Jacques Navant receives the auto glass industry’s highest honor
By Chris Collier
The Carl F. Tompkins Award for Auto Glass Safety is the industry’s highest honor—awarded by the Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC) and named after Carl Tompkins, its first recipient and longtime industry veteran. Jacques Navant of Don’s Mobile Glass is the 2023 recipient of the honor, joining an illustrious list of individuals who have helped professionalize and advance a growing industry.
A Major Milestone
Navant will receive the Carl F. Tomkins Award at Auto Glass Week™ 2023,
taking place Sept. 20-22 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in Virginia Beach, Va.
Born in Colorado, Navant started his career in 1994 as a technician at a Safelite AutoGlass location in Lakewood, Colo. In 2010, he was promoted to technician manager, a position he held until 2013. He then transitioned to the role of quality manager where he remained until 2016.
Today, he’s the technical director for three related companies—Don’s Mobile Glass, The Calibration Station and frogitout tools, all based in California. He also serves as an AGSC board member and chairs the AGSC Advanced Driver-Assistance System (ADAS) Committee.
Navant says the auto glass industry has allowed him to travel across the U.S. and the world during his 29-year career.
“It started as a summer job,” he says. “I had just finished high school and was contemplating going into engineering or commercial art. I got a summer job at a place called Safelite AutoGlass. It escalated into a career. It’s a summer job that never ended.”
Navant says he was “blown away” when he learned about his selection
for the award. The first person he told about it was his wife and mother of their 18-year-old son, Jacques Louis.
“It puts a cherry on my career,” he says. “It’s amazing—it doesn’t seem real.
With me being in the industry for 29 years and us married for 22, she’s a fan of the industry. She knew about this award and knew what a big deal it was. I still can’t believe it.”
Safety First—and Always
Navant says it was strange to see what the rest of the auto glass world was doing after leaving the corporate bubble in which he had spent two-plus decades. “As my relationship with the AGSC grew, so did my understanding of the true state of our industry.”
Citing tool and technological advancements—ADAS, in particular—he says auto glass companies can benefit from a resource like the AGSC to help
future-proof their businesses.
“In a convoluted world, it’s important to have a group like the AGSC to help sift through all the nonsense and noise, to guide us through and into the future,” Navant says. “I don’t think most people in our industry know how much blood, sweat and tears go into creating and maintaining our industry standards. Most people hate or fear change, but whether we want it or not … it happens.
“Our industry needs the AGSC. The AGSC is crazy enough to gather our industry together twice a year to help all of us map out our future and establish standards for each of us to build a framework for successful development. At the end of the day, the most important thing we do is provide a safe installation for our customers.”
Pointing to advancements in calibration, Navant says auto glass companies have a prime opportunity ahead of them.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a time in our industry when there’s been a better jumping-off point,” he says. “It’s a new golden age for our industry.”
Navant says his proudest accomplishment is being able to create tools and equipment that makes life for technicians easier.
“I was there for 16 years, in a mobile van,” he explains, “and I understand what can ruin your day or make you late for dinner. Creating stuff that makes life easier for technicians so that they can make that dinner with their wife—it’s cool. It’s the neatest feeling ever.”
David Leach, chief operating officer at Don’s Mobile Glass, first met Navant when they both worked at Safelite. Their passion for unique music sparked a friendship and business partnership. “I’d come into my office, and there’d be a CD—I’d make him one too,” Leach says. “It was all weird stuff from the 1990s or the early 2000s. It could be anything from hardcore punk all the way to instrumental.”
Navant also enjoys swimming and low-impact skateboarding. When his feet are on solid ground, he’s an avid reader, which explains the vast knowledge his closest colleagues praise him for.
“I know the amount of dedication and commitment that Jacques has put into the AGSC,” Leach says. “He grinds and goes and goes. He wants to change the way people perceive our industry and the way people embrace their careers. He’s the kind of guy that will make people want to be in the trades.”
Stephen Mort, president of Don’s Mobile Glass, has been in the auto glass industry for 45 years. Mort says Navant is the best auto glass mind in the nation when it comes to installations.
“He’s got strengths that I haven’t seen in many other people in our industry,” Mort says. “He has the ability to take young men and women and train those people to become top-notch auto glass technicians. He’s probably developed 90% of our technicians over the last six or seven years.”
Navant’s advice for developing your own techs? Invest in their tools and training.
“If you have technicians in your care, jump in a truck with them and learn what ruins their day,” he says. “You don’t need to be a multi-location business to be successful. Educate your team and good things will happen.”
The Carl F. Tompkins Award for Auto Glass Safety, sponsored by the AGSC, recognizes those who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the auto glass industry. Jacques Navant joins an esteemed group of auto glass professionals who have won the award. The complete list of recipients is below.
2014—Jean Pero and John King
2022— Bud Oliver
Chris Collier is a contributing writer for AGRR magazine.
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