Volume 9, Issue 1 - January/February 2007

Quest for the Gold

Auto Glass Technician Olympics Highlights Auto Glass Week in Las Vegas

The second annual Auto Glass Technician Olympics (AGTO), sponsored by AGRR magazine took place as part of the expanded Auto Glass Week at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas the beginning of November.
The $5,000 grand prize went to gold medalist Rob Grace of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass.

The winner of the $1,000 and silver medal for second place was Carl Sorrels, who had finished in the final four last year.
Third place bronze medal, and $500, went to Jason Horne, also of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass.

Rounding out the final four, who all work for AGRSS-registered companies, was Lynn Lovetinsky, Iowa Glass.
In accepting the award, Grace said, “This whole experience has been great. It was nerve-wracking, but I’ve met a bunch of nice guys and we’re all working for the same thing—safety and quality.”

This year, the event co-located with the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE), the world’s largest auto collision event. It was sponsored by AGRR magazine and the Independent Glass Association (IGA).

Herculean Effort
Staging the AGTO is an Olympian effort. It involved 30 vehicles for the 29 competitors. Three heats were held in the opening round, split into 9, 10 and 10 contestants. This part of the Olympics consisted of replacing the windshield in the vehicle. All work must be done according to the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS).

The top four scorers then moved on to the finals where they replaced a backlite.

Before the replacement component, the competition started with contestants proving their skills at customer-interaction. Each took to the stage in front of judges and met with “clients” (members of the show staff) to answer questions and explain the procedure of what would happen to the car.

While the competition went very smoothly, one incident reflected the reality of the real technician world. Matt Thompson, Royal Autoglass, found corrosion on his vehicle and it took him two hours to do the installation, following AGRSS procedures which dictate that any corrosion must be cleaned up before the new unit can be put in. However, he still finished seventh overall in the competition.

This year also saw the first woman competitor in the AGTO. Mary Morissette, Champion Glass, Springdale, Mass., has 20 years of auto glass replacement experience.

The Olympics are cosponsored by AGRR magazine and the Independent Glass Association. Judges for the event were Bob Beranek, owner of Automotive Glass Consultants, Steve Coyle, regional shop manager for Auto Glass Specialists and a columnist for AGRR magazine, and Gene Nichols, safety, technical ed and fleet manager for Guardian Automotive Products, Aftermarket. Jeff Olive, Glasspro Inc. and winner of the first AGTO, served as an alternate judge. 

AGTO Sponsors
A number of industry companies demonstrated their support for the Auto Glass Technician Olympics, sponsored by AGRR, in Las Vegas through sponsorship of the event. For more information see page 39.
Pilkington was a platinum sponsor for AGTO.

Sapphire sponsors were Dow Automotive, eDirectGlass, Mygrant Glass Co. and Shat-R-Proof.

Emerald sponsors were A.N. Designs, AEGIS Tools International, Equalizer Tools, Extractor/Crystal Glass Canada, GTS Services, Mainstreet Computers, OE Tech, Sika Corp. and Wood’s Powr-Grip Co.

If you are interested in sponsoring the 2007 competition please call Deb Levy at 540/720-5584 ext. 111.

Fresh from his victory at the Technician Olympics in Las Vegas, AGRR spoke with Rob Grace.
How long have you been installing auto glass? 
Almost 13 years.
How did you get started in the business? 
I saw an ad in the paper for a trainee position. Since I enjoyed working on vehicles, I applied and was hired for the position.
How challenging was the Olympics competition? 
It was very challenging. It was more stressful than I thought it would be, but it was still a great experience. 
Did you encounter any unexpected obstacles? What were they? 
In the final round, we had to remove and reinstall a backlite on a Ford Taurus. The glass in the vehicle I was working on was tight against the pinchweld at the top corner. It was very difficult to remove without damaging either the glass or the body. I had to work at it little by little, very carefully. It was frustrating, but I got through it. 
Will you defend your championship next year? 
What advice do you have for other, less experienced technicians? 
Have pride in your work. Know that what you do can affect the safety of others. Develop a good relationship with your adhesive manufacturer. Read trade magazines and Internet forums. Ask questions.
If you weren’t an auto glass technician, what would you be doing? 
Probably either an auto mechanic or something in the construction industry.
How would you describe yourself? 
Patient, hard working, honest, family-oriented.
What’s your favorite vehicle to work on? 
DW 1105—LeSabre, Eighty-Eight, Bonneville. A lot of techs don’t like working on them, but I could do them all day.
What’s your least favorite vehicle to work on? 
Chevy G-Van, ‘80s Jaguar XJ6.

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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.