Behind the Champions
How Employers of Auto Glass Olympics
Winners Have Contributed to
—And Benefited—from Their Success
Behind every Heisman Trophy winner or Most Valuable Player award, there’s
always a supportive team. And so it is with industry champions—those who’ve
won past Pilkington Classic Auto Glass Technician Olympics (AGTO) and
the Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics (WRO). Behind each
and everyone one of the competitors—and winners—there has been a solid
team or support system that has assisted them in training for victory.
And, in most cases, the teams behind them have benefited as well.
One particular team that has been involved in the AGTO (and later the
WRO) since the beginning is Glasspro in Charleston, S.C. The company has
not only produced two AGTO winners, 2005 champion Jeff Olive (who went
on to become a judge) and 2008 winner Randy Chadwick, but also recognized
early on that the competition would be helpful to the company as well.
“I just thought it was a great idea to have a competition like that,”
says Glasspro owner Paul Heinauer. “I thought it was a great opportunity
for technicians and I thought it also was a great opportunity for our
company as it helped market the champion and one that performed excellent
The first year, preparation was more difficult than it is today—as technicians
now have past competitions from which to draw experience. But that didn’t
“Our plan was to go to win,” says Heinauer, “so we talked about what makes
a quality installation and we went through that. I remember we had a couple
of conference calls and then [representatives from] Dow [Automotive] actually
came down and worked with most of our folks going through the competition.”
At that point, Heinauer says he doesn’t even recall if there was a point
system to go by, but the company developed its own checklist at least.
The company recognized both Olive and Chadwick early on as potential winners,
and both competed in the first competition.
“Obviously, we talked about the full-cut method, protecting the car, pre-inspections,
and doing a very good job at the customer service end. We thought it crazy
to lose on those,” says Heinauer. “We had people evaluate their work so
they could get prepared in terms of fixing this and that.”
Obviously, Glasspro hit the mark—as Olive emerged the winner of the first
AGTO and Chadwick placed third.
Will Brandt, president of Novus Auto Glass of Saskatchewan, also has coached
a competitor, Brendan Picard, to near-victory (Picard placed third in
2008) but he started as a spectator at the event.
“I heard about the AGTO and went down, but that wasn’t the first thing
on my mind,” says Brandt. “The latest tools were the first thing on my
But, watching the competition made him curious about how his technicians
“First seeing it, I thought, ‘gosh, we’re not good enough,’ but I thought
we should try it out,” he says.
Picard was chosen initially as the winner of the Glass Dealers Association
of Saskatchewan’s windshield replacement competition—which was judged
based on the AGTO guidelines, Brandt says.
In preparation for the actual AGTO, Picard studied the AGTO score sheet,
and he used his everyday training as shop foreman.
“We made sure we had all our tools packed, and we decided we’d just do
what we do here and see where that places us in the event,” Brandt says.
Picard didn’t place in that particular competition. When he returned in
2008, after again winning the GDAS competition, the company changed its
“We have laminated the points system and it’s hanging near our work area
bench,” Brandt says.
Last year, Picard placed third in the competition, and he plans to return
this year for a third attempt at the gold.
While all the AGTO and WRO competitors spend a good deal of time in preparation
for the event, with their teams behind them, one question sometimes comes
up among those less familiar with the competition: why?
“We saw it really as being something fantastic for the people competing,”
says Heinauer. “We also saw it as a great way to market our company. It
was a great verification of who we are.”
Today, Glasspro features both Chadwick and Olive in its company ads. And
customers have taken notice of these as well.
“You’ll have people who will call in and say, ‘I want that guy—the guy
who was on TV—to do my job,” recalls Heinauer.
Dave Casey, president and owner of SuperGlass Windshield Repair, the franchise
company that produced the first-ever WRO winner, Tee Thompson, uses a
“It’s on our website, right on the front page for sure,” says Casey. “We’re
most proud it was the first ever and, in the only [competition] we’ve
ever entered, we won gold.”
The gold-place medalist’s company is awarded not only the use of the Olympics
winner logo on stationery, business cards and in ads, but also a congratulations
ad in AGRR magazine, and extensive media coverage and press releases sent
on its behalf.
Brandt also promotes it, especially among its customer base—which mostly
comes from insurance claims.
“It assures them that they’re dealing with a company that cares about
doing their glass replacement properly,” says Brandt.
He adds, “[We promote that] even more than just replacing your windshield,
we’re interested in doing it right.”
Likewise, the company’s Olympics training has changed the way Glasspro
“If someone joins our company, we train them to the Olympics standards
and to install [in accordance with] the Auto Glass Replacement Safety
Standard,” says Heinauer. Both Olive and Chadwick assist in the company’s
“Even when we have someone who joins us with experience, they still go
through one or two weeks with Jeff to make sure they’re doing it in the
Glasspro way,” adds Heinauer. “When we hire someone, we want to show them,
‘This is how we do it.’ As much as we want and need technicians, it’s
important that they want to do it our way. We’re not going to compromise.”
Of course, not every technician from a winning team is able to compete
in the championship. So, does this cause strife among team members? Not
according to Heinauer.
“Everybody in our company is very, very proud of [the winners],” he says.
“Those two guys have done a nice job of including the rest of the company
as being part of their victory as well … I think they’ve done a good job
of challenging people to say, ‘you know, you can be a champion too.’”
Worth It in the End
While most teams benefit from the success of an individual, is all the
extra training, the expense involved, worth it? Brandt says it’s a resounding
“yes”—even despite the additional expense his company incurs as Picard
travels across international borders to compete.
“You have no idea how complicated it is to bring a tool system to Las
Vegas [from Canada]. Just the tools themselves are more than $1,000 to
transport,” says Brandt, “but how do you put a price tag on quality workmanship?”
“Yes, yes, yes—it’s absolutely worth it,” he says. “We look at it as a
very nice thank-you to our folks, and it lets them know we have confidence
in them as well, and once again that we value what they do.”
And, for Glasspro, it’s become as much of a necessity as a benefit.
“What a great way to differentiate yourself,” he says.
This year’s AGTO will be held November 6-7 and the WRO will be held November
5. Both events will take place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in
Las Vegas as part of Auto Glass Week™ in Las Vegas.
While a team is helpful, not every player has the luxury of having one.
One such past competitor is Brian Fenner of Safe Glass Technologies in
Easton, Pa. Fenner, who owns his own business, took second place in last
year’s Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics. Though he obviously
practiced and brought his skill to the competition, it was his own drive
and determination—not the encouragement of a coach/company owner—that
led to his success.
Though Fenner’s supplier, Delta Kits in Eugene, Ore., was supportive of
his participation, the credit goes to him, says Brent Deines, Delta president.
“Brian is a very intense person and a bit of a perfectionist,” says Deines.
“He asks lots of questions and challenges anything that
does not seem quite right to him.”
Fenner also had the support of his family.
“Although I train all year long with customers unbeknownst to them, the
real honor goes to my wonderful and patient wife, Kelly, [who] also [is]
Delta Kits-certified, who did endless, and I mean endless, dry run drills
with me acting as the customer,” Fenner says.
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