Volume 12, Issue 5 - September/October 2010

feature

Reigning Repairman
An Inside Look at 2009 Windshield Repair Olympics Champion Brian Fenner
by Katie Hodge

2009 Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics (WRO) winner Brian Fenner of Safe Glass Technologies in Easton, Pa., started his auto glass repair business with a couple of clicks and a curious mind. Fenner was working for Continental Airlines and, in his spare time, tried to find a way to fix a paint chip on his car.

“In 2001, I was working midnights at the airport and I was researching how to fix paint chips on my vehicle when I stumbled onto some websites about windshield repair,” he says. “I started digging into it … I’ve always been a real driven kind of individual.”

Fenner runs his business as a “one-and-a-half-man” operation. His father, Joseph Brue, works a day or two a week with his own accounts, but Fenner handles his own business.

To say that he has a busy schedule would be an understatement. This champion has a full-time career as an aircraft maintenance supervisor for Continental Airlines as well as his own windshield repair business.

“I have a full-time career in aviation in addition to my growth is slow by choice,” he says. “With a limited weekly time frame in which to work in, I have been trying to focus on areas that will maximize time, profit potential and schedule flexibility. “

He adds, “As an independent and a sole proprietor, I’m limited in how fast I can grow. I like things at a slower pace so I can keep a level of management where I don’t lose the integrity of my service, business and reputation.”

While growth might be slower than it is for larger repair shops, Fenner is pleased with his client base, which includes a large number of dealerships.

“I’ve had longstanding accounts with most of my dealerships and have been with most of them since the beginning,” says Fenner. “They’re all basically local within a 30-mile radius.”

WRO Champion
Despite all the demands on his time, Fenner still has taken some time out to compete in the WRO. He competed for the first time in 2008 and took second place—and returned in 2009, and took the gold. But he says winning wasn’t the only benefit of competing.

“Competing allows competitors to self-evaluate, make adjustments, set new benchmarks and rejuvenate the entrepreneurial fire that comes from learning and sharing with other industry leaders,” says Fenner. “Each time I have competed it was a positive experience. I was able to meet other like-minded professionals striving for excellence in all aspects of owning a windshield repair business in a friendly, but competitive, environment.”

Fenner brought his support system with him to Vegas and one of his biggest fans was his wife.

“[My wife] was instrumental in my preparation so she knew that all the hard work I put into it and determination that I have would produce a favorable outcome,” says Fenner. “She was so happy and proud, but at the same time relieved that it was over for me so I could relax.”

Fenner says he’s changed little about his business.

“…Winning did not really change the way I work. After all, it is the way I work that helped me to win. What it did provide was renewed entrepreneurial enthusiasm and rejuvenation,” says Fenner.

While Fenner runs his business the same, he does use his big win as a sales tool.

“I do use it when selling to new accounts and customers. I also share it with my existing accounts,” adds Fenner.

And the future is wide open.

“The wheels are always turning so I have ideas for the future that keep me moving forward,” he says. “ … Who knows what the future may bring for Safe Glass Technologies?”

Katie Hodge is the assistant editor of AGRR magazine.

“…Winning did not really change the way I work. After all, it is the way I work that helped me to win. What it did provide was renewed entrepreneurial enthusiasm and rejuvenation.”
—Brian Fenner, Safe Glass Technologies


Repair Olympics Returns to Las Vegas
The world’s best repair technicians again are gathering in Las Vegas this fall to compete in the 2010 Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics. The competition, which is now in its fifth year, will be held October 11-12 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas in conjunction with the NACE Expo.

For more information, visit www.agrrmag.com/repairolympics or contact Holly Biller at hbiller@glass.com.

Schedule at a Glance*
Monday, October 11, 2010
7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Registration Open
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Mandatory Contestant Meeting
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Windshield Repair Olympics

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Registration Open
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Windshield Repair Olympics Finals
12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Awards Announced

*Schedule is tentative and subject to change. Check online for updates at agrrmag.com/repairolympics.

 


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