Volume 10, Issue 5 - September/October 2008

Let the
Games Begin

A Look at Past Olympics Champions


Some might say he’s the auto glass industry’s own Michael Phelps. But you’d never know by talking to Jeff Olive of Glasspro Inc. that he’s a well-known industry champion. But the humble Olive admits that his championship in the first-ever Auto Glass Technician Olympics (AGTO) has brought positive benefits to his life and work. Today, Olive heads up training at Glasspro, which is based in Charleston, S.C. Since his win, he has served as a judge at the competition, held in Las Vegas each November. And the reach extends further than this.

“I think the notoriety of winning the Olympics has helped my career tremendously,” Olive says. “It opened up quite an area of respect from my comrades in the industry.”

And even further, the insurance industry has even taken notice.

“I am pretty amazed by the respect I get from insurance customers and agents,” he says. “Every now and then I’ll be involved in a continuing education course and they’re quite impressed with hearing of the competition. I’ve had quite a few [agents] say they won’t go anywhere else because of this.”

But Olive’s not the only one who’s reaped the benefits of winning such a competition.

For Jason Horne of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, the winner of last year’s AGT O, the personal benefits rank highest.“I don’t think it’s changed me any, but I think it’s given me a better feeling about myself as far as what I’ve accomplished,” he says.

Customers
of the Harrisburg, Pa.- chain notice it too.

“We advertise locally and they use my pictures in the ads,” he says, “and a few customers have recognized me from that.”

Tee Thompson, who took home the gold in the inaugural Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics (WRO) in 2006, shares that benefit at his SuperGlass franchise in Albuquerque, N.M.

“Most definitely I use it in any advertising and have been known to shout it from the rooftops,” he says. “I feel immense pride in having won the gold.”

Thompson also appreciated the chance to have his daily skills put to the test.

“I felt better just by competing and exposing my work to objective judging,” he says. “I told myself even if I wasn’t going to win, I was going to give it my best shot. I truly had been waiting for a competition like this for a long time.”

And, even if he hadn’t won, Thompson says he feels the competition would have helped him as a technician.

“It takes you out of your comfort level by putting your skills on display for the whole world to see, so to speak,” he says. “The experience can help shed light on any of your weaknesses.”

Rob Grace, winner of the 2006 AGTO, also took away a personal  benefit from competing—and winning.

“[The competition] makes you more aware of what you’re doing and [makes you more aware of] trying to do things the right way, the way they’re supposed to be done,” he says.

Matt Anderson of Novus Auto Glass in Spokane, Wash., took the gold in the 2007 WRO, and, as a result, is able to use the logo on his van—not to mention he is able to mention the competition in his conversations with customers and potential customers.

“It helps me in terms of promoting sales directly with my customers and instilling their confidence in my work,” he says. “They’re always glad to hear about it and they usually have some questions about the competition.”

Words of Wisdom
Despite the fact that most of the past champions of both the AGTO and WRO plan to compete again in the future, many are willing to offer advice to future participants.

Preparing for the competition should be an everyday occurrence, according to Olive.

“You need to think of every job throughout the year as an Olympics install, and you shouldn’t have to do any more in the competition than you do in your daily routine,” he says. “If you can do that all year and you go to the competition, you shouldn’t have any problems finishing as a qualifier.”

Anderson echoes that sentiment.

“Nothing replaces everyday professionalism,” he says. “[Technicians] can’t learn that overnight. They’ve got to be professionals to start with.”

Knowing the standards incorporated in the competition—the Auto Glass Replacement Standard (AGRSS) for AGTO and the Repair of Laminated Auto Glass Standard (ROLAGS) for WRO—is also an important factor.

“If you are incorporating sound repair techniques and following the ROLAGS Standard, you won’t have a problem,” Thompson says. “Let me add, if you are doing this on a daily basis now, the WRO will be a piece of cake.”

While daily practice is key, once technicians arrive at the competition complete with spectators and judges watching, sometimes nerves come into play. Grace advises potential contestants not to let this get to them, though.

“Try not to let the pressure get to you,” he warns others. “You know what you’re doing, or you wouldn’t be there.”

Anderson also provides some practical advice, which applies to both competitions: be sure to read the rules provided on the websites for each competition (www.autoglassolympics.com and www.windshieldrepairolympics.com).

And, from Olive comes some lighthearted advice: “Don’t use too much blue tape.”

Defending Champions
Olive has served as judge since his AGTO win and has competed in WRO each year since its inception.

Anderson and Horne, both the most recent 2007 champions in the WRO and AGTO, respectively, plan to return this year to defend their titles. At press time, Andersen had not yet registered, but said he intended to re-enter the WRO. Horne was one of the first to register for the 2008 AGTO.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Horne says. “I’m hoping to be a little more relaxed this year—and just go in and do my best. And, if my best isn’t good enough, it wasn’t mean to be. I’ve got to give it all I’ve got. I’d like to go for two in a row.”

Grace also hopes to return to this year’s AGTO.

The Details
Both competitions will be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas this November. The AGTO, which is co-sponsored by AGRR magazine and the Independent Glass Association (IGA), will be held November 7-8. The WRO, co-sponsored by the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) and AGRR magazine, will be held November 6. At press time, AGTO corporate sponsors included Pilkington North America, AEGIS Tools International, Mygrant Glass, Gold Glass Group and Crystal Glass. GlasWeld had signed on as a corporate sponsor of the WRO.

Both events are held in conjunction with Auto Glass Week in Las Vegas™, which also includes the Auto Glass Safety (AGRSS) Conference, the IGA’s Fall Marketing Conference and the NWRA Annual Conference. ❙❙➤ www.autoglassolympics.com ❙❙➤ www.windshieldrepairolympics.com


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