AGRSS News Update
AGRSS Council News
AGRSS Holds Conference in Las Vegas, Highlights Group’s Work
The first-ever Auto Glass Replace-ment Safety Standard (AGRSS™) Conference, sponsored by the AGRSS Council, and held at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas the middle of October, proved to be a great success.
One of the most popular sessions during the two-day event was the keynote presentation by Ralph Nader, consumer safety advocate. His 1965 book, Unsafe at Any Speed, was an exposé of the alleged disregard automakers held for consumer safety and resulted in the establishment of motor vehicle safety laws.
Ralph Nader Gives Keynote at AGRSS Conference
He spoke to a large audience that had come together from all segments of the industry for this unprecedented event.
Nader told them that he became aware of car safety through the brutality of auto accidents he would come across while hitchhiking around the country as a student. That developed into the story of how he came to write Unsafe at Any Speed and what happened after its publication.
Nader recounted history to an audience that included people who could remember the events firsthand, as well as those who were getting a history lesson. He explained the battle over the airbag took place in the 1980s, which was where the auto glass industry’s interest in safety really came to the forefront. He told attendees that many federal motor vehicle standards became out of date in the 1990s because they had been created in the ’60s and ’70s and technology had advanced but the standards had not.
“When you hear the automakers say ‘Our vehicle exceeds federal standards,’ that’s when you should worry,” he stated.
“We now have the capability to make crashes, except for those involving big trucks, survivable at 60 miles per hour while the standards are still at 35 mph,” he pointed out. “The insurance companies are not coming to the fore to get these capabilities adopted the way State Farm did for airbags,” he added.
Discussing the AGRSS Standard, Nader said, “The auto glass industry has taken chaos and developed a Standard.” Nader explained how standards are usually minimum levels of performance, saying “An ANSI standard is developed by consensus, so it sets a floor, but a floor is better than chaos.”
The Standard itself has to be viewed as a work in progress, he advised.
“Don’t freeze it. Keep free to modify and improve it.”
Nader said a big challenge is to publicize the subject of auto glass and safety and the new AGRSS Standard.
“Insurance companies should publicize the Standard. They have a huge outlet for getting information out and could use that to increase awareness of the role of the windshield in safety,” he stated.
Nader suggested getting a consumer-advocate lawyer to look into pursuing the legality of improperly replaced windshields in terms of federal standards. He also touched on the antitrust and steering issues that the industry faces, calling them a “real sticky thicket.”
“Roll-over accidents remain the biggest issue in vehicle safety and that is your opportunity to make known the role of the windshield in vehicle safety,” he told the group. Publicize it, he advised.
Nader published his book Unsafe at Any Speed in 1965 and almost single-handedly created automotive safety 40 years ago this year. An expose of the alleged disregard automakers held for consumer safety, the book resulted in the establishment of motor vehicle safety laws.
“Talk to groups. This is not an abstract issue for people,” he added.
“Today,” Nader told attendees, “the windshield in a car and its role in safety is an issue of great importance with low visibility.”
Discussing the new AGRSS Standard, Nader said, “The auto glass industry has taken chaos and developed a standard. An ANSI standard is a consensus so it is a floor, but a floor is better than chaos.” The standard itself has to be viewed as a work in progress, he advised. “Don’t freeze it. Keep free to modify and improve it.”
Nader said the biggest challenge now is to publicize that the standard is the subject of auto glass safety and the new AGRSS Standard. “Insurance companies should publicize the Standard. They have a huge outlet for getting information out and could use that to increase awareness of the role of the windshield in safety,” he stated.
“Rollover accidents remain the biggest issue in vehicle safety and that is your opportunity to make known the role of the windshield in vehicle safety,” he told the group. Publicize it, he advised. “Talk to groups. This is not an abstract issue for people,” he added.
Registration Program Advances
An important topic on the agenda was an explanation of the new second phase of the AGRSS self-audit program which was being put into effect that month. AGRSS credentialing chairperson Carl Tompkins of SIKA went through the procedure step by step explaining what the new program means for participants.
The Standard defines the right job, Tompkins explained. The registration program identifies who does the right job, he added. Tompkins predicted that the insurance companies eventually will recognize that companies which are AGRSS-registered are a better buy even if the price they charge is higher. Currently 377 companies representing more than1,500 locations are registered with AGRSS.
In explaining that the program has moved from phase 1 (yes I will) to phase 2 (yes I do), Tompkins said, “This is new and it can be frightening, but if you take it one step at a time, you’ll be fine.”
He then went through the program step-by-step with attendees. Among the points he made are that the eight deliverables which are part of the phase 2 self-assessment program give “teeth” to the process because they actually make the company show its conformance to the requirements of the standard.
“Our goal from the start was to raise the professionalism of the industry. Safety is not a competitive issue. AGRSS registration is a tool for us to fulfill our moral responsibilities to provide consumers with safe auto glass installations,” said Tompkins, who is celebrating his 30th year in the industry.
Among the points he made are that the eight deliverables which are part of the phase 2 self-assessment program give “teeth” to the process because they actually make the company show its conformance to the requirements of the standard.
Following his presentation, Tompkins was joined by Steve Coyle, Performance Achievement Group, and Russ Corsi, an industry consultant, for a question-and-answer session about the AGRSS Standard itself. Both men are also columnists for AGRR magazine.
In a session on using AGRSS resources, AGRR magazine’s Debra Levy, AGRSS marketing committee chairperson, provided information about the marketing materials, Web resources, speakers’ bureau and other programs available to registered companies.
She pointed out that brochures will soon be available on safe drive-away times, finding unsafe conditions in windshields, and what being a registered AGRSS company means.
Levy also said that AGRSS is looking to launch a consumer-marketing program and will start with a pilot program in one or two mid-sized cities.
What Worked for Them
Other sessions at the conference included personal experiences on how they use AGRSS in their businesses with Donna Braden of Jack’s Glass and Jason Polzin with Polzin Glass in Fairbault, Minn, and a look at new technology with Glen Moses, Safelite Glass Corp.
Moses looked at some of the current technology in auto glass as well as what the prototype vehicles have. He made the point that we are starting to see shorter sidelites as a number of cars to make a sportier look. On the bigger hybrid wagon/SUVs, more all-glass roofs are showing up with a lot of window area for a very open, light look.
He went through all the auto makers and described what they have on the market, what they will be introducing in the next one to three years and which of their prototypes are slated to become production vehicles.
On the second day, AGRSS membership chairperson Jean Pero of Mygrant Glass, discussed some of the details of the new membership program.
Bob Bischoff, national glass manager for State Farm Insurance, was the final speaker on the program. He discussed the company’s new offer and acceptance program.
“This has been great,” said Gene Nichols, safety, technical and fleet manager for Guardian Automotive Products about the conference. “Traveling to Las Vegas from Worthington, Ohio, the trip was worth the time and effort spent getting there.”
“I’ve been to lots of conferences from lots of different groups over the years,” said Paul Janisse, also of Guardian. “This one was absolutely the best-ever.”
State Farm Steps Up to the Plate: Bob Bischoff
Openly Discusses O&A at AGRSS Conference
by Debra Levy
State Farm’s Bob Bischoff is not your father’s glass claims manager. Bischoff, who took over as glass claims manager for the auto insurance behemoth, made a presentation about his company’s newly-revised Offer and Acceptance program at the first-ever Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS) Council in mid-October. When not involved in some impassioned dialogue from the audience, Bischoff explained the changes in the new Offer and Acceptance (O&A) program then scheduled to go into effect that very week.
“I’d like to start by saying how important safety standards are to the industry,” he told the crowd. “The type of work AGRSS is doing is a very important step for safety in auto glass replacement.” The O&A, he explained, has not been revised since 1997, and among other changes it will now reference the AGRSS Standard. “It requires that shops on the O&A program follow the Standard,” said Bischoff to thunderous applause.
Bischoff also talked about his company’s use of METRYX to refer jobs. (For more on METRYX, see September/ October 2005 AGRR). “We are delighted that METRYX references those companies that are AGRSS-registered,” Said Bischoff. “We expect METRYX to begin to allow us to figure out the characteristics common to higher quality glass shops. It’s important to us to know what the characteristics associated with companies that have high customer service satisfaction ratings are as well.”
He further explained the relationship between State Farm and LYNX Services, which administers its auto glass claims utilizing METRYX. “State Farm offers a price. State Farm determines that price, not LYNX,” he said. “We make a decision on an offer, you make the decision whether or not you want to do the work at that price.”
Bischoff also explained some of the changes in the new O&A. “In the past, if we had a problem with a shop, we used to prohibit that one location from doing business with us. Now, we remove the entire company, not just that location.” Pricing changes will now be sent electronically and not via fax, according to Bischoff so “you must have a valid e-mail address on file with us.” He also said that this increased reliance on electronic communication “opens the possibility of electronic dispatch in the future.”
The new O&A contract requires the use of Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), added Bischoff. “There is a fee if you want us to issue a manual check to you … and that fee applies to every job, not every check.” This means, for example, if you are paid for seven jobs on one check, you will be assessed the fee seven times.
He also addressed privacy concerns. “Everything goes electronically now,” he said. “The O&A agreement is available through the internet. You have your own user ID and password. It’s true you are entrusting LYNX with a bit of this information, but you’ve been doing that since 1997. Other glass companies will not have access to your data unless you share your password with them.”
“We are going to track what [types of companies] generate better results with our customers. When the results are measured, then we can turn a recommendation into a requirement.”
The subject of gratuities was addressed. “Under the previous O&A, you could not give gratuities to agents. Under the new O&A, you can’t provide them to customers either. So you can’t waive the deductible,” he said emphatically.
Most of the questions from the audience centered around another controversial aspect of the new O&A—that the determination of market designation (A, B, etc.) is now done by where the job is located rather than where the shop is located. (AGRR/glassbytes.com will cover this issue in depth in the future.) Bischoff patiently answered all questions.
“I am here to tell you, if you contact me, you will get a call back,” he said giving his phone number to the group. “I guarantee you—you will get a response.”
Bischoff turned to safety at his presentation as well. “State Farm supports standards such as AGRSS because we support safe vehicle repairs,” he said. “It’s that simple.”
Ralph Nader Speaks at AGRSS Conference about Auto Glass Safety
by Debra Levy
Like a giant meteor slamming into the earth, Ralph Nader collided with the auto glass industry at the first-ever AGRSS conference, and left a lasting impression miles wide.
Nader, the country’s foremost auto safety expert, spoke before a packed audience of AGRSS conference participants early Sunday morning, October 16, 2005. In addition to providing a thoughtful and entertaining speech about auto safety, Nader also went into great specifics about safe auto glass installations and how AGRSS-registered companies can build upon their commitment to safe auto glass installations.
“You are in an industry of great importance, but one with low-visibility as a safety issue,” Nader began, “and you are going to have to work hard to get it higher visibility. But it is very important.”
“The integrity of the windshield is crucial to the success of the airbag,” he continued. “And the airbag is a huge safety component. It obstructs your freedom to go through the windshields. There are fewer injuries when we have the airbag as ultimate insurance. Airbags prevent blood from being shed,” said Nader.
“Just getting the airbags included in cars was a huge struggle,” he said, “and now that they are there we want to make sure they can do their job.”
Nader also spoke about auto safety in general. “A lot of the MVSS is out-of-date now,” he said, referring to the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. “We know we have the capacity to may any crash in speeds of 60 miles or less survivable.”
“Your area [autoglass] is chaos incorporated,” said Nader referring to auto glass safety. You had to get people to come together and agree to a Standard, then you had to develop it. In the midst of this chaos, you created a floor that looks pretty good,” he said.
Nader added that “the Standard is good for the consumer—it has everything for him. He urged AGRSS not to “freeze” the Standard and to “modify and strengthen it as needed” referring to the fact that the AGRSS Standard is an continuous maintenance type of standard that does allow modification when needed.
That Nader had taken the time to learn about AGRSS Standard was evident in his talk. “I have read the AGRSS Standard,” he said, “it’s a good Standard, it’s not written like most other Standards but it’s excellent.”
“Insurance companies need to embrace this Standard,” he said. “You need to show the insurance companies how the Standard will enhance their loss prevention. Their guiding principal is loss prevention. Nader said AGRSS’ next steps should next request that insurance companies recognize the Standard. “They should publicize it and encourage its use. Here is a huge chance for you to reach their customers.”he added. “If just one [insurance company] breaks rank and does the right thing, it’s a real break-through.
“The relationship of the structural integrity of the windshield to safety is out of the consumer’s sight,” Nader said. “Thirty to forty percent of the integrity of the car depends on the windshield. This is huge.”
Help from the Feds?
“You can’t expect much from NHTSA,” said Nader of the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. “But NHTSA can publicize what you are trying to do. They can put out a consumer advisory about safe auto glass installations.” (Indeed, a few weeks later, Nader did write to NHTSA asking them to do just that.
Nader said that AGRSS-registered companies have “distinguished themselves. They are able to offer product differentiation. They should be able to offer price differentiation. You have got to talk about it,” he said. “If you are really after consumer safety, you must have complete candor with the public.”
“You have survived the initial hurdle,” said Nader of AGRSS. “Now you need to get the public’s attention.”
Photos from AGRSS Conference Now Available
The official photos of the AGRSS Conference, including those taken at the private breakfast with consumer advocate Ralph Nader, are now available at www.agrss.com/conference.php.
Conference attendees can download the photographs free of charge, and printed copies of the photos are available for sale for $2.50 per print. A $10 minimum order is required. Orders can be placed through the website.
All Four AGTO Finalists Represented AGRSS-Registered Companies
Following the first-ever Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS™) Conference, held in Las Vegas October 16-17, 2005, the inaugural Auto Glass Technician Olympics took place, during which competitors were judged according to the AGRSS standard.
The event, sponsored by the Independent Glass Association, in conjunction with AGRR magazine, filled all 24 competitive slots and more than half of the competitors were representing AGRSS registered companies. All four finalists, represented AGRSS registered companies: Jeff Olive, director of quality control and master technician at Glasspro in Summerville, S.C., Lynn Lovetinsky with Auto Glass Center in Cedar Rapids, I.A., Randy Chadwick, a technician for Glasspro Inc., in Little River, S.C., and Carl Sorrels, a certified master technician at Northwest Windshields Inc., out of Walla Walla, Wash. They placed first, second, third and fourth, respectively.
The inaugural Auto Glass Technician Olympics, tested auto glass technician Olympics on their windshield replacement skills and how closely those skills followed the AGRSS Standard. Serving as judges in the competition were Bob Beranek of Automotive Glass Consultants, Steve Coyle of the Performance Achievement Group (PAG) and current columnist for AGRR magazine, and Gilbert Gutierrez of Equalizer Industries and the Auto Glass Academy. Competitors began with an equal number of points. From this number, points were deducted by the judges for errors made in the process that strayed from AGRSS Standards.
“It was pretty intense, being involved with people that degree of expertise and being judged by Gilbert and Steve and Bob … we were going to be held to pretty high standards,” said Olive. “I thought it was great—great to be involved in it, great to meet the different techs from across the country. I think it’s great for the industry. It’ll head us in the right direction and it will encourage everyone to head in the right direction—the level all techs should work to, to abide by the AGRSS Standards. I think this will take our industry a long way and I think it will help publicize it. It will make more owners and techs interested in achieving those goals.”
The next Auto Glass Technician Olympics will take place October 29-30, 2006 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. Participants at the AGRSS Conference can attend the Olympics at no charge.
Marketing, Media Materials Related to Nader Support Available to AGRSS Registered Shops
Marketing and media-related promotional material are now available for AGRSS registered shops to help spread the word about AGRSS, the Conference and consumer advocate Ralph Nader’s support of the safety efforts.
Shop owners who are interested in spreading the word now have access to a sample letter to media outlets as well as a sample press release, and all AGRSS registered shop executives should have received both samples, along with a letter explaining Nader’s support of the efforts and the best way to approach local media outlets with the information.
Registered shops who choose to use local media to help spread the word also have access to generic windshield replacement photos, courtesy of AGRSS, as well as individual and more personalized photos taken with Ralph Nader at the AGRSS Conference in October. The photos with Ralph Nader can be accessed from the AGRSS website, www.AGRSS.com or by visiting http://www.agrss.com/conference.php. To obtain a copy of the sample letter to the local media, contact AGRR magazine at 540/720-5584.
AGRSS-registered shops are encouraged to take the information to local and regional media, such as newspapers and television stations, to continue building the success of AGRSS and the AGRSS Conference while also bringing the information to the general public.
AGRSS Registered Shops Share Marketing Techniques
One of the goals of the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS™) Conference, held in Las Vegas October 16-17, 2005, was for AGRSS-registered companies to share ways to promote their AGRSS registration. Jason Polzin of Polzin Glass in Faribault, Minn., and Donna Braden of Jack’s Glass in Allentown, Pa., melded their presentation into one, hour-long seminar session geared to sharing marketing techniques that help get the company name and AGRSS registration information into customers’ hands.
Jason Polzin talked about the tri-fold brochure with a safety checklist he developed that explains what questions consumers need to ask before having glass replaced. He also had examples of the results of poor installations that he highlights when he speaks to community groups such as Rotary Club. “Visual aids help a lot. I enjoyed Ralph Nader talking about this because I have spent so much time talking to groups in my community.”
“I do a lot of what Jason does too, but what I want to focus on are interactive situations with people such as trade shows,” said Braden. To get people’s attention in those three seconds when they go by your booth, you have to be creative, she explained.
“First of all, if their windshield isn’t broken, they’re not thinking about fixing a windshield. But everyone knows about seat belts so I focus on that and then how the seat belt, airbag and windshield all work together for safety, and then the importance of a safe installation,” she said. Her final advice was to think about these two questions: Who can you think of in your community that needs to be educated on auto safety? What creative ways can you come up with to do so?
AGRSS Marketing Tools Continues to Expand
A line of marketing tools for AGRSS registered companies to use to promote their registration continues to expand. The product line includes iron-on embroidered patches and lapel pins registered company plaques/laminated stands, member plaques and tri-fold AGRSS brochures. The latest tool is the 3-inch adhesive shop decal which has been proven to be a popular item.
Soon, magnetic vehicle signs, window clings and additional customer brochures will be available to registered companies. Ordering is available by phone and online year-round at www.agrss.com. Orders may be placed by calling 630/942-6597 and order forms are available online which can be faxed to 630/790-3095.
More than 3,000 items have already been sold to registered companies and the continued steady increase is predicted for the future.
News and Updates
State Farm New O&A Explained at AGRSS Conference; Now Includes AGRSS Requirement
Among the seminars offered at the first-ever Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standards (AGRSS™) Conference in October was a presentation by State Farm National Glass Claims Manager Bob Bischoff, who explained to attendees how the new State Farm Offer and Acceptance program will affect glass shops.
Afterwards, Bischoff said speaking at the conference was a positive experience and that he felt the glass shop personnel that attended were very open-minded and receptive.
AGRSS credentialing chairperson Carl Tompkins called State Farm requirement of AGRSS in its new Offer and Acceptance program “a great precedent for other insurers’ to follow.”
Nader Asks NHTSA for Consumer Advisory Regarding Windshield Replacements
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader took his commitment to consumer safety one step further. In early November 2005, Nader wrote a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requesting that the organization issue a consumer advisory regarding windshield replacements.
In his letter, Nader described the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS™), the AGRSS Conference and how he feels the Standard directly affects the current roof crush standard, FMVSS 216, which was up for review at the time.
“The safety implications of this standard-and proper automotive glass replacement in general-can hardly be understated. As a result of NHTSA’s inadequate roof crush standard, FMVSS 216, manufacturers have built-and continue to build-vehicles that meet the standard by relying on the windshield to provide at least 30 percent of roof strength,” he wrote.
Further, Nader explained how the AGRSS Standard protects the consumer and how adherence to it meets the requirements of FMVSS 212. Citing the number of AGRSS registered glass shops and comparing that number to the estimated number of glass shops that exist in general, he encouraged the NHTSA to issue a consumer advisory “detailing the importance of windshield integrity, the relationship of roof strength and rollover crashes, proper replacement procedures-and the AGRSS Standard,” which he said “would call attention to a key component of automotive safety and importantly serve a more informed motoring public.”
At press time, NHTSA had not issued any sort of formal comment on Nader's letter or request for a consumer advisory. Spokespeople in the media division told AGRR magazine that a response to Nader would be apparent in the form of the next issuance of FMVSS 216.
A new roof crush standard was proposed by the NHTSA in the fall of 2005 public commentary was accepted from mid-August through late November. No date has been announced for when changes to the current standard or publication of a new standard can be expected.
Membership Sign-Up Contest Offers Free Trip to 2006 AGRSS Conference
The 2006 Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS™) Conference, sponsored by the AGRSS Council is being scheduled for Orlando next fall, and one lucky person could win a free trip to the conference and registration.
The person who refers the most companies to become AGRSS-registered between January 1, 2006 and June 30, 2006 will win a free trip to the AGRSS Conference in Orlando. The prize will include plane fare, hotel room and conference registration, and will be determined by the person whose name is on the most application forms as an applicant or referral (referral names can be written at the bottom of the application).
Only those applications accepted as AGRSS-registered shops will be counted toward the contest; only one person may win and prizes are not transferable.
AGRSS Registration Surpasses 1,500 Locations
The Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standards (AGRSS) Council has announced that its list of AGRSS-registered shop has now surpassed 1,500 locations.
“We topped 1,500 shops last month,” said Jean Pero, chair of the AGRSS registered company development committee in November. “AGRSS has reached an all-time high for registered companies. It shows a commitment to safety.”
The increased interest in AGRSS, on the heels of a most successful conference, does not come as a surprise to anyone and an added incentive for companies in the following year could earn someone a free trip to the AGRSS Conference in 2006.
To become a registered company visit: www.agrss.com.
AGRSS Profile: Carl Tompkins
A New-Age Johnny Appleseed: Carl Tompkins Spreads the Good Word of AGRSS Across the Country
Fall is always a busy season in the auto glass industry but Carl Tompkins, western sales manager for Sika, has been leading the jet-setting lifestyle even more than he normally would at this time of year, traversing the country and spreading the word to a growing list of AGRSS believers.
It all started off in October with the AGRSS Conference and the Auto Glass Technician Olympics that followed, which he described as an “overwhelming pleasure.”
“Next year marks my 30 years in the industry and in my 30 years of going to trade shows of every size, shape and form, I left feeling most rewarded from [the AGRSS Conference] and the Olympics,” he said. “I don’t recall going to any trade show where every seminar had a full room and no one left their seats. Everyone gained much, learned much, and left with a clear mission on each topics.”
Tompkins’ enthusiasm for the event was akin to that of an eager college first-year who isn’t disappointed by any of the new encounter.
“[It was] a wonderful experience … to come face-to-face with Ralph Nader on the subject and get to introduce him to each registered company at the private breakfast. He took the time to meet each and every one of them and there were 70 of them there,” Tompkins said “To then go to the lecture hall and hear him talk for two hours … he started with his scripted speech and then just threw down the script and talked to us, really emphasized that to reach every customer, branding is what’s going to be most important. It’s not what’s on the TV, on the radio or in the yellow pages; it’s what individual companies will do with the letters of A-G-R-S-S. With 45 years in the industry, you can’t doubt the authenticity or value of what he states.”
While meeting Ralph Nader was thrilling, the rest of the Conference and the IGA-sponsored Auto Glass Technician Olympics were, in Tompkins’ opinion, one success after another. He described Glenn Moses’ presentation about the future development of auto glass and how installations are changing for each of those platforms as “stellar” and similarly described the “What Worked for Me” sessions during which shops shared the tactics they use to successfully promote their AGRSS registration and have it bring results.
Tompkins also related that the presentations by Bob Bischoff (regarding the new State Farm Offer and Acceptance program and the language it includes requiring AGRSS compliance) and Steve Shaw (discussing METRYX, how it works and the effects it is expected to have on the industry) were well received by audience members. He described each seminar session as “homerun after homerun after home run.”
“It was huge. The audience got firsthand disclosure on every key topic in our industry today,” Tompkins said. “It’s the first time I can remember in years that we’ve got our customers and suppliers all on the same platform, working together, for the betterment of the industry.”
Tompkins wasn’t just an attendee at the Conference; he had his own presentation to make about the registration program and Phase II, the self-auditing program that allows shops to prove that they are AGRSS compliant.
“I loved presenting every detail on the new registration program and how to become a registered company and prove that they’re doing it right and [have the audience] give me feedback I can take to share the pros of the registration program,” he said.
Leaving the AGRSS Conference, Tompkins was off to Boston, having been invited to present AGRSS to the Massachusetts Glass Dealers Association. Though Tompkins said the turnout for his presentation wasn’t what the organizers had hoped, those who did attend made an impressive size crowd and, more importantly, were interested in what he had to say.
“It was great. It was a pleasure being with companies that are open to the suggestion of becoming registered and getting the facts,” Tompkins said, sharing why he feels the presentations to groups of all sizes, in all different situations are important. “If you’re not there, sharing it in person, it can lead to speculation and misinformation. It was a pleasure being invited back and going out to make the presentation.”
From Boston it was another westward journey for Tompkins, who found himself in Waco, Texas, attending the National Glass Doctor Conference, invited by Glass Doctor president Mark Dawson, who had expressed an interest in making sure all Glass Doctor franchises are clear on the corporate recommendation of being AGRSS-registered.
“Mark Dawson, as well as Dan Mock and Thom Inman have been strong [proponents] of AGRSS,” said Tompkins.
Buoyed by the growing interest in AGRSS and successful presentations, Tompkins’ next trip sent him over the moon.
“We had a fabulous campaign in Montana, where we’re piloting a new program that I’m very excited about. It deals with an independent glass distributor in the state, Northwest Glass. They brought together companies from Montana and Wyoming [with the intent of] bringing those glass companies current on the issues of AGRSS, how to become registered and how to utilize the registration for the improvement of our industry,” said Tompkins, describing the event. “We had 23 in attendance on that Saturday, all of them left with the registration packet, a clear understanding of how they, as individual companies, could come together on the same platform and promote our cause in Montana.”
“What we’re going to be doing is, as companies become registered through Northwest Glass, we’ll organize city-by-city presentations,” Tompkins said. He also said that the local presentations will not focus on just the auto glass shops.
“[We want to] get information to insurance companies, body shops, dealerships, local community leaders (mayor, city councils, local news); get everyone in to get the meeting to become a public safety interest and a public interest story,” Tompkins explained. “As they go community-by-community and have AGRSS registered companies together, they all win because safety is not a competitive issue, it’s a united issue. Everyone becomes aware of who follows the standards. They’ve already identified legislators they want to talk to. The companies left with a very realistic hope that there will be a strong future for the industry with AGRSS. It really motivated me.”
Taking a Breather
After the Montana trip, things have started to slow for Tompkins—just a little.
“I was in Columbus [Ohio] before the [Thanksgiving] holiday for Glass Expo Midwest™ (GEMS). What we did there was we had two seminars,” Thompson said.
The second seminar was the AGRSS update, making the same presentation he had at the AGRSS Conference regarding how to make AGRSS registration count and explaining Phase II of the registration program, the self-auditing aspect that gives shops a way of proving that they are AGRSS-compliant, not just saying they are. The presentation also included a discussion about how the program and the self-auditing program will benefit the registered companies and the promotion of safe windshield installations.
The Thanksgiving holiday brought Tompkins home again to Spokane, and though he says he’s done with the big trips for the year, he’s far from slowing down.
“Based on the progress and evolvement of the phase 2, plus the information State Farm provided us, [we’ll be able to] go out with a more formalized marketing program packet to the insurance industry. We’ll be able to move from introducing them to the concept of the standard to showing them more concrete information and a recommendation of what they should do to support a standard that serves them as much as it does us,” Tompkins explained. “Ralph Nader recommended that to go after hearts of the insurance industry is to go after ‘loss prevention’ and the best way to handle that is to have everyone conform to a standard. In 2004 and 2005, we went out and called on the insurance companies. They, by hearing it for the first time in a formal manner, had no way to respond to us. Now, we’re on the next step. We’re validating performance, we’re documenting it, [we can say to them] ‘we’re here to show you we’re not just talking but walking it and to make sure you understand that the standard is real. We want to know how you are going to respond to it.’”
Tompkins expects the marketing plan to be completed before the end of 2005 and rolled out in early 2006. Even before that project is finished, he’ll be on the road again, spreading the seeds of AGRSS across the country.
AGRSS Council Elects New Board Members
The Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS) Council Standards Committee elected two new members to its board of directors: Bob Beranek of Auto Glass Consultants and Carl Tompkins of SIKA Corp. Current chairperson Cindy Ketcherside of JCs Glass and Jean Pero of Mygrant Glass were re-elected. All will serve three-year terms, which began in January 2006.
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