Volume 11, Issue 1 - January/February 2009
AGRSS Coins New Terms, Looks to Future with Validation Program
by Penny Stacey and Brigid O'Leary
New terms, new ventures and new ideas were popular during the International Auto Glass Safety (AGRSS) Conference held in November. The event, sponsored by the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards (AGRSS) Council Inc., opened with a talk by president Cindy Ketcherside, who started a new trend when she coined a new term: the safety shield.
Ketcherside described how, at one time, the windshield was purely that—a mechanism to shield the wind. Today, she explained it is actually a structural component of the vehicle—thus, a safety shield.
“We need our consumer to know that,” she said.
As others caught onto the concept, the term began appearing in presentations throughout the two-day event, which was held November 5-6 in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center as part of Auto Glass Week™ in Las Vegas.
Though the focus was on the new, Ketcherside also reflected on the group’s history over the last 11 years, and honored three board members: Jean Pero of Mygrant Glass; consultant Russ Corsi, formerly of PPG Industries (which is now known as Pittsburgh Glass Works); and Carl Tompkins of the Sika Corp. Ketcherside also announced that Tompkins, who currently serves as Western sales manager for Sika, has been promoted to international safety liaison for his company.
Tompkins later expanded on Ketcherside’s theme of new concepts and ideas—and new faces—when he introduced the long-awaited and much-anticipated validation firm the board had chosen. Representatives of the firm, Orion Registrar Corp. of Arvada, Colo., were on-hand throughout the conference—and Tompkins’ presentation—to answer questions.
“They’re our partners,” Tompkins said, introducing Orion president Paul Burck, program development director Penny Ouellette and marketing coordinator Lori Correia.
He also stressed that much of the work is still in progress.
“We’re still not done—we have until the end of this year to complete this model,” Tompkins said. “This is affordable.”
Tompkin could not provide exact numbers, however, for registration costs under the validation program.
Ouellette also spoke to the statistics behind the model, while Burck addressed the company’s nature and quelled many fears. Under this model, the AGRSS-registered population would be broken up by location—for a total of 1,600—and would be divided into geographic clusters of 10. Each year, some of these clusters would be validated/audited.
Rob Russ with Quest and Mark Haeck with Mainstreet Computers presented information to attendees about available computer programs that help AGRSS-registered glass shops keep up with their AGRSS documentation.
“If you’re [registered with AGRSS] you can be assured you’re in compliance by using our program,” Russ said of the new Enterprise software Quest released this year. The company includes technical and software training.
Mainstreet Computers offers software that makes it easy for shops and technicians to keep track of the AGRSS deliverables from the beginning.
“We saw [the coming of AGRSS] as a good thing. There has to be a balance between accountability and responsibility. The first thing we did was make the deliverables easier to track,” said Haeck.
A Record Event
Overall, this year’s AGRSS conference saw a record number of attendees. Based on the number of pre-registered attendees, the number of people at the event surpassed even that of the first AGRSS Conference when consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader spoke.
Attendees at the event were engaging and inquisitive, walking away with an abundance of information.
“I think it was very beneficial,” said John Gore with Grizzly Glass Centers in Hayden, Idaho. “They put on a good show. I’m in sales and it will help me; it has given me tools to use when talking with customers about something new and positive.”
Penny Stacey and Brigid O’Leary are editor and contributing editor, respectively, for AGRR magazine.
Panel Takes a Look at a New “Top Ten”
5 – “Pinchweld primer? We don’t need no stinkin’ windshield primer!” Becker pointed out that this will cause not only immediate problems (and presents a safety concern) but long-term ones as well. “In today’s economy, we’re going to find our customers holding onto their cars a lot longer,” he said. “If technicians aren’t using the primer correctly, what do you think is going to happen when winter comes