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Work/Life/In Focus: Detailing Air Force One

Columnist: Mallorie Kerrigan
September, 2018 Issue

Mallorie Kerrigan
All articles by columnist

Last year, Shawn Sepulveda became a member of an elite group: the Air Force One detailing team at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, where he and his individually selected team clean and restore historic and extremely delicate paint as well as apply protective coatings to several aircrafts worth millions of dollars. This past July, Sepulveda returned to Seattle as team leader for his crew of 10, named Detail Mafia. The team donates their time, every year, for up to two weeks at a time.

“This is my second year here,” he says. “It’s one of the most prestigious projects worldwide for my industry.” During their two weeks in Seattle, Sepulveda and his team work on the intricate detailing of nearly 30 aircraft museum pieces such as the first ever Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the first Boeing 747 Dreamliner, President John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One, the B-29 Stratosphere (first all-aluminum plane which was built for combat) as well as the very first United Airlines plane, which only seated about 12 people.

“I’m thankful to Octane Addictz and the Board Car Club of Santa Rosa for their generous contribution to me during the volunteer project for Air Force One,” he says. The car club donated funds to Sepulveda for his pro bono work in Seattle.

It was in 2009 when Sepulveda took his passion for all things automotive, and began A Perfect Experience, the Santa Rosa-based paint corrections and coating facility specializing in detailing, dent repair, polishing and correcting automotive paint. Sepulveda, a Santa Rosa native, is dually certified by the International Detailing Association (IDA) and the Detailing Success Network. He’s also an automotive detailer and paint correction specialist. His dedication to being the best in the business has garnered him the biggest and most prestigious opportunities in his industry. 

In 2016, he put the pedal to the metal, taking a full certification training, eventually receiving his detailing business certifications, paint correction, headlight repair and ceramic coatings along with full CD and SV advanced certifications with the IDA. Now, as a rejuvenation specialist, he’s taken his career to new heights—restoring planes.

But it wasn’t always smooth—in the beginning, it was a bumpy road. At 26 years old, Sepulveda was homeless, living out of his truck in Santa Rosa. “I started in the back of a pickup truck,” he says of his businesses early beginnings, starting from the very bottom. “Once I began building my business, I was able to finally rent a location, and my business grew.”

“I’ll never take a day for granted,” he says. And like most automobile aficionados, Sepulveda says he’s enjoying the ride.


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