Volume 10, Issue 2 - March/April 2008

industry insiders
people in the news

Belron® Holds Triathlon for South African Organization 
More than 560 Belron employees from 13 different countries competed in a triathlon in London last August to raise money for MaAfrika Tikkun, an organization that assists disadvantaged and impoverished communities in South Africa.Six of the 560 were from Belron US: 

  • Geoffrey Cowles, computer operator shift supervisor in Mount Vernon, Ohio; 
  • Brian Ehrlich, production scheduler in Columbus, Ohio; 
  • Brent Fiegel, warehouse lead in Davenport, Iowa; 
  • Paul Groves, director, materials management in Columbus;
  • Jeremy Ward, contact center coach in Columbus; and 
  • Matt Weger, IT director in Columbus.

  Fiegel, who has been running for about three years and has participated in several marathons, says he was excited to have the opportunity to run in the triathlon. He says he only learned of the event about three weeks before it occurred—but trains so often anyway that it was no problem for him to prepare.

“Well, I am kind of in constant training mode,” Fiegel says. “I’m training now for a fall marathon.” Fiegel was in London for five days for the event, and the team placed 32nd out of 52 teams.

“It was a great experience. I can’t wait until next year,” Fiegel says.

Ehrlich, who bicycled 40 kilometers in the competition, says this was his first competition of this sort.

“We got kind of late notice, but we made it,” he says. Ehrlich already was an avid athlete, but hadn’t focused on cycling before.

“I did the bike leg, and as far as biking, I just started doing that right as I found out I was to go.” As for this year, he hopes to return—but expects the competition to be a bit steeper within the company.

Either way, though, he expects the 2008 team to have a strong showing.

“Next year we’ll win,” Ehrlich says. Ward had also participated in triathlons before, but not of this scale, he says. In the Belron event, he participated in the cycling portion.

Ward says, “Luckily, I was already kind of in shape, so I kept doing my daily routine, and I just had to get ready for the bike portion.”

And is Ward returning next year?

“I definitely plan to register for a couple more [events] in the States and go back next year and do [the Belron triathlon] again as well.” 

CRL Vice President Audette Passes Away 
C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (CRL) vice president Jim Audette, who also served as assistant to the company’s president, passed away on December 9 at the age of 67. Audette was with with CRL for 44 years. Audette was heavily involved with the development of many of CRL’s products. He also helped create CRL catalogs, and assisted in the design and construction of many of CRL’s facilities, both the headquarters campus and the branch warehouses.

“He was a true professional and a great friend,” says Don Friese, CRL chief executive officer. “He contributed so much to this company. He was one of the most talented people ever to be a part of CRL. He will be deeply missed by all of us.”Audette is survived by his wife, Ramona, and three children.

PPG Auto Glass Employee Killed in Accident
A PPG Auto Glass employee, Edward W. Kocian, 61, was on January 25, after a car accident in Westmoreland County, Pa., while on his regularly scheduled route. According to reports from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Kocian’s vehicle struck a garbage truck.

A statement issued by PPG says company officials are in contact with the Washington Township Police and are reaching out to Kocian’s family to provide assistance as needed.

“PPG will conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident and will cooperate with local law enforcement officials,” reads the statement. “The thoughts and prayers of all of PPG’s employees are with the Kocian family as they seek to cope with this tragic loss.”

Kocian is survived by a daughter, Merry K. Kocian, and a son, Michael Kocian, both of Columbia, S.C., and two brothers, Richard Kocian of McDonald, Pa., and Kenneth Kocian of Pittsburgh.

Bell’s Glass Owner Passes Away
James L. Bell Sr., 58, of Sissonville, W.Va., the owner of Bell’s Auto Glass in Charleston, W.Va., passed away on January 29. He worked in the auto glass industry for 35 years.

Bell is survived by his wife, Linda Bell; son, James L. Bell Jr. and his wife, Tina, of Fort Mill, S.C.; a daughter, Michelle Songer and her husband, Kevin, both of Sissonville; a brother, John A. Bell of Charleston; a sister, Sandra J. Turner of Sissonville; and several grandchildren. Bell was cremated, as was his wish, and a memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to HospiceCare, 1143 Dunbar Ave., Dunbar, W.Va., 25064.

Harlingen Glass Founder Gonzales Passes Away
Claudio Gonzales, the founder of Harlingen Glass Co. in Harlingen, Texas, passed away on February 26 at his home. Gonzales also was a founding member of the Texas Glass Association (TGA), a past president of the TGA and a past president of the Rio Grande Valley Glass Association.

Gonzales, who retired from Harlingen in 2001, died of a heart attack at the age of 76. He is survived by two daughters, Sandra Tovar and Jerry Ingles, and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Dora, who died earlier this year.

“We owe Claudio a great deal of thanks for his efforts to help build the TGA,” says Ray Soliz of Harlingen Glass Co., who also serves as a TGA board member and has known Gonzales since 1986. “He was very influential—he was a mentor.” Soliz and Gonzales founded two companies during their time working together, Custom Glass and Coastal Glass.

Techna Glass Employee Killed in Car Accident
Deymor Chacon, director of sales and marketing for Techna Glass in Sandy, Utah, was killed in a car accident on October 13. Chacon, 33, is survived by two sons, ages 13 and 6, and a daughter, age 10. “He was an incredible salesman—dependable, hardworking and a very important part of my team here,” says Troy Mason of Techna Glass.

Techna Glass has set up a fund to help Chacon’s family through this difficult period, the Deymor Chacon Donation Account. If you wish to contribute to the account, call Zions Bank at 800/974-8800 or mail donations to the Techna Glass corporate headquarters at 460 W. 9000 S., Sandy, Utah, 84070. 

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