Volume 11, Issue 1 - January/February 2009

New Horizons
AGRSS Coins New Terms, Looks to Future with Validation Program
by Penny Stacey and Brigid O'Leary

New terms, new ventures and new ideas were popular during the International Auto Glass Safety (AGRSS) Conference held in November. The event, sponsored by the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards (AGRSS) Council Inc., opened with a talk by president Cindy Ketcherside, who started a new trend when she coined a new term: the safety shield. 

Ketcherside described how, at one time, the windshield was purely that—a mechanism to shield the wind. Today, she explained it is actually a structural component of the vehicle—thus, a safety shield.

“We need our consumer to know that,” she said.

As others caught onto the concept, the term began appearing in presentations throughout the two-day event, which was held November 5-6 in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center as part of Auto Glass Week™ in Las Vegas.

Though the focus was on the new, Ketcherside also reflected on the group’s history over the last 11 years, and honored three board members: Jean Pero of Mygrant Glass; consultant Russ Corsi, formerly of PPG Industries (which is now known as Pittsburgh Glass Works); and Carl Tompkins of the Sika Corp. Ketcherside also announced that Tompkins, who currently serves as Western sales manager for Sika, has been promoted to international safety liaison for his company.

“Our Partners”
Tompkins later expanded on Ketcherside’s theme of new concepts and ideas—and new faces—when he introduced the long-awaited and much-anticipated validation firm the board had chosen. Representatives of the firm, Orion Registrar Corp. of Arvada, Colo., were on-hand throughout the conference—and Tompkins’ presentation—to answer questions.

“They’re our partners,” Tompkins said, introducing Orion president Paul Burck, program development director Penny Ouellette and marketing coordinator Lori Correia. 

He also stressed that much of the work is still in progress. 

“We’re still not done—we have until the end of this year to complete this model,” Tompkins said. “This is affordable.”

Tompkin could not provide exact numbers, however, for registration costs under the validation program.

Ouellette also spoke to the statistics behind the model, while Burck addressed the company’s nature and quelled many fears. Under this model, the AGRSS-registered population would be broken up by location—for a total of 1,600—and would be divided into geographic clusters of 10. Each year, some of these clusters would be validated/audited.

Rob Russ with Quest and Mark Haeck with Mainstreet Computers presented information to attendees about available computer programs that help AGRSS-registered glass shops keep up with their AGRSS documentation.

“If you’re [registered with AGRSS] you can be assured you’re in compliance by using our program,” Russ said of the new Enterprise software Quest released this year. The company includes technical and software training.

Mainstreet Computers offers software that makes it easy for shops and technicians to keep track of the AGRSS deliverables from the beginning. 

“We saw [the coming of AGRSS] as a good thing. There has to be a balance between accountability and responsibility. The first thing we did was make the deliverables easier to track,” said Haeck.

A Record Event
Overall, this year’s AGRSS conference saw a record number of attendees. Based on the number of pre-registered attendees, the number of people at the event surpassed even that of the first AGRSS Conference when consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader spoke.

Attendees at the event were engaging and inquisitive, walking away with an abundance of information.

“I think it was very beneficial,” said John Gore with Grizzly Glass Centers in Hayden, Idaho. “They put on a good show. I’m in sales and it will help me; it has given me tools to use when talking with customers about something new and positive.” 

Penny Stacey and Brigid O’Leary are editor and contributing editor, respectively, for AGRR magazine.


Panel Takes a Look at a New “Top Ten”

Jeff Bull of J Bull Associates moderated a popular—though sometimes frightening—panel entitled “The Top 10 Worst Things Overheard in an Auto Glass Shop” during the International Auto Glass Safety (AGRSS) Conference.

The panel, which included Bob Beranek of Automotive Glass Consultants, Dale Malcolm of Dow Automotive, Brian Clayton of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, and Mitch Becker of ABRA Autobody and Glass, went through the list and de-bunked some of the often-heard myths.

1 – “A-grass, what’s that?” Each panelist offered advice for helping technicians to not only increase their awareness of AGRSS, but also in encouraging them to embrace the concept. “Creating a culture in your community is important not just important for your customers but also for your employees,” Clayton said. Becker suggested it’s also important to involve technicians in the AGRSS process. “Get your technicians to believe in their work,” he advised.

2 – “You had rust on your car, so we couldn’t warranty the installation.” “Lots and lots of people have done this for years,” Malcolm said. “You can’t legitimately install over corrosion anymore and claim to meet the Standard.”

3 – “I haven’t had a problem … yet.” “I hear this in almost every class that I give,” said Beranek. “The problem with that statement is that if they have a problem, someone is probably hurt or maimed because of it.”

“A safety shield is what it is,” he added, referring to AGRSS chair Cindy Ketcherside’s opening presentation.

4 – “I’ll be done in a minute, ma’am, and you can drive your car home!” Again, Clayton reminded attendees that it’s important to create a business climate in which technicians feel better about doing the right thing—and letting the car sit for the time necessary. “Create a culture in your business and let your employees know that it’s better to do the right thing and you’ll stand behind them,” he said.

5 – “Pinchweld primer? We don’t need no stinkin’ windshield primer!” Becker pointed out that this will cause not only immediate problems (and presents a safety concern) but long-term ones as well. “In today’s economy, we’re going to find our customers holding onto their cars a lot longer,” he said. “If technicians aren’t using the primer correctly, what do you think is going to happen when winter comes around?”

6 – “I’ve been installing for seven years, I never remove cowls and I’ve never had a leaker.” “Everything seems to be about time,” Beranek said. He continued to say most technicians would estimate that they save five minutes by not removing cowls, but that, in reality, removing the cowl only takes a few seconds with the proper equipment.

7 – “The glass shop down the street said they have no problem installing over a little rust.” “Sometimes we have to make tough decisions,” Clayton said. He reminded shops that sometimes losing a job—if you’re losing it in the interest of safety—is worth it in the long run. 

8 – “I don’t think the customer will notice that, do you?” Becker reminded that while the customer may not say anything about a mishap, it doesn’t mean he/she hasn’t noticed. “Many times the customer does notice and doesn’t think it’s worth the hassle of bringing it back to the shop, but does tell everyone what a bad job you did,” he said.

9 – “My testing shows the body primer works better on the glass than the glass primer!” Malcolm pointed to the strength of the AGRSS Standard as a simple reason not to go by this type of theory. “The Standard is a great document because it gives you a great framework,” he said. “Where people go astray is when they get creative.”“You’ve got to follow the process,” he added.

10 – “I have to use this cheap crap, it’s all the insurance company will pay for.” “What would I say to my employee if they said this? There’s the door,” said Clayton. “If they’re thinking this about the jobs they’re not doing it right. And if they say it to you, how many times have they said this to the customer? Probably a lot.”  

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