SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — A Bay Area man who makes his living detailing cars got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do what he knows best on a historic plane. Once his skills were shown, it became a recurring job.
Shawn Sepulva spends his days detailing all cars, from speedy race cars to vintage muscle cars. But it wasn’t a car that kicked his detailing career into a higher gear.
Sepulva is part of the Air Force One Detail Team that is specifically selected to detail the planes at the American Aviation Museum. The team got to detail the very first Air Force One as well as other historic aircrafts, including the B-29, the B-52, and the first-ever Boeing 747.
Sepulva has had his hands on aviation history. “You know, being able to put your hands on something like that isn’t something a lot of people get to do, and I wanted to chase bigger things,” he said about the opportunity.
Sepulva is proud to be a part of the illustrious history behind these aircrafts. “There is a big sense of accomplishment, and knowing the way my kids look at me, that’s a good feeling, knowing that their dad is doing something really cool, something they can brag about a little bit,” he said.
Even though he already owned a Perfect Experience Auto Detailing shop in Santa Rosa, Sepulva still had to undergo months of special training and classes, get an international detailing certification and apply to be selected by the Air Force One Detail Team.
“I almost cried when they called me,” Sepulva recalled. “I was on the phone and I almost cried. It was just one of those pinnacle moments in my career.”
Under the buff and polish of 10 years of hard work is a man who started from nothing. Sepulva was homeless when he started his company.
“I slept in my truck and guarded my things for like six months. I built this from that,” he said.
2018 was the second year that Sepulva was on the team keeping the planes in pristine shape, but this time around, he was a manager.
It took the team six ten-hour days to complete the detailing, and Sepulva was proud to show off his work.
“My kids, my grandkids, everybody can go out there and it’s not going to be a deteriorating plane. So you get to just enjoy U.S. history for many years to come,” said Sepulva.