Volume 8, Issue 6 - November/December 2006

Good, Better, Best of Belron
Two-day competition in Germany picks the top technician 
at the world’s largest AGRR company
by Charles Cumpston

It was beautiful late summer/early fall weather in Nurburg, Germany, when the Best of Belron competition was held the middle of September. The air was full of excitement and tension. This is competition at its best. And the people involved take it very seriously.

The world’s largest AGRR company staged its fourth technician event—the first called “Best of Belron” to reflect how international it is compared to the previous Eurofitter title—with technicians from 21 countries competing against each other in a live arena. 

The competition was held at the Formula One Nurburgring in Nurburg, a resort for car enthusiasts. 

Representing the U.S.
Representing the United States in the competition was Loren McGlone from Elite Glass, the company that was Belron’s first acquisition when it reentered the U.S. market two years ago.

The competition consisted of different aspects of the technician’s job—quality, safety, efficiency and customer service. They are also required to do both repair and replacement. The judges were technical managers and trainers within Belron from around the world. (The company operated in 28 countries at the start of the competition, but went to 29 on the final day of the event when Gary Lubner, Belron’s CEO, announced that a franchisee had been added in Romania.)

Dave Leach, who was attending his first Best of Belron competition, called it a “world class” event. While McGlone was busy in the competition, Leach, vice president of the central division for Elite Auto Glass, reported that McGlone had done well in the first part of the repair and customer service heats. “We’re hopeful. It looks good,” he said going into the final afternoon’s rounds.

When the last piece of glass had been replaced, however, McGlone did not get a spot in the winner’s circle. Thomas Bessel of Germany was named the winner of the competition, earning the title Technician of the Year. The four runners-up were: Laurent Doneux, representing the Belgium/Luxenbourg region, Matt Walsh from Australia, Gene Gamble of New Zealand and Joris Meesen of The Netherlands.

Jason Dansey of the United Kingdom received the Smart Thinking award, having recognized and resolved “a number of ‘bear traps’” designed to stump competitors.

New Global Competitors
Lubner explained that the company started the competition eight years ago and holds it every other year with different Belron countries serving as host. Thus this year’s host country was Germany.

“This is the first time we’ve had competitors from the U.S., Poland, Turkey and Greece,” Lubner pointed out. “We think our technicians are the best in the world and this competition determines the best of the best.”

Belron’s main suppliers of glass and urethane, including Dow Automotive, Sika, Pilkington, and Saint Gobain Sekurit, are among the sponsors of the competition.

Belron operates under different names including Autoglass, Carglass, Lebeau and O’Brien overseas as well as Elite Auto Glass and Maverick Auto Glass in the United States.

AGRR
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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.