SEATTLE, Washington— Vic Odermat, owner of Puget Sound-area based Brown Bear Car Washes, has been honored with the “Industry Leadership Award” by the International Carwash Association on its 50th anniversary. Odermat received the award at the Car Care World Expo held recently in Las Vegas.
Odermat, who founded Brown Bear in Seattle in 1962, was cited for his distinct level of commitment to employees, the car wash industry and civic activities. Brown Bear and its parent company, Car Wash Enterprises (CWE), is one of the largest privately held car wash chains in the U.S.
Odermat is a past board member of the International Car Wash Association and currently serves on the board of the Western Car Wash Association.
“Through his vision, Vic Odermat has made major contributions to the car care industry, including industry promotion, public education, and charitable work the communities they serve,” said John Nix, a board member for the Western Car Wash Association.
With approximately 300 employees, CWE‘s Brown Bear Car Wash division operates 36 car wash facilities, including four Bubble Machine washes in Spokane and one in Tacoma. The company has contributed to over 200 charities and community causes each year and sponsored the Brown Bear exhibit in the award winning Northern Trail section of the Woodland Park Zoo.
Brown Bear has been in an aggressive expansion program since Odermat regained control of 28 locations in September 2003. He leased the Brown Bear operations in 1995 to Tosco, which eventually became part of Conoco/Phillips. Earlier this year, Brown Bear purchased six-high volume stations in the Puget Sound area and a training center from Chevron USA.