Q&A With Steve Coyle
by Dale Malcolm

How and when did you start in the glass business?
SC - I started as a technician with Auto Glass Specialists Inc. in 1976. Prior to 1976, while I was in school, I worked part time in a local AGS retail service center helping unpack glass crates. After school, I started to go out with experienced technicians as a second man, slowly learning the installation end of the business. Soon I was working solo as an auto glass technician. I then worked in the position of internal trainer/mentor with installation responsibilities before becoming a full time trainer for Performance Achievement Group (PAG).
DM - What are your current job responsibilities? 
SC - As the training manager for PAG, I oversee all of our training efforts, including design, development and delivery. PAG also works closely with several OEM vehicle manufacturers on specific glass training, and conducts regional classes for the Independent Glass Association and various glass installation companies.
DM - How do you actually train your employees? (mentors, on-the-job, classroom, vendors or other methods) 
SC - All PAG trainers are content experts. We also work very closely with manufacturers to stay up-to-date with any new technology and procedures. If you are referring to AGS employees, they all go through a combination of mentors and one-on-one training with a qualified trainer. They attend classroom and hands-on training at some point within their first 60 days. After that, time is spent one-on-one in the field with a trainer until the technician is qualified to perform work unsupervised.
DM - In today’s difficult business environment, what is your biggest training challenge? 
SC - Early on the biggest challenge was to find a way to overcome experienced technicians who were unwilling to change because they thought what they were doing was working. As the industry becomes more aware of the safety and technical issues they face each day, participants have become more eager to learn new techniques that will help them achieve safe, quality installations. In an industry facing pricing pressures, training is still a high value return on investment. A well-trained technician is more efficient, does safer work and has fewer returned jobs.
DM - Your company conducts auto glass training around the world. What was the most unique training you have provided for glass installation?
SC - I had the opportunity to perform windshield installation demonstrations during the Automechanika show in Frankfort, Germany. Automechanika is the largest automotive industry trade show in the world. We trained individuals during the show on the application of adhesive to the glass and using proper setting techniques. This was a very new innovation for them. To be able to demonstrate proper glass installation procedures for some of the people who design the most technically sophisticated vehicles in the world was a challenge and an honor.
DM - Looking back on your experience, what was your best training experience? 
SC - Any training experience in which the participants come with a want-to-learn attitude is a great experience.
DM - Where do you look for training information and materials?
SC - We work very closely with both the auto and adhesive manufacturers for new information. We also have an excellent network of technicians that share information with us.
DM - How do you see training changing in the next ten years?
SC - I believe that training will become even more important in the future. As consumers continue to expect better value for less, training will play an important role in being able to provide the customer with safe installations while at the same time having the technician as productive as possible. AGRSS will also have an impact on the training in our industry.
DM - What changes do you expect to see in auto glass in the next ten years? 
SC -The adhesive manufacturers have done a great job simplifying their adhesive products while at the same time providing an acceptable safe drive-away time for the consumer. I do not anticipate any significant changes in this area. The changes I see are the trends toward which the auto manufacturers are heading. With more exposed edge glass and water management systems, I feel the removal process will become very challenging in the near future. Removal of the glass without damage to the vehicle is already becoming more difficult.
DM - Any final thoughts?
SC - The AGRSS Standard is probably the best development in the industry in the last few years. The industry continues to become more professional. With the new vehicles using more glass in increasingly complex shapes and applications, the need for well-informed and trained technicians is becoming more important. It is crucial to return all vehicles to an OEM level of safety when installing new glass. n

Dale Malcolm is technical services supervisor with Dow Automotive/Essex ARG in Dayton, Ohio.