Volume 12, Issue 2 - March/April 2008

IWFE Is Here!
Pack Your Tools and Plenty of Notebooks

It’s here. Before you know it, tinters from all over the world will be pouring into the Cashman Center in Las Vegas, with all of their trusty squeegees in tow. Friday, May 2, at precisely 11:25 a.m., the curtain will rise and the pressure is on for the best automotive tinters in the world. Will it be the infamous Volkswagon Beetle? Will it be a school bus full of windows? Whatever the case and challenge, an all-time high reward of $7,500 awaits the very best.

Saturday, May 3, at 10:30 a.m., architectural tinters will face their own challenge. Will it be a 1950s casement window with fixed grilles and 15 lites? Will it be a giant 6- by 10-foot picture window? Or will it be a run-of-the-mill standard? Only one thing is for certain, someone will walk away with a first-place trophy and $1,000.

So what is it like to walk into an event of this size and compete with so many spectators and fellow peers watching? Is it just another day on the job? And why put the pressure on yourself, when you could just be sitting on the couch, at home, watching television? Well, we hunted down a handful of past competitors to find out.

“I was more nervous once I got going than leading up to it,” admits Kyle Moody, co-owner of The Tint Shop in Milledgeville, Ga. Moody started tinting in 1989, tinted his way through college and has been doing it ever since. He competed in the architectural competition in 2006.

So why would a guy who’s been tinting since 1989 be nervous?

“The shear number of people in attendance and the fact that your peers are watching you—it can be intimidating,” he says.

Was it worth it? Moody says, “Absolutely!”

What would he advise for this year’s competitors?

“My advice would be—overcome your nerves,” he says. “The prize is big and there’s a lot at stake, so get yourselves together.”

Moody also advises packing large.

“Another thing I would advise is, be sure to pack and bring the tools that you’re used to using every day,” he says. “Make the extra effort to ensure you’ve got the things you’re comfortable with. I heard quite a few guys complaining that they were using something they weren’t used to, but I didn’t have that problem. I had everything there with me, so it wasn’t an issue for me.”

Moody’s advice is worth taking. He walked away with second place in the architectural competition for 2006.

There’s No Place like Home …
“I was very nervous. But what I did was, I just pretended as though I was working in my own shop on a regular day,” says George Reyna, owner of Tint Masters in Costa Mesa, Calif., and the second-place automotive winner for 2006.“You just have to get in that mindset and pretend that no one is there watching you,” Reyna advises. “It’s tough, but that’s what worked for me. Once you’re working, you just forget about it. It’s just you and the car,” he says.

Les Helton, owner of Performance Window Tinting in Carrollton, Ga., and the first-place automotive winner for 2006, says he would add one piece of advice, but it doesn’t have anything to do with tinting.

“I would advise everyone to get to the airport plenty in advance!” he says. “We were actually late getting into town, because we got caught in a 12-hour lay-over in Atlanta. We got to the airport in advance, like they tell you, but we were something like ten minutes behind schedule. After that layover, I don’t think we got to Vegas until well after midnight.”

Helton still managed to psych himself up for the event, even on little sleep, and walked away victorious.

Who’s Number-One? I’m Number-One
“It was just a really good feeling, coming away with first place,” Helton says. “They called third place … and it wasn’t me; then they called second place … and it wasn’t me; then it hit me. It was a really cool feeling!”

So Reyna, Moody and Helton all came away as three of the world’s top tinters, but is that enough to make them pack up the tools and head back to Vegas this year? What else do these champions say they earned from the experience? Money and bragging rights aren’t everything, are they?

Helton says, looking back, it was about much more than winning the cash prize and the title.

“There’s a lot to be learned from the experience,” he says. “You can learn a lot from watching other people and their techniques. I mean, you don’t know how you weigh against others without doing something like this.”

Helton says he’s not boastful, but the title speaks for itself.

“I’m not a braggart by nature. But my friends, family and customers all know I won first place and they really appreciate it, so it makes me feel good,” he says.

And no, bragging rights aren’t everything, but all agree it has its benefits. Moody agrees you don’t have to go around boasting, but it’s worth flaunting on some level, simply from a business perspective.

“I didn’t go overboard bragging to everyone about it, but we did put it on our business cards,” he says. “So that was a way for everybody to see it without me having to toot my own horn. But when the topic came up, anybody and everybody that I talked to was more than impressed … And I think as a customer, you have to feel like you’ve made the right choice when you know that.”

Jeff Carstetter, owner of Sun Shades & Graphics in Columbia, S.C., says there’s no doubt he brags. He was responsible for sending Gene Whitmer, the first-place architectural winner in 2006, to the competition.

“I sent him out there, because I knew he would win it,” he says. “The guy is awesome. His skill is incredible.”

Carstetter said in 2006, winners received medals, but he decided to do a little more for his main man.

“He got the first-place medal, but I had a sort of mock trophy made for him to commemorate the event,” he says. “We put it in the showroom.”

Carstetter says it was all part of the plan.

“I footed the bill to get him out there and in the competition, because there was no doubt in my mind that he would bring first place home and that’s exactly what we were going to use it for. And it paid off,” he says. “We had the number-one architectural tinter in the world,” he says. “We used it in our advertising too. We had it on our trucks for that whole year. It definitely got people’s attention and gave us one up on the competitors.”

Practice Makes Perfect
Helton says the more you do it—the easier it gets.

“I was nervous in 2005. That was my first time, so I was sweating bullets,” he admits. “But in 2006, I wasn’t. It felt like business as usual.”

He says there’s no question about it—everyone has something to gain.

“I would definitely suggest the experience,” Helton says. “More than anything else, it’s just extremely interesting to see how other people work. I walked away with a lot of new techniques.”

Some of these guys are returning in 2008 to reclaim their titles, or even move up a position.

“It was a really great experience competing in 2006 and I’m really looking forward to this year’s competition,” says Reyna. “My goal is first place this time.”

If you’re a procrastinator, it isn’t too late. You can still visit www.windowfilmmag.com to register for the Tint-Off®. If you’re not interested in sweating bullets or taking home $7,500, then consider the event’s educational and exhibition offerings. A slew of window film manufacturers, tool providers and industry experts will be exhibiting at the event. And the seminar line up is sure to send you home with a notebook full of useful information. 

Keynote Speaker:
Christophe Fremont,
President, Bekaert Specialty Films, LLC.
The International Window Film Expo, Conference and Tint-Off is pleased that Christophe Fremont, president of Bekaert Specialty Films will provide the keynote address on Friday, May 2, 2008 at 11 a.m.

Mr. Fremont was promoted to president of Bekaert Specialty Films LLC in September 2003, after joining the company in April 2002, as vice president of International Sales for Bekaert ECD Solar Systems in San Diego, Calif. Prior to joining Bekaert, Fremont spent 14 years at Agfa-Gevaert and held various senior management positions in a wide variety of markets. Don't miss the esteemed opportunity to hear this industry leader speak.

Schedule at a Glance
Thursday, May 1, 2008
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Pre-Event Session

6:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Golf Outing

Friday, May 2, 2008
7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

8:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
Welcome and Program Overview

8:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Conference/Seminars/Demonstrations & Keynote Speaker 

11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
International Window Film Expo™/ Americas’ Glass Showcase™ Floor Open

2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Welcoming Cocktail Party

Saturday, May 3, 2008
7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
International Window Film Expo™/ Americas’ Glass Showcase™ Floor Open

Please note the schedule is subject to change. Please visit www.windowfilmmag.com/iwfe for the most up-to-date information.

This year’s host hotel is the The Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. If you haven’t visited this Vegas classic recently, expect to notice a few improvements.

In December 2007, The Golden Nugget unveiled a $60-million expansion. The addition offers a large multi-purpose events center, an expanded gaming floor, a new sushi restaurant and a nightlife venue that’s more exciting than the past.

Red Sushi restaurant offers traditional Japanese cuisine coupled with stylish surroundings and atmosphere. This new restaurant offers handcrafted, signature sushi or sashimi, native Japanese sake and a large beer selection, nightly from 5 p.m. to midnight. Gold Diggers, the Nugget’s new hot-spot, boasts a large dance floor bordered by bartenders. A main stage offers live bands or DJs and, just steps away, this spot opens to a 180-degree, oversized balcony. Gold Diggers opens nightly at 4 p.m.

Previous renovations and additions include The Tank, a $30-million pool with a live shark aquarium complete with its own pass-through.

Seminars at a Glance 
Thursday, May 1, 2008—Pre Event Session

3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Better Business Practices Speaker: Dave McFadyen, Business Advisers International, former window film company owner

Friday, May 2, 2008
8 a.m. – 8:15 a.m. Welcoming Session and Event Overview

8:15 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. New Developments in the Window Film Industry Facilitator: Drew Vass, editor, Window Film magazine

9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Film Industry and IWFA Update Speaker: Darrell Smith, executive director of the International Window Film Association (IWFA)

11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Keynote Address Speaker: Christophe Fremont, president of Bekaert 

12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Visit the show floor and lunch on your own

2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Prospering in a Down Market Speaker: Ed Golda, president of Michigan Glass Coatings Inc.

4 p.m. – 5 p.m. Wireless Security and Film Speaker: Mike Raymond, ASTIC Signals Defenses LLC

Saturday, May 3, 2008
8 a.m. – 9 a.m. What Worked For Me and Continental Breakfast

9:15 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Plotter Systems and Implementation

10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Film on the Net: Planning an Effective Internet Presence Speaker: Manny Hondroulis, marketing manager for Energy Products Distribution

11 a.m. – 12 noon Turning Incoming Calls into Sales Speaker: Dan Molloy, Molloy Business Development Group

12 noon – 1:15 p.m. Visit the show floor and lunch on your own

1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. The World of Paint Protection

1:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Film and the Green Movement

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Glass Industry Update Speaker: Donn Harter, Americas Glass Association

Tint Off Schedule at a Glance 

Thursday, May 1, 2008

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.                     Mandatory Contestant Meeting for Auto

            For contestants and judges only

Friday, May 2, 2008

11:00 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.            Opening Ceremonies/Tinter Introductions

12:40 p.m. – 12:50 p.m.            Heat 1 Auto Prep time

12:50 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.            Heat 1 Auto

1:20 p.m. – 2:05 p.m.                     Judging Heat 1

2:05 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.                     Heat 2 Auto Prep time

2:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.                     Heat 2 Auto

2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.                     Judging Heat 2

3:30 p.m. – 3:40 p.m.                     Heat 3 Auto Prep time

3:40 p.m. – 4:10 p.m.                     Heat 3 Auto

4:10 p.m. – 4:55 p.m.                     Judging Heat 3

5:00 p.m.                                 Finalists Announced

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.                     Mandatory Contestant Meeting for Architectural

            For contestants only

Saturday, May 3, 2008

10:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.            Welcome

10:20 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.            Heat 1 Architectural Prep time

10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.            Auto Finals Prep time

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.             Heat 1 Architectural

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.            Auto Finals

11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.            Judging Heat 1

11:20 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.            Heat 2 Architectural Prep time

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.            Heat 2 Architectural

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.            Judging Auto Finals

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.            Judging Heat 2

12:20 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.            Heat 3 Architectural Prep time

12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.            Heat 3 Architectural

12:30 p.m.                               Automotive Division Winner Announced

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.                     Judging Heat 3

1:45 p.m.                                 Architectural Division Winner Announced

For more details visit www.windowfilmmag.com/iwfe

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