Seek Week

Those Seeking Education Found it at Auto Glass Week ™ ’22

Attendees of Auto Glass Week™ 2022 in San Antonio rushed to get a seat for XYG North America-sponsored keynote by Mike Rowe on September 15. That same exciting energy was also on prevalent display for the numerous educational seminars, exhibits and competitions that dominated the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center throughout the week.

Here are the highlights. Make sure you receive the newsletter to your inbox daily to stay up to date on all the industry news. You can do so by visiting and checking off the glassBYTEs newsletter option.

Seminar Spotlight: Wed., Sept. 14

Wednesday’s seminars began with Nick St. Denis, director of research for AGRR magazine’s parent company Key Media & Research. He addressed the state of the auto glass market. While 2021 saw a recovery from COVID-19, thanks to a return of consumer sentiment and stimulus incentives, inflationary pressures have caught up, he reported.

That means new vehicle production and new vehicle sales are both down, resulting in an increase in aftermarket demand. St. Denis said commuter travel is recovering with respect to miles driven, though some companies returning to the office offer hybrid options.

Leisure travel is also making a comeback but inflation could limit its recovery in the long term. St. Denis said the impact of smaller increases in miles driven on AGRR companies can be offset by additional offerings, such as ADAS calibration.

“One in five vehicles currently on the road has at least one ADAS feature,” he said. “That’s dramatically increasing over time.”

Disruption Ahead

St. Denis was followed by Frank Terlep, CEO of Auto Techcelerators, who discussed disruptions in the auto and vehicle industry during the Industry and Vehicle Disruption: Opportunity or Threat session. Terlep said disruption is led by overconfidence, a sudden collapse and ongoing decline. Disruption is an opportunity—or a business killer—for companies.

“The chances of you ever recovering is practically nil,” Terlep said.

Terlep covered six industry and vehicle disruptions including new vehicle technology, connected cars/big data, ADAS services and collaborations, consolidation, insure tech and artificial intelligence.

Calibration Education

When should a company begin looking at offering calibration services, and what are solid practices for doing so?

That was the topic of the seminar titled Yay or Nay: Starting a Separate Business for Calibration. Panelists included Brandon Fisch, CEO of Drive Tech ADAS; Gary Hart; Barry Lintner, owner of Correct Calibration Services; and Jacques Navant, technical director at frogitout and chairperson of the Auto Glass Safety Council’s ADAS committee.

Panelists said that prior to offering calibration services, a company must first gauge the number of local competitors as well as service gaps. The number of jobs required to break even must also be considered, as well as the company’s reason for entering into calibration.

Companies also need to build rapport with competitors and convince them to send business their way. Success, according to panelists, comes down to inspiring people with whom the company works.

Repair Renaissance

Navant, also a panelist for this seminar, reminded attendees that, just like snowflakes, no two repairs are going to be the same.

Those in the audience sought guidance on when windshield repair is the correct course of action. Panelists say that any crack or chip in or near the camera viewport will likely require replacement. Linda Rollinson, president of the National Windshield Repair Division (NWRD) and its Repair of Automotive Laminated Glass Standard (ROLAGS) committee, recommended pre-scans for those scenarios in which the chip is near the camera.

She also spoke to the benefits of communicating with the customer, which in turn serves to educate and retain the customer for the future.

An Update on an Updated Standard

Next up was an introduction to the newly updated auto glass replacement safety standard (AGRSS) developed by the AGSC’s AGRSS Standards Committee.

“We basically changed quite a bit of things concerning ADAS,” said Bob Beranek, chair of the AGRSS Standards Committee.

Beranek said the standard is based on customer safety, the technicians themselves and associated safety concerns, as well as considerations that make businesses viable. There will be a new section in the assessment category in the updated standard, as well as in the recordkeeping and education categories.

The last Auto Glass Week™ session of the first day saw coverage of new legislation introduced in certain U.S. states, including Virginia and Massachusetts.

The Rowe Show

Mike Rowe, a television host, writer and narrator, spoke to a capacity crowd on Thursday to discuss work that makes the lives of people possible during an XYG North America-sponsored keynote.

“I want to tell you about the moment in my life when I realized everything about work was wrong,” said Rowe.

The story starts when Rowe’s mother called him to tell him that his grandfather, who was a jack of all trades, was soon turning 90 years old and wanted to see Rowe do something that actually “resembled work.”

Enlightened, Rowe went to his boss at his news station in San Francisco and pitched a segment to capture the lives of everyday people and the types of work that they do. Rowe went out and attempted to cover industries not typically known to the common person, like crawling through the sewer systems of San Francisco.

“It takes a minute for your eyes to adjust, but your nose doesn’t take time to adjust at all,” recalls Rowe of his time in the sewers. “The stench gets on your teeth. You’re just stunned. Once your eyes get adjusted, you look down and realize that you’re standing in a river of crap. You just stand there festooned in this filth.”

To Rowe, this looked like a place of work. A place that his grandfather would recognize. My grandfather was going to love this, said Rowe, and my grandmother would be so proud.

Thanks to his time interacting with the cockroaches, rats and excrement that reside in the sewers of San Francisco, Rowe’s view on work changed completely.

“I was watching something that I had not seen before,” said Rowe. His time spent in the sewers caused him to realize that everything he had learned in his career had been wrong. He had become disconnected with everything during his time in front of the camera.

“At that moment, in my cubicle, I saw something on my screen that looked like truth,” said Rowe. “I needed something to give me a shake.” He cut the video, aired it and was fired the next day.

Rowe proceeded to take the segment, shopped it around and turned into Dirty Jobs on Discovery. Since then, “the last 30 years have been like groundhog day in the sewer,” said Rowe. “But, it’s been great.”

Throughout his time on Dirty Jobs, Rowe realized that many business owners struggle to find skilled laborers. As a result, Rowe created his foundation, mikeroweWorks, which strives to close the skills gap by challenging the stigmas and stereotypes that discourage people from pursuing the millions of available jobs.

“That’s why I am here today,” said Rowe. “I am standing by to help out. If that doesn’t work, I have the sewers.”

From Technician to Owner

Many auto glass companies are searching for more employees. But what if you’re not searching for new employees, but rather looking to shift from a technician to an owner? That was the topic of a seminar titled From Technician to Owner: Your Path to Success.

The path from technician to owner is a tough, rewarding grind. Each technician-to-owner has his own journey, whether they got laid off from a previous job, wanted to do things better or were fighting to survive.

For many, the ability to control what happens, like purchasing the proper equipment to hiring the best people, is more than worth the difficult times.

“It’s something that I always wanted to do because I can control the quality going out of the shop,” said Aaron Bradford, owner of Driftwood Auto Glass. “There’s nothing better than being your own boss.”

A Mobile-Only Primer

Community trust also played a part in the next seminar of the day. With emerging and ever-evolving ADAS technology in vehicles, the path forward for mobile-only operations isn’t always clear. Panelists for the session titled Bye Bye Brick and Mortar: Your Future Business is Mobile, recommend building relationships with brick-and-mortar businesses to allow for safe calibrations.

“There’s nothing wrong with being a mobile shop, it’s all in how you do your business,” said moderator Peter Brown. “If you’re going mobile, you want to have relationships with a brick-and-mortar shop or a business that does calibrations.”

Jonathan Laski, CEO of City Auto Glass, said there is no mobile solution for calibrations.

“Get a bay partnership with someone and utilize their bay space,” he said. “This will be a financial decision that can make all the change in the world. It allows you to build trust in the community by having a location that lets the community know you’re here to stay.”

Keep in mind that those relationships require mobile-only shops to run off the schedules of their partners, at least in part. Aaron Bradford, owner of Driftwood Auto Glass, said that his partners are happiest when customers are sent their way quickly.

Panelists also provided seminar attendees with some additional tips and tricks for success. David Owuori, owner of Kar-Glass in Texas, recommends a hybrid model if the mobile business can afford it. If not, he said relationship-building is vital.

Gunning for the Future

The seminar titled Young Guns: Meet Your Future Employee and the Next Generation of Auto Glass Specialists saw the newest generation of auto glass specialists take the stage to answer questions about their experiences in the auto industry.

The best part of the auto glass industry is the educational aspect, said Jennifer Curbow, customer service representative at NOVUS Glass. There’s always something to learn. Jorge Sandoval, owner of KD Auto Glass, adds that he loves the fact that he can control his own time as an owner.

When it comes to the types of people that do well in this business, the ones that succeed are the ones with drive, said Sandoval.

“You have to be teachable,” said Sandoval. “The people who fail are not problem solvers. If you’re not able to solve all the issues, you’re going to become really stressed out.”

“You also have to be able to adapt,” said Curbow. “You have to be willing to try new things. That’s the great thing about trade shows. They provide ample opportunity to learn about new methods and technologies.”

Friday’s Finale

The first session of the day, hosted by Michael Lopez, president of Auto Glass Now, and Mars Shah, president of Driven Glass, dove into how small business owners can source new business and build lasting relationships.

According to Shah, the best steps for a company to become successful and enticing to customers is to create a winning culture, bring value to your services, listen to the needs of those around you, stay consistent with your core values and build processes that deliver repeatable outcomes.

The day continued with Cybercrime: How to Stay Safe Against Ransomware Shutdowns and Other Threats, which saw 20-year FBI veteran and security expert Jeff Lanza use real-life examples of the latest hacks, security breaches and computer scams to demonstrate how cybercrime occurs and what countermeasures we can take to combat the innovations of criminals.

Career Day

There’s no better industry than the automotive industry, students were told at the first ever Career Day sponsored by Auto Glass Safety Council. Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe kicked things off and answered students’ questions for nearly an hour.

John Laski, CEO of City Auto Glass, said that not only is there money to be made, but auto glass is also an easy industry to join. He adds that if you learn the trade, you can get any job in the auto industry if you apply yourself.

It has been difficult to find auto glass installers. That’s because most people assume that a four-year degree is an appropriate path for financial success. That’s far from the truth. Glass technicians and tinters can make a ton of money, said Roberta Rodriquez, owner of Modesto Window Tint. That’s compared to those who pursue a college degree and ultimately end up with tens of thousands of dollars in debt while working low-paying jobs.

Champions League

The winners of the Windshield Repair Competition (WRO), Auto Glass Technician Competition (AGTO), Calibration Competition and the Customer Service (CSR) Competition were announced Friday night at Auto Glass Week™ 2022 in San Antonio. Congratulations to all winners!

Windshield Repair Competition (WRO) Winners
1. Alfredo Calva, Alfredo’s Auto Glass, Corona, Calif.
2. Mauricio Hernandez, Autoglass Tec, Zapote, San Jose
3. Macenzie Curbow, Novus Glass of Kennewick Washington,
Kennewick, Wash.

Auto Glass Technician Competition (AGTO) Winners
1. Alfredo Calva, Alfredo’s Auto Glass, Corona, Calif.
2. Macenzie Curbow, Novus Glass of Kennewick Washington,
Kennewick, Wash.
3. Jorge Sandoval, KD Auto Glass, Moreno Valley, Calif

Calibration Competition Grand Champion
José Gomez, Dons Mobile Glass/The Calibration Station, Modesto, Calif.

Customer Service (CSR) Competition Grand Champion
Jennifer Curbow, Novus Glass of Kennewick Washington, Kennewick, Wash.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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