Volume 12, Issue 1 - January/February 2010

Trainer’s Corner
on-the-job tips

A Training Legend: Frank Levesque
by Dale Malcolm

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Frank Levesque, trainer, technical manager and franchise consultant for the Glass Doctor in Waco, Texas, and to hear his thoughts on the industry. I’ll share a few of these here, but first, some background on Levesque, who’s been in the industry for nearly 30 years.

Levesque started in the glass industry with Soule Glass & Paint in Maine and then moved to Demers Glass based in Massachusetts.

I personally met Levesque for the first time in 1986 when he became a technical trainer for Portland Glass Co. in Westbrook, Maine. He had recently rejoined the company after working in the commercial glazing business for a number of years. He had also spent time as a shop foreman and then a shop manager at Portland Glass.

Trained in auto, residential and commercial glass work, Levesque brought a wealth of experience to his role as technical trainer. That combined with his positive can-do attitude made him a valuable asset to the retail glass shops he supported.

Levesque’s role as technical trainer eventually evolved to include employee safety and OSHA compliance for the entire company. It was here that his energy and enthusiasm carried him through the difficult transition and the establishment of a world-class culture of safety in a difficult and sometimes dangerous business.

In 1993, Levesque left Portland Glass when the opportunity to join Equalizer Industries arose. It was at Equalizer that he gained valuable experience in developing ideas from technicians into tools and being exposed to the international auto glass market.

Over the next 12 to 15 years he worked for several other well known auto glass tool manufacturers including Reid Manufacturing and Fein Power Tools. Levesque spent three years as the national accessory sales manager for Pilkington North America prior to joining Glass Doctor.

Anyone that has attended one of Levesque’s demonstrations or seminars at a trade show or conference has seen his talent for conducting a difficult technical demonstration with the knowledge, charm and presence that not only informs but also entertains.

DM: In today’s difficult business environment, what is your biggest training challenge?
FL: Time. It is difficult to find time for owner/managers to pull employees out of the field and send them in for training. It is always difficult to convince franchisees of the value of this training. Long-term employees are a special challenge because when technology changes, it is hard to forget old methods that worked once but are no longer are effective.

DM: What was your best training
experience?
FL: My best training experience was when I was in Europe representing Fein Power tools, working with the company engineers developing tools and blades, several of which are still very popular. The European glass installers were very focused on quality and precision due to the nature of the high-end vehicles on which they worked. These vehicles were expected to last much longer than those in the United States. The time spent working with people in organizations like Carlite and I-CAR also has helped me immensely to polish the skills I use everyday in developing training materials.

DM: Where do you turn when looking for training materials and technical information?
FL: The Internet has become the first stop for a lot of information from vendors. When that is not good enough, networking with technical contacts in the industry is a good alternative source of information. The list of various suppliers in the back of AGRR and USGlass magazines has been an excellent source for locating vendors (see page 50).

DM: How do you see training changing in the next ten years?
FL: High-quality training will be even more vital to be able to keep up with changes in technology. The value of training always has to be sold and not just taken for granted. It also is important to try constantly to instill the drive and confidence to sell and provide high-value service to the customer.

Dale Malcolm is technical services manager for Dow Automotive in Dayton, Ohio. His opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.
 

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