Volume 11, Issue 1 - January/February 2009

Design Protection
2 Competitions, 2 Champions, 1 Goal 
AGTO and WRO Bring Out the 
Best of the Best of the Auto Glass Industry

When Randy Chadwick of Glasspro in Charleston, S.C., and Matt Andersen of Novus in Spokane Valley, Wash., set out for Vegas this fall, both had one goal in mind: to become a champion. And both succeeded. Chadwick took first place in the Fourth Annual Auto Glass Technician Olympics (AGTO), while Andersen took the gold in the Third Annual Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics.

Both returned to their respective homes a little wiser—and a little richer. Chadwick took home a first-place prize of $10,000 and Andersen won $1,000 in the repair competition.

But Chadwick stresses that the money is just one of the benefits of winning. He competed in the competition in its inaugural year, 2005, but has taken a break since.

“It really wasn’t about the money,” he says. “I mean, the money’s good, but to me it’s the medal and the pride of winning something you spent so many years investing your time into.”

Anderson, a second-time WRO champion, says he may be spending the prize money on his next trip to Vegas.

“I’m going back to Vegas I bet,” he says. “I don’t know for sure, but there will be plenty of places for it to go.”

Both champions admit that, despite prior competitions and (in Andersen’s case, an earlier win) the competition remains staunch.

“The competitors probably get harder to compete against,” Chadwick says. “They get better. You know, some of them have been here before, some have won already—I competed, I think, against two gold medalists. Like I said, the techs are getting stronger at what they do every year.”

Andersen concurs.

“The competition’s always a little bit stressful and I couldn’t be happier about having a good result, so that’s what it’s all about,” he adds.

The AGTO was held November 7-8, and the repair contest was held November 6. Both competitions are held in conjunction with Auto Glass Week™ in Las Vegas and are co-located at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center with the NACE Expo, the International Auto Glass Safety (AGRSS) Conference, the National Windshield Repair Association’s annual conference, and the Independent Glass Association’s fall marketing conference.

Inside AGTO 
The AGTO drew 24 contestants from throughout the nation. Each contestant replaced the windshield on a 2008 Mazda 6 in the initial heats of the competition, and the backlight was replaced in the final round.

After Chadwick, 2006 gold medalist Rob Grace of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass in Harrisburg, Pa., took second place, with a score of 241 and a time of 1:59. This was Grace’s third time competing—and his third time making it to the finals. In 2007, the 15-year veteran finished in fourth place.

Brendan Picard, a second-time competitor, took third place in the competition, with a score of 239 and a time of 1:50. Picard is with Novus Auto Glass in Regina, Saskatchewan, and came to the competition after winning the Glass Dealers Association of Saskatchewan qualifying competition two years in a row.

Tony Shaw of Restoration Auto Glass in New Brighton, Minn., took fourth place, with a score of 234 and a time of 1:38.

“Winning the AGTO has been a tremendous honor for not only our champion Randy Chadwick, but for everyone at Glasspro,” Heinauer says. “ ... All of us at Glasspro realize a champion first and foremost provides a safe installation. In particular this has been a tremendous launching point for preparing to be audited by an independent third party, and being AGRSS-[registered]. We see this as an additional way to distinguish Glasspro in the marketplace.”

In addition to the top-three medalists, Adam Udave of Izon Auto Glass in Scottsdale, Ariz., was recognized with an innovation award for cleaning down the entire vehicle with a feather duster before returning the car to the “customer.” Picard also was recognized with an innovation award for using a particularly unique dash cover while working on the vehicle. 

Inside WRO
Now in its third year, the WRO gathered six contestants from around the world. Each contestant repaired a rock chip in the windshield of a Mazda 6 in the initial round, and finalists took on double-breaks on the same vehicles. 

Competing against Anderson in the finals was Brian Fenner of Safe Glass Technologies, who ended up in second place. 

John Ciotti of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass took third.

Next YearIt’s never too late to start preparing for next year’s competitions. The Fifth Annual AGTO will be held November 6-7, and the Fourth Annual WRO will be held November 5. Both events again will be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

An Installer’s Perspective
by Clint Hanson

This is the first time I have competed at the Auto Glass Technician Olympics. 

I’ve been there twice before to watch my guys compete; watching from outside the competitors’ area is a completely different experience. 

Before leaving Minnesota for Las Vegas, there was certainly a lot more to think about this time. How in the world am I going to get all my tools from Minnesota to Las Vegas? How do I decide which tools to bring and not be stuck at the competition needing a tool that I had three of back home? Once you have narrowed down the tools for the windshield replacement you also have to plan on making it to the finals, which may involve removing and installing a backlite. 

Competition is tight at the AGTO; you need an almost perfect score (255 total points) to make it to the finals. This year you needed to have 252 points to qualify. So once you have your tools, the techniques and have the rules memorized, you are ready to head to the land of bright lights and give it your best shot. It only comes around once a year. After you arrive and register, you head to the contestants meeting wearing your best work uniform. There you meet the judges, get your picture taken and go through a little interview; you are now ready to compete. 

Each person is different, but, for me I had to lie down and relax before my heat. When the competition got underway, it really hit me when I had three judges constantly coming over to my station. For about 10 minutes, I could not stop sweating. Once that was over I regained my composure, I knew what to do and I kept telling myself, just do your best install; it’s second nature.

Waiting to see your score posted is like waiting for your final grade, or maybe waiting to see if you were on the A or B team. Those hours are long. I didn’t make the cut. I was disappointed but I knew two mistakes cost six points and my score ended up where I calculated it would. My employee, Tony Shaw, on the other hand, was at the top of his game, placing second and heading to the finals. I was on the outside rooting for my team the following day.

Overall, it was a great experience to see how we compare to installers from all over the country. I would say that all of these guys are great technicians; it really opened my eyes to see what a good installer is and what a great installer is. I can only imagine the competition getting tighter in the years to come. 

Clinton Hanson, president/owner of Restoration Auto Glass in New Brighton, Minn., was a first-time competitor at this year's AGTO. This article is reprinted courtesy of the Minnesota Glass Association newsletter. 

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