Volume 9, Issue 1 - January/February 2007
|First-ever Technician Repair Olympics Held in Las Vegas
The newest event of Auto Glass Week at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas in November was the first annual Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics competition.
Seven contestants from around the country competed in the new national competition designed to test the skills of auto glass repair technicians.
When the last repair was finished, Thomas “Tee” Thompson of Star/Superglass in Albuquerque, N.M., picked up the first-place gold medal and trophy as well as $1,000. Second place and $500 went to Jeff Olive of Glasspro Inc. in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., and the bronze medal and $250 went to Andy Larimore of Windshield Repair Specialists in Boise, Idaho.
Also competing in the first Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics were Michael Curl, Glass Pro Systems, Rich DiMassa, Dents Out Plus, Kelly Ditto, Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, and Jeff Wurst, Crackmaster.
The judges for the Olympics were Jay Bickford, director-training and development, NOVUS Glass, and Paul Gross, president, Harmon Solutions Group.
Judging for the Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics covered six major areas, including customer interaction and technician comportment, as well as safe and proper repair procedures. The judging is based on the draft Repair of Laminated Auto Glass Standard (ROLAGS).
Asked how it feels to be the first Windshield Repair Olympics champion, Thompson said, “It feels great. I’m glad it’s over; it was a little stressful.”
Thompson said that he had been preparing for this for the last 20 years. “Since the advent of the NWRA certification program, I’ve been following these steps every day.”
“I want to thank all the unsung heroes, mainly the founders of the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA), for all of the time they’ve put into developing the first certification program and now ROLAGS, along with the family at SuperGlass,” Thompson added.
The event is sponsored by AGRR magazine and co-located with the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE).
Talking to Repair Olympics Gold Medalist Tee Thompson
Fresh from his victory at the first-ever Windshield Repair Olympics in Las Vegas, AGRR spoke with Tee Thompson.
How long have you been repairing auto glass?
I received my original training in Boulder, Colo., in the 1980s. It was an intensive week-long ordeal that was a part of our franchise. Looking back, it was some of the best training I ever had. It laid the foundation for the success we enjoy today. But I’m still learning my trade everyday.
How did you first learn about windshield repair and decide to go into the business?
My wife was a long time friend of David Casey. [Ed note: David Casey is president of Superglass Windshield Repair.] In the early 1980s David, along with others, came out with the ADP machine and decided to go national as a franchisor. He offered my wife, Casey, a franchise for New Mexico, to get in on the ground floor. She, being the shrewd businessperson she is, jumped on it. That franchise morphed into the Superglass franchise we know today.
How did it feel to compete in the first Auto Glass Repair Olympics?
It felt great. I have been waiting for this day and this event for a long, long time.
Did you encounter any unexpected obstacles? What were they?
Yes! Not having a copy of the annotated score sheet the night before and having to copy it in long hand, just to study it. I owe a big thank you to Jeff Wurst of Crackmaster in Redding, Calif., for loaning me a copy of his sheet.
Will you defend your championship next year?
That remains to be seen.
What advice do you have for other, less experienced repair technicians?
Please get the best training you can and be patient with your repairs. I think it takes at least a year to become comfortable and proficient in this trade. And remember the Golden Rule with your customers. You won’t get rich in this business, at least monetarily, but the satisfaction of doing a great repair and exceeding your customers’ expectations are immeasurable.
The one thing I would like to get across to everyone is how important it is to be professional in our approach and to raise the bar for our industry. Join the NWRA and take advantage of all it has to offer and by all means get certified. It will distinguish you from your competition.
Tee Thompson, who describes himself as 53 years young, is happily married with three children and a grandfather.
The Walt Gorman Windshield Memorial Repair Olympics has been named in honor of the industry icon who was the owner of A-1 Windshield Doctor in Seekonk, Mass., and a long-time AGRR columnist who passed away recently.
The competition in Las Vegas was opened with a formal ribbon cutting ceremony at which his wife Judy and members of his family were present. In opening the competition, she said, “I can’t tell you what this means to me and my family. Until the end, the industry and AGRR magazine meant so much to him. I wish he could, and think he is, witnessing this.”
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