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November/December 2002

Like a Hurricane
  Auto Glass Conference Flies by Marco Island, Fla.
by Penny Beverage

While Tropical Storm Isodore (formerly a hurricane) pranced around the Gulf of Mexico, the many members of the auto glass industry assembled on the Gulf Coast in the Marco Island Marriott in the midst of Marco Island, Fla. Despite Isodore threatening on the outside and construction to the Marriott on the inside, the show proved a success and drew approximately 800 attendees from across the nation and world, with one attendee traveling across the world to attend from his home of Japan (with a translator in tow).

Vrrmmm, Vrrmmm
After a day of golf outings and other recreation activities, many expected a quiet opening session. But it wasn’t so.

Ken Schmidt, former director of communications for Harley-Davidson Motor Co., roared into the main hall of the show on a Harley, wearing all leather and shocking the crowd. He followed up with a request for the entire audience to imitate a foreign motorcycle (raising hands in the air and saying “ring, ring …”).

“And how does a Harley sound?” Schmidt asked.

“Vrrmmm, vrrmmm!” shouted the audience in response, hands low, imitating some serious bike-riding.

The rest of Schmidt’s discussion focuses on the importance of building up a brand name as Harley Davidson did in the early 1990s under his watch.

“What kind of noise do you make?” Schmidt asked the crowd. “Our noise is what the people who are important to us say when we’re not around. What kind of noise does your business make?”
Schmidt then shared some tips applicable to shop owners.

In conjunction with Schmidt’s discussion and the opening session, Jeff Bull of Creative Extruded was awarded the National Glass Association’s (NGA’s) Special Achievement Award for 2002.
“This [industry] is so important to me because doing it right is a matter of life and death,” Bull said, as he accepted the award.

In addition, NGA honored Frank Levesque of Fein Power Tools for his many years of service to the association and the association awarded its first Auto Glass Technical Institute Scholarship, with the assistance of Equalizer president Ray Asbery, to John Harper of Ledgewood Auto Glass.

Time to Focus
This year’s auto glass conference offered several educational sessions for its participants and focused on a variety of topics, including the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS), profitability in shops, pricing and billing, etc.

Cindy Minon-Ketcherside, chairperson of AGRSS and owner of JC’s Glass in Phoenix, Carl Tompkins, western sales manager for the Sika Corp. of Madison Heights, Mich., and Deb Levy, publisher of AGRR magazine, took the stage first to explain the history of AGRSS and how it will affect the industry.

“Now that the standard is there, it’s your option to tell every consumer in the world that you know the standard and practice it,” Tompkins said.

Next, Bob Beranek of Automotive Glass Consultants, Chuck Lloyd of Minneapolis-based Livgard and Rabuse LLP and Doug Linderer of Go-Glass in Salisbury, Md., joined in to discuss how auto glass shops can make the standard work for them.

“Some of us think we can play the odds and be OK,” Linderer said, “but that’s not the way to go.”

Lloyd took the stand at a later time with Catherine Howard, vice president/general manager of San Diego-based NAGS, and Kurt Muller, Independent Glass Association board president, to discuss pricing issues and how to level the price playing field in the auto glass industry.

One hot topic of the entire conference was rust, and several industry experts took the podium to offer some suggestions on how to deal with the problem of rust and other types of corrosion when performing an auto glass installation in “Corrosion: A Hidden Cancer.” The panel included Dayton, Ohio-based Dow Automotive/Essex ARG technical services supervisor Dale Malcolm, chemist Mike Raykovitz, Creative Extruded president Jeff Bull and Bruce Gates of Gates Brothers in Dayton.

“If you don’t treat [corrosion], you just closed up the air bag module and left a tennis shoe in it,” Malcolm said, comparing the issue to a newspaper clipping he handed out about unethical airbag “replacements,” in which the airbag was filled with trash and said to be replaced.

Gates offered some practical ideas for training employees in corrosion treatment, along with some suggestions for how to explain the corrosion problem to customers.

Finally, Gene Nichols of Guardian Auto Glass and Beranek held a discussion on how to increase auto glass technician productivity with such simple methods as organizing driving routes in line with the technician’s route to work and organizing the tool box and van in such a way that the necessary tools could be reached easily.

AGRR Columnists on Display
Several AGRR columnists devoted their time to giving seminars at the National Auto Glass Conference in Marco Island. Among these were Catherine Howard of NAGS (“NAGS Notes”), who discussed pricing problems in the industry, Dale Malcolm of Dow Automotive/Essex ARG (“Safety Sense”), who discussed corrosion and how to deal with it, Chuck Lloyd of Livgard and Rabuse LLP (“The Law”), and AGRR’s newest addition, Cindy Minon-Ketcherside of JC’s Glass in Phoenix (Minon-Ketcherside’s column, which will focus on AGRSS, will debut next month.).


PPG Launches Repair System
PPG Industries, based in Pittsburgh, held a special media luncheon in the midst of the conference to introduce a brand-new product to the market: PPG’s own windshield repair system, the VeriFAST™ Windshield Repair System. Paul Rice, director of PPG PROSTARS, introduced the new kit, designed to make the windshield repair technician’s job not only easy, but fast. He was joined by several others, including Arone Tanner of Bend, Ore., who developed the original system, Marce Mizerak, marketing manager, and Mike McKeon, who has joined the company to help increase its repair capabilities.
Along with the kit, which comes in its own box designed to hold all the repair kit components, comes an 80-minute training video for technicians to watch to familiarize themselves with the system. According to Rice, technicians should be equipped to use the system the day after watching the video.

“Our goal is to have our technicians do a consistent repair in 15 minutes,” Rice said.

In response to why PPG, an auto glass manufacturer, would consider such a program, Rice said, “Insurance companies are demanding it.”

He added that he expects consumers—once they become more educated about the benefits of repair versus replacement—will also be asking for more repairs in the future.

Currently, the kit will be beneficial for fixing chips up to the size of a half-dollar, Rice said, but may explore longer cracks in the future.

“We’re starting where we know we’re going to operate,” he said.

The system comes with a mirror to stick on the back of the windshield to locate (and keep watch on) the break, a transparent chart to determine if the break is repairable, a scratch pad designed for sketching the break before beginning the repair, a carbide pick for opening the legs of the break (so they can be filled), a small drill, a small torch for curing, a 9-watt light and a special valve and bridge for filling the repair with resin. In addition, PPG (with Tanner’s assistance) has also developed its own VeriFAST™ resin to come with the kit.

“Do it fast, do it right, know you did it well and get on to the next job—that’s what we want,” Rice said.

Now Showing …
A number of companies save their new products until the National Auto Glass Conference to unveil them in style. This year, numerous companies followed that trend. Following are a few of the exciting new additions to the auto glass installer’s tool box unveiled at the 2002 conference.

AEGIS Celebrates 20-Year Anniversary
AEGIS Tools LLC of Madison, Wis., was celebrating its 20th anniversary at this year’s auto glass conference. Company representatives Henri Goudsmit and John Baltzer were also on-hand to greet show attendees and introduce them to the company’s array of products, which includes its new Panasonic cordless urethane gun. 

In addition, its parent company, Auto Glass Specialists, has opened several new satellite service centers, including locations in Chippewa Falls, Wis., River Falls, Wis., and Alpena, Mich.

Sommer & Maca Introduce POWR BOND
Sommer & Maca Industries of Cicero, Ill., was promoting its POWR BOND urethane in 450-mil sausage packs. The urethane is available in three types: regular viscosity; high-viscosity, solvent-free; and cold-applied, high-viscosity and non-conductive. According to the company, the sausage package is more economical than a standard 10.5-ounce cartridge, and one sausage will usually contain enough adhesive to complete one installation.

Sika and REHAU Announce Alliance
Madison, Wis.-based Sika Corp. and REHAU of Leesburg, Va., took the opportunity to announce that they have formed a “strategic alliance to provide customers with innovative and easy-to-use solutions for auto glass replacement.” The companies’ first collaboration is the new UniFit™ Pinch-N-Go™ universal moulding and adhesive system, which they also introduced at the show.

The new universal moulding package includes Sika adhesives and REHAU universal fit mouldings, which are available in five sizes. In addition, the moulding is equipped with barbs for high retention on the glass, two nylon cords to reduce stretch and snapback during installation and a lip position designed to accommodate body and glass deck variations, according to the company.

GTS Services Launches GlasPac® LX
GTS CD GTS Services of Portland, Ore., offered its GlasPac LX, a software system for auto glass shops to ease their dispatching systems, electronic data transfers, work-order authorizations, accounting systems and reporting on overall work. According to the company, the system, which is enabled by GLAXIS (see September/ October AGRR, page 53, for related story), can ease a shop’s daily work and make its overall reporting and data tracking a simple, organized process.

Reid Introduces New Catalog and Cobra Blade
Reid Manufacturing of Southfield, Mich., had its new catalog on-hand for attendees. The catalog includes a long list of the company’s many products, along with color photos, and is available on CD-ROM. Among the many products Reid showcased were its quick-release-style cold knives as well as six different replacement blades. The company will also release several new products, including the Cobra blade, which it says is “the only replaceable cold knife blade available with a convex ground edge.”

Crystal Glass Offers Cordless Kits
Crystal Glass of Calgary, Alberta, featured its Extractor Max 18 and Extractor Brute 24. The Extractor Max 18 kit is a heavy-duty 18-volt cordless kit that includes the Extractor Max 18-volt auto glass removal tool, a carrying case, two blades and a CD-ROM training video. Likewise, the Extractor Brute 24 kit includes the Extractor Brute 24-volt removal tool, a carrying case, two blades and a CD-ROM training video.

Dinol Offers D-528A
Dinol AB, whose products are distributed in the United States by Toledo, Ohio-based Pilkington North America, featured its D-528A. D-528A is a one-step primer that the company says activates and primes the frit in one step. According to the company, it is also low-conductive, blocks electric current, blocks ultraviolet rays and protects paint from corrosion. In addition, it comes in a .34-ounce tube in packages of 12 tubes each.

Equalizer Promotes Array of New Products
Round Rock, Texas-based Equalizer Industries featured both its true sine wave inverter and its 2003 catalog. According to the company, the true sine wave inverter is designed specifically for the auto glass replacement industry. In addition, the company encouraged attendees to sign up to receive a copy of its 2003 catalog, which is now available. 

Glas-Weld Introduces New Polishing Compound
Bend, Ore.-based Glas-Weld Systems announced that the company would soon introduce a polishing compound that it says will decrease the time it takes to remove a scratch by 20 to 30 percent. Innovative Polishing Systems Inc. of Stuart, Fla., will manufacture the compound with Glas-Weld as the distributor; likewise, it will be privately labeled for Glas-Weld Systems.

Would You Like Mouldings With That?
Pilkington North America of Toledo, Ohio, once again manned a booth jam-packed with visitors and new services. The most notable is the company’s Glass-To-Go system, a Desktop-based software application for querying parts locally, regionally and nationally, so customers can find what they need easily. 

Essex ARG Offers BETAPRIME U-5201
ESSEX Dayton, Ohio-based Dow Automotive/Essex ARG promoted its Essex BETAPRIME U-5201 bare-metal-etch primer. According to the company, the primer is a liquid plastic copolymer containing corrosion inhibitors. In addition, Essex ARG says the bare-metal etch primer, which can also be used for enamel topcoats, does not contain chromates.

Success for All
Attendees said the show offered numerous helpful seminars and new products to put into place in their businesses.

“I think the entire show was very informative, and I think the airbag safety seminar was extremely important,” said Scott Owens, owner of Excel Auto Glass in Lake Katrine, N.Y. Owens attended the entire conference, including each seminar, and offered comments and questions at most of these. 

Next year’s show is slated for September 10-13, 2003, in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa.


Penny Beverage is the editor of AGRR magazine.



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