The recipient of the 2011 “You Make It Happen” award, recognized at NECA’s November 1st meeting, was Patti Kaplan of Starlite Carwash in North Reading, MA. Patti is well-known to everyone for her unbounded enthusiasm, considerable charm and tireless efforts on behalf of NECA.
How did it all begin? As is the case with many members, she is from a car washing family, and as with many second generation car washers, helped at her dad’s car wash. Patti’s dad, Karl Mueller, originally an engineer, is well-known to many of our “older” members.
But, Patti set her sights on a different career. After graduating (valedictorian) from Burlington H.S., and from the University of NH where she studied marketing, she worked at Jordan Marsh in their training program. Then, she took a job at Zayre where she met her future husband, Dennis.
In the 1980s, Patti and Dennis became manufacturer’s representatives, often traveling overseas. She always knew she would go into the car washing business, and when her Dad passed away in 1993, she took over Starlite Carwash. She renovated and rebuilt the facility, and the rest is history.
Patti’s maintained Starlite Carwash’s NECA membership and in 2003, was invited to join the Board of Directors. She jumped in feet first, volunteering to work on the golf outing and the NECA section of the Northeast Carwasher. In 2005, she was asked to run for Treasurer. During her term, she refined the budgeting process and built up our reserves through very careful management. She served as 1st and 2nd Vice President before becoming NECA President in 2009. Over the years, she has coordinated the launch of the NECA web site, headed up the PR/Advertising Committee and stepped in whenever help was needed. In fact, we don’t think she has ever said “no” to NECA!
And, Patti has been an extremely active Past President, chairing the Golf Outing and the Membership Committees, and participating in just about everything NECA does. She doesn’t disguise her love for NECA and the close friendships she has formed.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention Patti and Dennis Kaplan’s other notable achievements, their daughters: Michelle, recently married, is an attorney living in NYC; and Amanda, a marketing manager, lives in Waltham.
So, Patti Kaplan, for all you’ve done and continue to do, we honor you with the “You Make It Happen” award. You are one of NECA’s greatest assets!