trip with CETA & PWNA out west for a Regional Meeting June 25th and 26th, 2019 at The Peppermill Resort-Spa-Casino Hotel. Certification, Seminars, Keynote Speaker, Round Tables, Lunch and more that will prove to be beneficial to all who attend. Our keynote speaker, Charles Marshall, is one of the most popular humorous motivational speakers speaking today and has over 20 years’ experience speaking to audiences all over the United States. Thanks to our Sponsors, signed copies of “The Serve Method” will be provided complimentary to all attendees. CETA Technical Chairman, Jimmy Welch, will provide a technical update on industry regulations including updated information on California Prop 65, UL 1776 being replaced with UL 60335-2-79 and 2020 Carb Standard changes. This is a free event. (There is a fee for PWNA’s OSHA and Environmental Certification) Anyone in the cleaning equipment industry is welcome and encouraged to attend. This event will count as 3 hours of credit for CETA Certified Distributor Program for all who attend. A random drawing will result in one attendee (it could be you!) receiving a two-night stay at the Embassy Suites Hotel connected to the Charleston Convention Center in Charleston, SC during the 2019 POWERCLEAN Convention and Trade Show, compliments of CETA.

REGISTER NOW! info@ceta.org 800.441.0111 www.ceta.org

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| PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019

Schedule-at-a-Glance

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019 PWNA—Fees apply

Environmental Certification – $150 OSHA 1910 with Michael Draper – $150

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019: CETA Electrical 101 Burner 101: Oil Burner

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“They understand what responsibility really means.” “They are some of the most desirable people to hire because you’re getting qualities that you might not get from rank-and-file people looking for work.” On the flipside, there were several cautionary words of advice provided though regarding the hiring of military vets. “The military is hard on your body. Everybody is going to come to you with some form of an issue. Bad ankles. Bad knees. Dealing with some issues -- baggage from my service. They may be taking medication because they need to kind of level out their moods…You’ve got to know about and understand any of these issues because you can’t have someone tell you they are fine and then halfway up a 40-foot ladder their knees lock up or ankles give out or they flip out on a customer because they’re taking mood-ameliorating drugs. You can’t have that.” It’s also important to keep in mind that veterans are used to having a defined career path or map of progression. Military service clearly outlines what it takes to achieve the next rank and/or position. Most civilian employers are not capable of providing this type of career progression guidance. Hiring businesses need to understand the importance of investing in their veteran employees from an HR standpoint. They need to also understand that coming out of the military and entering a job it can appear like chaos compared to the regimen nature of the service. So as an owner-operator, you must be cognizant and prepared to sort of explain make clear what the steps are even for things like progression in the career or up the ladder. Explain clearly ‘this is how you move up to one of my crew leaders or lead guys’ because that’s the way they’ve been trained. Military service is not to be used as a crutch either. Not everybody comes back with baggage and a lot of times the news media wrongly portrays veterans as victims. They are not victims. They signed

up to do something and took the money from the government and with that you make the choice to put yourself in harm’s way. As such, you don’t give a job to a person just because they are a vet. Regardless of the many variables in play here, every vet is a hero and deserves your respect and attention to their job candidacy.

NONPROFIT REFERRALS If you are a second chances person (or even a third or fourth chances person) there might be someone who is homeless, is battling addiction, or even (under certain circumstances) living in a halfway house that would deserve your consideration as an employee. Once again, FitSmallBusiness.com, in its January 2018 article titled “29 Creative Ways to Find Employees Online & Off,” pieced together by Laura Handrick, made a good suggestion when it encouraged small business employers to “look to nonprofits seeking jobs for their clientele.” The article cited Katie Smith, HR manager with NOW Damp Proof, who stated, “I recruited a homeless person for my company who was suggested to me by a charity organization. He got a purpose and felt he was appreciated. This person was being assisted by the charity and was visiting a psychologist weekly — it turned out that the social involvement was essential for my new employee. After a couple of weeks, I started to forget he had been homeless; he almost looked like a workaholic, because he was using his spare time to find a home and leave charity assistance. He turned out to be one of the more motivated workers of my team.” Hiring an addict in recovery can be similarly successful, but will no doubt have its challenges. Nevertheless, such individuals deserve a second chance to

secure gainful employment that pays the bills, puts food on the table, and provides purpose, all of which will actually help them in their road to recovery. You’ll have to be willing, though, to overlook spotty work histories and a lack of credible references given the life they formerly led. You might have to give them the freedom in their work schedule to continue attending meetings or to visit a doctor or therapist as they continue to grapple with their disease. But on the flipside, you might uncover a great employee, and have done a good deed in the process. There are places online to help people in recovery looking for work. Visit America in Recovery, for instance, has a job board specifically aimed at helping recovering addicts, ex-convicts, and atrisk youth looking for work. One of the top operators in the pressure wash industry in America recently told PW News that he has on occasion found individuals in halfway houses that he gave a chance and who became good workers for him. Just know that obviously when you’re in the home service business and you’re bringing people to people’s homes it would be wildly inappropriate to have anybody with a predatory criminal background conducting that work. Similarly, if anybody’s done robbery or sex crimes or assault or stalking or anything like that they too are unlikely candidates for this line of business. That’s not to say there isn’t a diamond in the rough. It’s worth a look.

THE FINAL WORD In conclusion, here are a few more gems of wisdom from FitSmallBusiness.com, in its January 2018 article titled “29 Creative Ways to Find Employees Online & Off,” pieced together by Laura Handrick. First, Travis Bennett, Managing Director of Studio Digita Web Design, ad-

SEARCHING OUTSIDE THE BOX vised to offer bonuses for finding and recruiting new employees that actually get hired NOT ONLY to your current employees but also to your ENTIRE NETWORK of friends and business acquaintances on Facebook and other social media. You might be surprised who knows someone looking for work and who could use an extra few hundred bucks stemming from a referral fee from your company as well! Next, Liz D’Aloia, Founder, HR Virtuoso Company, urged employers not to forget the value of grassroots recruiting campaigns (yes, even in this highly digital age!). Post recruiting flyers in your community, she said, including at laundromats, day care centers, libraries, and community centers, grocery stores, coffee shops, churches – the places hourly wage earners are. Though it seems counterintuitive in our electronic age, sometimes low tech is the best way to find hourly employees, most of whom live within a few miles of the place they work. There’s one last thing to know about finding employees. And it may be the most important piece of information of all. Most employers we talked to said building a great culture in your business with a great training system is really the best way to attract and secure good workers. Focus first on yourself and create a business environment ripe for attracting good employees. Make recruiting the second marketing arm of your company and you’ll attract better talent through having a proper emphasis on it. Now let’s get to work!

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UN One Canadian pressure washer turns a moment of inspiration in to a worldwide movement erasing hate speech BY DREW RUBLE Remember the famous Twisted Sister rock song and video “We’re Not Gonna Take It?” Where the disobedient son/ rocker is asked by his disgusted father, “What do you want to do with your life?” Such a scenario was, for many years, a nightmare scenario for Montreal, Canada native Corey Fleischer. Because he didn’t know the answer. Even after graduating from a respected Canadian university with a women’s studies degree (his true collegiate passion was varsity hockey, where he served as a fighter, or team “goon”), Fleischer came home from college without any real direction in his life – professionally or otherwise. “I get home to Montreal and I get the same dreaded question asked again, but this time it’s from my father,” Fleischer said. “He sat me down and said ‘Corey,

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what are you going to do for work?’ And I looked at him, and I had spent all this money, and he had helped me out a lot, and I spent all that time, and I couldn’t look at him and I couldn’t tell him.” Fleischer had made some money during his college years working for his friend’s father’s pressure washing business. So he decided that even just on an interim basis he would launch his own power washing company. “I got a 1994 truck body, and my mechanic friends helped me rebuild an engine. Altogether, I spent maybe fifteen hundred bucks, including the cost of some power washing equipment,” Fleischer said. “That’s how I started. “So now I’m paying my bills, and it was allowing me to be on my own, but I absolutely hate my life,” he continued. “There’s zero substance with what I’m doing. Absolutely zero substance. I went around for a few years power washing

| PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019

decks, driveways, people’s houses, cleaning pigeon poop from buildings, and making money, but I hate my life.” Then one day Fleischer was driving through a busy downtown area in his native Montreal on his way to another pressure wash job when he stopped at a red light. “I look over to the right hand side of the intersection and on a cinder block is a painted swastika,” said Fleischer, who is of Jewish descent. “I wish the story was that I popped out of my truck and whipped out my power washer and blasted my first piece of hate; but that’s not what happened.” Instead, Fleischer said he kept on driving, with a crew in another truck behind him, headed to the suburbs, a 30-minute drive, to clean yet another driveway. “I’m sitting at the light and I have all the tools in my truck to get rid of it and I just drove by it,” he lamented. “I didn’t

Find (& contact) Erasing Hate on FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM stop. And the second that I passed it, I knew that I’d made a mistake. I knew that I could have made a difference. I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn’t believe that I could have made a difference and I didn’t do it.” The nagging feeling didn’t go away once he reached suburbia. “We get to the jobsite and we’re washing and that’s when I had my epiphany moment,” Fleischer said. “I’m looking at everyone


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washing and I said this is not what it’s meant to be for me. And with that I told everybody, pack up, go home, you’re going home on paid leave. I told the lady whose house we were at that the machines broke…I jumped in my truck, I went back to that street, and I erased my very first swastika.” The result? “That 15 seconds of erasing hate was the feeling that I had been looking for my whole life,” Fleischer said. “The feeling I got from erasing that swastika was something I was looking for my entire life, searching for my whole life. “When you’re 30 years old and you don’t know what you’re doing with your life and you’re not happy with what’s going on and then when you find that, you get that moment, you know you finally found purpose. So you don’t let it go. “I didn’t know at that point in time how I was going to get that feeling again but I knew I needed more. So that’s what I started to do. After I would come home from work pressure washing all day, I would jump back in my truck, and now I’m driving around city streets just looking for anything I could erase. “The reason I started erasing hate is I lacked a lot of substance in my life. I was looking for things that I could do that could give me substance in my life, make me feel complete. Power washing driveways didn’t do it. “Everybody’s looking for their passion, looking for their life’s work, and sometimes you’re not even a young man anymore when you finally find that.” Over the next five years, Fleischer quietly and without fanfare found and blasted away with his pressure wash equipment around 50 symbols of hate speech in his native Montreal. Then one day after doing that for all those years, he decided to post a few pictures of his after-work hobby on his Instagram and Facebook pages “and my whole world got twisted and turned upside down.”

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A GLOBAL MOVEMENT Today, Fleischer is an internationally recognized hate speech crusader. His nonprofit, called Erasing Hate, has a global network that leads to the erasure of thousands of physical manifestations of hate speech worldwide. He accomplishes it through social media and a literal army of pressure washers around the world just waiting for him to point them in the direction of evidence of hate speech. He’s been on Canadian news sites extensively, has been an invited guest on TEDx Talks, has consulted Montreal Police crime units, won numerous community philanthropy awards, and even been recognized with a Peace medal alongside Auschwitz survivors for his contributions to terminating anti-Jewish propaganda. By stark contrast to his days of driving around Montreal alone at night looking for hate speech to erase, today Fleischer has supporters around the globe that notify him of sightings “Now everything’s going through social media,” Fleischer explained. “We have hundreds of thousands of people across the globe finding and posting locations of hate speech on social media. Last year we had

| PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019

over a hundred million views. “All I have to do is put a location, the tools to do it, and I could have a hundred people there within an hour in most spots in the world. That’s what’s going on. “It’s no longer just about power washing – you’re looking at social change. It’s way bigger than myself, and it’s way bigger than the industry. What you’re seeing happening now is real change. “What was something in hate speech painted on buildings and walls that people were ignoring or would walk right by and wouldn’t think they couldn’t do anything about it or would say to themselves ‘I’m just going to ignore it,’ now people instead of running away from it are running towards it to fix it. “So right there when you’re able to see physical social change, not only in your city but around the world, started by one person, it becomes much bigger than what it was in the beginning, which was just a power washer. Now it’s changing the landscape of how people deal with hate across the world, from Australia to South Korea to Africa. It’s a worldwide thing. “It’s hard to fathom. It’s hard for me to fully understand the scope of what’s going on and what’s happened. I mean, I’m reminded every day; but to fully see the grand aspect of what’s transpiring in this moment, it is almost impossible.

“I didn’t start doing this thinking this was going to happen. I just started doing this because I’m addicted to the feeling. Now years have passed and this is growing and people like you are calling me and are saying ‘do you realize you’re doing this? Do you realize what’s happening?’ No! I don’t! I never did! I was just following my instinct. “It was just me following something that made me feel good, something that made me feel right, but happily, it affected a lot more people than I ever realized, anything that I could have imagined.” Not that Fleischer needs the global attention he is getting to continue to his mission… “I still do what makes me feel good,” he said. “All these things that are happening are great; but even if they weren’t happening, it wouldn’t matter. I would continue to do this anyway even if it didn’t affect anybody but myself. I would continue to do it because in the beginning -- I’ve been doing this for nine years now -- the first five years, nobody knew I was doing it! No one knew.” Speaking of those years, Fleischer credits his family (“I have a great support system starting with my father”) for allowing him to pursue his muse. “When I started doing this and I was


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WE’RE ACTUALLY NOT TALKING ABOUT GRAFFITI Fleisher is careful to distinguish that he is not out to erase graffiti, only hate speech. “I’m not anti-graffiti,” Fleischer said. “I love graffiti. I’d rather see a wall hit up with graffiti then just a regular wall. “A lot of people don’t feel that way -- that’s just my own personal opinion -- and it’s okay if you don’t feel like that. But that’s how it is. I’m after hate speech.” Fleischer describes graffiti as art, an important way people express themselves.

“You can actually transform an area with art and graffiti so it doesn’t feel dreary anymore and have a positive impact on people’s lives and on the way people go about their everyday…There’s a lot of positives to graffiti. But not to hate messages. “My business is to erase hate, so I will try to respect the artist as much as I can when removing the hate, the tag. That’s all I need.”

spending all my time driving around the city and I had to find those hate images to erase myself because I didn’t have this network, I was always out there looking for it, I had the support to do it,” he said. Fleischer describes himself as living proof that you don’t need to be rich to create social change for good. “I still drive around in my 1994 Grumman truck, and if you were on the

road, you would look at it and you would think ‘man, what is that ugly thing?’” he said. “But that truck itself has literally sparked global social change around the world. If you had tens of millions of dollars, you still couldn’t achieve this. What I’m doing here is priceless. This is not something you could buy. And that’s why I’m interested. I’m not interested in things you can buy. I’m not interested in

cars or diamonds. I’m interested in what can people do that is real that is going to leave something behind when you’re not here anymore. That’s what I spend my time chasing.”

A PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECT So what is it really like for Fleischer when he removes hate? What really is the feeling he struggles to describe? “It’s a similar feeling every time I do it,” he said. “And even though I’ve done it a thousand times, it’s impossible to describe. I’m asked that question all the time. It’s impossible to explain the feeling I get. It’s euphoric. It’s like, thirst-quenching. I’m extremely addicted to the feeling of erasing hate and this is something I chase every day of my life. It’s a drug. It’s impossible to explain what the feeling is verbally. It’s almost something you have to be doing yourself to kind of feel it.” The effect is doubled when paired with the heartwarming stories of how his work affects others for the better in the communities he serves. “When it affects me personally the most is when you’re able to see the reaction,” he said. “I come across a lot of

victims who are victimized by things like this. You see a victim who comes home for the first time and has a swastika on the garage door or a homophonic slur, or an n-word on the garage door, and it’s violating to them. So when you go through that process of removing it, really everything comes into focus. It’s not just the actual physical fact of removing it. I can blast it away when no one’s there and I get a feeling. But there’s a different kind of feeling when someone who is personally victimized is standing five feet away and crying and I’m there removing it and then I look at them again and now they have a smile on their face. “So it’s emotional. I’m not a robot. I’m desensitized from all that I have seen; but I come home after that and think about it and think ‘wow, what just happened there?’” As such, Fleischer rightly contends that the psychological impact of hate speech is far more profound than simply being a blight on the landscape. “It hurts people,” he said. “It makes people feel a certain way about themselves or perpetuates fear even to the point of people traveling a different route to avoid it. It’s terrorizing for communities. “This is literally saying ‘these people are less than us.’ That’s what hate is all about. Hate is all about demeaning people and instilling fear. “I step in and stop that cycle apart hate I steal the voice of the haters. “What erasing hate does is the next person that walks by won’t feel demeaned, won’t feel degraded by it. For the next person that walks by, it’s not there anymore. It stops the cycle of hate like it was never there. You eliminate it. “So now, the non-reaction is just as important as the reaction. It’s just as potent and just as real. Taking care of it has an equal and opposite effect. It makes a much more peaceful existence for everyone. continued ...

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“People are running towards this now. People are dying to get there and feel that feeling of erasing hate. People are now running toward the problem compared to three or four years ago when people were seeing it and saying ‘oh my gosh, I have to get away from that.’ That’s social change. That’s power.” Fleischer can tell volumes of stories of people affected positively by the removal of hate speech. He talks of a swastika painted on the side of a Jewish family’s home for 15 years, where a single mother with three kids who couldn’t afford to pay for the removal had simply painted over the swastika. But instead of boxing it out, she just painted over the swastika outline, which actually

only made it bigger. Not until she found out that there was a movement, a service, that came and removed it for free, did she call Fleischer to have it removed. “I’m six-foot-two, 250 pounds, and that swastika was bigger than me,” Fleischer said. “How could that be on the side of a Jewish family home for 15 years?” He tells of a swastika painted on the hood of a car and with it an envelope left with a letter containing a bullet and the words ‘the next time this bullet is meant for your head.’ “Now, the protocol in that situation, after that happens to you, is that you are supposed to get into your car, drive through the city with a huge red swastika on your car, take it to a garage, and then pay $1,000 to have it removed,” Fleischer said. “Think about how crazy that is in 2019!”

Another time Fleischer was assisted by an eight-year-old in the removal of a swastika from a sidewalk in front of her house that had been there 25 years. “Let that sink in for a second,” Fleischer said. “An eight-year-old girl making a

bigger difference than anyone who has walked by that swastika in 25 years.” Fleischer removes more than antisemitism. He also removes hate aimed towards black communities, Muslim communities, and gay communities. continued ...

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| PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019


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“So even though I’m Jewish, this is about more than just anti-Jewish swastikas,” he said.

THE FUTURE OF THE CAUSE That lost college student, that hockey goon, that uninspired pressure washer, he is unrecognizable today. Today Fleischer is by definition the founder of a worldwide movement erasing hate, the first movement of its kind that targets locates and eliminates hate speech graffiti anywhere in the world free of charge. “I couldn’t be more proud of that,” he said. The world has taken notice. For instance, a few years back, Fleischer was awarded a Peace medal alongside 30 people who survived the horrors of the Holocaust, then dedicated themselves to preventing the recurrence of such atrocities by spreading a message of kindness, mutual respect, and compassion. “I have no business being with those people,” Fleischer said. “I erase hate graffiti. But I will say that at that moment, with the medal around me, that’s when this whole thing began to be real. That’s when it stopped being about me and my addiction towards erasing hate and that feeling that I chase and it became about all of you. We are all in this together. Everybody is affected by hate. Every single person. And together as one we are able to end this.” What does Fleischer think the future holds for him and his movement? “This is just the tip of the iceberg here,” he said. “There are decades and decades worth of hate around the world. We’re pushing into Europe, and doing it on a much larger scale there then in North America. That’s the future. “We also now have an app that’s coming out and we’re able to identify hate and then send out people around the world to locations where hate can

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be erased. The sky’s the limit. It’s just about changing the landscape. So that maybe when your kids, or their kids, your grandchildren, grow up, this won’t even be a thing. You won’t be walking down the street and have something left up on the wall for decades that is affecting you negatively. That’s really what this is all about.” If you really think about it, there are really only three ways people express hate. There’s verbal hate – literally shouting it out face to face in a social setting. There’s physical hate – literally hurting someone’s body as a consequence of hate. And then you have the third type -- writing it down, or hate speech. Looked at that way, Fleischer’s long-term goal is to wipe out a full 33% of the way people hate. And in all actuality, the percentage is probably higher than that, given that people are far more likely to express their hate in the most cowardly way – avenues like graffiti or social media posting from a safe distance – than to actually express hate to someone’s face or to do them physical harm. What does Fleischer have to say to the thousands of readers of PW News, all of whom live and work in communities that also have hate speech on edifices and who boast the specific equipment to remove it? “They can be a part of this,” he said. “They’re all in the unique situation to be a part of this movement. And if they want to reach out to me, to be a part of that, the more the merrier. “This is a movement by the people

| PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 2 | SPRING 2019

for the people. Your reader may not be able to get access to where the hate is; but if you reach out to me and you want to be a part of this, my social network will tell me where hate speech is and I’ll tell you. That’s how we built this.” Fleischer emphasizes that people find their own way to contribute to their localities and to the world and just because they are pressure washers doesn’t mean they should join his movement. “There are a lot of people out there that won’t do it and that’s okay,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll call a power washing company in an area where I don’t have anybody and ask them to do a job and not get paid and use their time -- and I know how long it takes and how much effort -- and some people don’t get it and won’t do it and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’ll keep going. I’m not going to change everybody’s mind, but we don’t really have to.”

AN UNASSUMING SUPER HERO As proof that he’s altruistic about his non-profit work, Fleischer never once brought up the name of his pressure wash company during the interview with PW News. [For the record, Fleischer operates Provincial Power Washing in Montreal, Canada.] “I never mix in the name of my company or any information about my regular business because the two things are completely different,” Fleischer said.

“There’s a lot of people who would look at what I do end think I’m drumming up business doing Erasing Hate; so you will never, ever see my regular business on any of my Erasing Hate stuff.” Based on the ever-increasing scope of his non-profit work, it wouldn’t be surprising if Fleischer’s traditional pressure wash company has actually suffered as a result of his obsession with mission work. Fleischer doesn’t seem to care if that is the case. He’s living inspired – a far cry from his previous life where he was unable to tell anyone what he really wanted to do. In the final analysis, Fleischer is really just a simple guy. A kid with a learning disability who barely made it through college and was more interested in hockey than his studies. Someone who floundered around feeling like a dead-end professionally before he stumbled on his true calling. But now he wants people who hear about his story to believe they can do something great too even if they don’t have money or education or a political platform. And he has an interesting way of summing up his philosophy of one person’s ability to create sweeping change. “I used to wear a Batman mask to do this,” Fleischer admits. “Do you know why I wore a Batman mask? Because who is going to tell me I can’t wear a Batman mask? I’m 37 years old, I run around town in a Batman mask erasing swastikas, and I have a women’s studies degree. If that doesn’t prove to you that you can do whatever you want to do in life and make a difference, I don’t know what does.”


T R O P P U S

OUR

S R E S I T R E V D A


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