Wesley Bloeme '17
Class Year: 2017
Major at MC: Finance/Accounting
Senior Thesis Topic: “College Athletes Deserve Compensation "
Current Town/City of Residence: Atlanta, GA
Occupation: President/CEO of WiseGuys Pro-Wash, LLC
Describe your career path since graduating from MC.
I was recruited to play football at Maryville College. When I enrolled, I thought that MC would just be a stepping stone for me and that I would transfer to a larger school after a year or two to play at a higher level. I also wasn't certain what my major would be, even though I thought it would be in business-related. I ended up having a successful freshman football season and was able to accomplish all of my on-field goals; starting, winning the conference, and playing in the NCAA tournament.
Around the spring of my freshman year, I declared Finance/Accounting — I knew that eventually I wanted to start my own company and believed this major would help me the most with that. What I didn’t know, at the time, was that I would coincidentally start a pressure-washing business only a few months later after talking to one of my childhood best friends. We were looking for a way to make some extra money while both home in Atlanta over the Summer. Although neither one of us had ever pressure washed before (or had the equipment to do so), I thought that it could work.
We set out with a goal to make $3,000 over the Summer. In the first couple of weeks we not only figured out who we could borrow a machine from, and how to use it, but we also hit that goal. My friend had plans to take classes the next Summer so I ended up purchasing his half of the equipment at the end of the Summer. By the time I arrived back on campus to start my second football season I had made over $18,000.
After my second season, it became evident that I wasn’t good enough to play for a small D1 school like I had hoped. Instead of transferring from MC, I decided to legitimize the pressure washing business that I had started the Summer prior. I didn’t believe that I could both run the company and play football at a high level, so I decided to hang up my cleats.
Furthermore, I formed College Student Pressure Washing, LLC, got a business license, general liability insurance, and created a website. I started pressure washing not only in the Summer in Atlanta, but also in Tennessee during the school year. I eventually started hiring other college students to help me.
In 2017, I graduated from MC (cum laude) and moved back to Atlanta to continue to grow my business. I was able to pay for 100% of my college tuition without the need of incurring student debt. The company has since changed its name. WiseGuys Pro-Wash, has seven full time employees, and is the highest rated company in the Atlanta Metro area.
Describe your typical day in the office.
The beauty of being the CEO of a startup company is that not every day is the same. I get to wear multiple hats which keeps things interesting. I wake up early to get to the office by 5:30 am. It gives me a chance to do some critical thinking before my technicians arrive by 6:30 am. Once they arrive, I meet with the Crew Leaders and go over that day’s route to make sure everyone is on the same page before they head out to the first job at 7 am. That is about the same time that my sales and admin team get to the office. We usually review yesterday, today, and the plan for the rest of the week. Then I usually have a few hours to complete whatever project I am working on before lunch meetings with a client, another business owner, or my business coach. I usually spend the rest of the afternoon getting my time sensitive tasks done. I usually leave the office around 6:30 pm to make the 7 pm workout class at Orangetheory Fitness. I am usually asleep by 9 pm.
What’s been your most exciting professional experience to date?
Honestly, the most exciting professional experience would have to be getting an office. When I started the business, I stored all my equipment inside the two-car garage at my mom’s house. My mom would park her car on the left side of the garage, and I would park my trailer on the right side. During my senior year, my mom downsized into a townhome with no garage. It felt catastrophic at the time and I thought it would to derail my company.
Eventually, I found a storage unit a mile from her town home where I could store my equipment when I was in town. I started to look for an office space in the winter of 2017 and by February 2018 I was moving in. It was an old church inside a warehouse office. It was a good size for my needs because it was 1,600 sq feet (400 sq feet of office, 1,200 sq foot of warehouse) and it was even better because we could drive the trucks and trailers inside. My dad helped me clean and renovate the space to make it suitable in order for me to hire my first full time non-college student employee. A year later in 2019 we moved into a much nicer 5,000 sq ft space.
How did your MC experience prepare you for your vocation and/or life?
Maryville College was exactly what I needed being that I was not a good student in high school. Although, I didn’t really get in trouble, I was late every day because I didn’t want to be there. So much so that my senior superlative was: "Most Likely To Be Late to Graduation."
At MC, I was able to grow up. When arriving on campus at MC, I didn’t even know how to type with two hands. I would hand-write my essays and give them to my mom to type up. I was determined to learn how to type, so I took a free online typing course and got up to about 60 words a minute.
Living in Maryville, Tennessee was a completely different environment than what I was used to. What I perceived as normal growing up, was not the same at MC. The slower pace and more intimate setting allowed me to figure out who I really was, without the distraction that I would have had at a bigger school.
My professors really took the time to invest in me, not only as a student but, also as a person. This helped me not only graduate with honors, but also create and grow my company.
What are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?
It’s actually hard to believe, but I like to work. I love being productive, and the challenge associated with owning a small business. Business is the ultimate game and a lot like sports. Although I cannot play sports anymore on the same level I did when I was younger, owning a business still gives me the opportunity to compete. I also really enjoy learning about other successful businesses like Apple and Amazon. I listen to a lot of audio books (last year I read/listened to 55 books). I also enjoy listening to business podcasts and going to industry conventions. Last year, I went to four conventions across the country in Orlando, Las Vegas, and Nashville. I see right now as an opportunity for me to front-load my career since I do not have any responsibilities of a family of my own. I want to work really hard now so that way I don’t have to work so hard later on when I have other people in my life to spend time with.
Since graduating from MC, what has made you the most proud?
What has made me the most proud is how many people I have been able to help by spraying water. When it comes to both customers and employees, my company and I have been able to make a big impact. We have done work for about 2,500 customers over the last six years or so and hired 10 full time employees at the peak of our season this year. Whether it’s getting our customer’s home cleaned up before having a wedding at their house, before they sell or buy a house, or cleaning up a dangerous area that keeps them and their loved ones from slipping, it is rewarding.
For employees, it is really cool that I have a great group of people who believe in me and my vision of the company. Through my efforts, I have been able to create jobs for people (good-paying jobs) and they are able to use that income to provide for their family. That is really satisfying to me, and I’m proud of that.
Complete this sentence: My classmates may be surprised to learn that I _____________.
My classmates should be surprised that I graduated on time. I dropped so many classes at Maryville. My transcript showed I dropped nine classes but it does not include the three or four that I dropped after the first day. There were a few instances where I would attend a class for the first two months of the semester, only to drop it right before failing the first exam because I didn’t pay attention or do my homework.
The worst part for me was definitely my senior year, Spring semester. I needed 127 credits to graduate, and I knew I had 129 credits if I finished my full course load the last semester. I was very focused on my company and was pressure washing at least 50 hours a week while a full-time student. Halfway through the semester I was making a C in one of my classes, which would drop my cumulative GPA below a 3.5. This would have prevented me from being able to graduate with honors so I decided to drop the class. Doing so put me under the threshold of 127 credits at 126.
Luckily, Noah Bowman, with the Academic Support Center, allowed me the opportunity to serve as a Cooper Success Academic Mentor. This meant that I would help student athletes with their homework and studying for exams in exchange for a single credit. Since I started late in the semester, he made me promise that I would be there every night in order to make up for the late start. I did it and was able to earn my 127th credit right before graduation.
What’s your best memory from your years as a student at MC?
I have a lot of great memories from when I was at Maryville. My most memorable experience was during my freshman year. I went to MC under the impression that since I was being recruited to be a place kicker on the football team that I would start right away. I couldn’t have been anymore wrong.
I arrived on campus with seven other kickers. Since I wasn’t playing well I ended up being eighth string on the depth chart and did not get to travel with the team the first three games of the season because they were away. I ended up working my way up the depth chart and before our first home game, Homecoming 2013, I was the second string kicker and was dressing for the games.
I didn’t know how Game Day worked, except that I had to be in Pearsons Dining Hall, by 7 am. My roommate was on the football team too, but he was not dressing for the game. I was the only person on the floor of my freshman residence hall that was dressing (at least on the city side of Copeland) and was determined to not be late as I always was!
I ended up sleeping through all my alarms, waking up at 6:55 am. I hurried and scrambled to get myself dressed. As I was about halfway between Pearson’s and Copeland my watch hit 7 am. I saw Coach Rader, the head football coach, standing on the steps outside of Pearsons. He saw me, but didn’t yell or motion so I continued to casually walk towards him. When I arrived to Pearson’s at 7:02 am he stopped me. He said, “you know Wesley, this is why you aren’t playing right now. We can’t trust you. You cannot do the little things right.”
During the game, the starting kicker did not do very well so I thought it would be my chance to get in the game for the first time. Instead, however, the Assistant Coach told the third string kicker to go in the game instead. Immediately, Coach Rader walked up to me on the sidelines, and said “If you were not late this morning, you would be in right now.” Then he walked away. I thought I was never going to touch the field again.
Two weeks later I got my opportunity at LaGrange College, my first away game. The starting kicker made a couple mistakes, so they finally gave me a chance to go into the game in the second quarter. I kicked a couple of touch backs and made some PATs. I played good enough to start the next and last 15 games of my career.