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From Military Leader to Rock Star Franchisee: How One Man’s Military Training Helps Him Run a Successful Business


Keeping vehicles looking new, extending their life and ensuring the highest resale value are three of the many reasons Ziebart products and services continue to be in high demand around the world. Recognizing this need, military veteran Nick Lambie decided to bring the premium automotive appearance and protection franchise to his hometown of Morgantown, West Virginia.



Before becoming a business owner, Lambie spent nine years as a U.S. Airforce Weapons Director. In this position he was responsible for the tanker and fighter aircraft during missions, which required him to direct the aircraft on where to go and what to do, and pay close attention to detail. During these missions it was crucial that they worked together as a team, and trusted each other to get the job done. 

Lambie’s decision to open Ziebart first started after he had been to one of the locations in New York. Impressed by the quality of service and friendly demeanor of the employees, he knew this was something he wanted to be a part of. While he is still active in the military and serves in the Air National Guard, he also wanted to be able to provide opportunities for the people in his hometown, thus his decision to open Ziebart. 

Lambie approached this new endeavor with passion and determination, and enlisted his military skills to help develop his leadership style. Lambie knows that the health of his business can be directly related to the health of his employees, and the atmosphere he creates for success. This was proven earlier this year when Lambie was named among an exclusive list of 12 Franchise Rock Stars of 2022 by leading industry research firm Franchise Business Review for his outstanding achievements as a Ziebart franchise owner. Having only opened his doors three years ago, his determination and open leadership style are key components to his success. 

Comradery Plays a Huge Role in Company Atmosphere and Achievement

Seeing how his team operated together in the military, it was important to Lambie to create a similar comradery within his business. He learned that strong communication is what truly fosters growth and productive teamwork. It is important to Lambie to take care of his employees, and to award them the respect that they show him.  

He believes that one of the best things you can do for your business is to listen to everyone’s input, and create an open atmosphere that fosters ideas. His staff feels like family, and together they are able to collaborate and create a business that not only operates efficiently, but provides the best experience for both employees and customers.

“The best way to move forward is to listen to each other and be open to new ideas,” said Lambie. “I am always looking for ways to improve, and I try to encourage my team to take initiative and find ways we can progress together.” 

One of the aspects that sets Lambie apart as a leader is how he considers everyone on the team, including himself, as equals. He works side by side with his team to help out and coach them in the field, and doesn’t see a hierarchy within his business. Lambie dedicated himself to being well versed on all of Ziebart’s services, including auto detailing, paint correction, Ceramic Z-Gloss® Paint Coating, window tint, Z-Shield® Paint Protection Film, and the service Ziebart is best known for – rust protection. 

“Nothing is more important than being honest with yourself and your employees,” said Lambie. “I know that I am not the best at everything, but I try to focus on being the best that I can be for my employees, and my community.”

His ability to empathize with customers and employees is one of the biggest factors that makes Lambie a valued leader. It’s this quality that has trickled down and helped foster his other strong leadership traits, such as open communication, understanding what people need, finding a beneficial solution, and having a passion for what you do. 

Recognizing Greatness and Looking Ahead

Over 273 nominations from franchisors were considered for the Franchise Rock Star Award, and only 12 were picked. The nominees were judged on what it really means to be a Rock Star, including leadership, business acumen, financial and professional success, and contributing to their community. Lambie’s leadership style, attention to detail, passion for his business, and determination to create a beneficial atmosphere for his employees earned him a spot on the list. This is just the beginning of his success, as Lambie recently signed an agreement for his second franchise location in Bridgeport, West Virginia. Eager to bring his leadership style and determination to this new location, Lambie is excited to be able to contribute to his community on a larger scale. 

Founded in 1959, Ziebart International Corporation is the worldwide leader in premium automotive appearance and protection services that extend the life of vehicles. Ziebart operates over 400 locations, with 1,200 service centers, in 35 countries. Ziebart continues to grow and offers domestic and international franchising opportunities, a best-in-class investment for qualified prospects.