D&S 50-Year Anniversary Career Highlight: “Grady” Greg Mercer

“Grady” Greg Mercer:

The D&S One Man Army

As the longest serving employee in D&S’ history at an astounding 33-year career and counting, one man walks the grounds of D&S with unparalleled knowledge and know-how of the operations within.  We’re talking of course, about the one-man-army known as Greg “Grady” Mercer.  Hired in 1989 as part of the vacuums department, Grady has nearly done it all on the manufacturing side of the process and has become a pivotal point in D&S’ structure.  When within the walls of D&S on any given day, the most spoken phrase is often “have you seen Grady?” in attempts to track the man down for assistance or input.

A one-man-army isn’t built in a day, but Grady began to build and grow very quickly.  During his time in the vac department during D&S’ early years, Grady would build 10+ vacuums a day while assisting with packaging and loading.  For the young 20-year-old Grady – it was a good gig, as even in those early years, D&S was a family owned company with good people all around him.

“[I’ve always] liked the work, it’s been a very good company all the way through.  I remember Judy [Gonzalez]’s sister running up to me with the news that my son was being born and to get to the hospital with my wife.  And if you ever have a problem, there’s always someone here willing to listen and help address those concerns.”

Fast-forward a few years, and Grady would reflect these thoughts with his actions by continuing to improve his skill set and lend a hand wherever needed inside the company.  After gaining experience in the vacuum department, Grady would then accumulate skills in the Meter Room, Vending, Packaging, Shipping, Receiving, Assembly, among many others.  It’s not an exaggeration to describe the man truly as a one-man-army – but he also never fails to recognize the importance of the roles other people play in the process.

“Judy [Gonzalez], Warren [Mason], Berni [Enghauser], Wanda [Stilwell], I’ve worked with a lot of amazing people that helped make everything happen, no matter what it was.”

With this level of humility, Grady also realized the astounding transformation of car washing technologies over his career.  “The DS5000 changed the game with U-Rails – before that [the norm] was just a hovering sprayer on a track above the car.  Then with the IQ and its ultrasonic scanning – it’s incredible the change in technology over the years.”  

Grady has particularly noticed the change in self-serve technology, and the comeback its made with consumers.  “Self-serve especially has changed a ton.  It used to be just dirty hoses, now you have stack units which incorporate injectors and can operate multiple bays at once.  Easier, cheaper, and much more user friendly technology being used now that attracts more people to come wash their cars.”

Through his deep experience with D&S, Grady has watched the company become a car wash industry powerhouse, but also observed the evolution of the company itself.  Grady has been around for all 3 sets of D&S Ownership, and throughout all 3 iterations, Grady expressed that “D&S has always been a family-owned company – and that itself is a great thing.”  

Additionally, Grady mentioned that he sees “no real ceiling in the realm of possibility” for the future of the company.  “People around the industry are saying ‘this is what’s needed’ to which D&S answers ‘we’ll make it happen.’ and we do.  We continue to fill needs in the industry that are otherwise unavailable.  Look at what’s happening with the Large Vehicle [segment].  A wash that can clean an 18-wheeler – the question becomes ‘what will they come up with next?’ That’s what’s going to keep this company moving forward for a long time.”

The experience and knowledge Grady has of D&S, the industry at large, and that of his own 2 hands create a pillar of the company that we wish to take this time to acknowledge.  Thank you for 33 years of amazing work Grady!

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