Volume 13, Issue 1 - January-February 2011

Feature

A Winning Combination
First-Time Competitor Randy Olson Takes
First Place in Windshield Repair Olympics

by Penny Stacey

I view the Olympics not so much as a competition or an opportunity to beat somebody, but it’s kind of like your own business—where you just try to do the best you can, you just prepare the best you can, you use the best equipment you can, you use the best training, supplies and support. If you’re fortunate enough, all that comes together in a winning combination.”

These were the words of the 2010 Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics (WRO) champion Randy Olson of Chip Medic in Bend, Ore., who found the winning combination October 11-12 in Las Vegas.

But Olson, a first-time competitor, admits it wasn’t easy.

“Coming into the competition I witnessed the first heat,” said Olson. “I was totally impressed by the caliber and professionalism of the guys that competed. It really made me step up to the mark.”

Despite his win, Olson remained humble.

“I don’t think I beat anybody, I was just fortunate enough that everything came together and I did my best,” he said.

Olson was followed by silver medalist Brandon Long of Novus Glass in Eaton Rapids, Mich.. Long, no stranger to competition, took third place in the 2009 competition.

“Last year obviously was the first year I came to the competition, and, this year, getting the silver medal—that was just kind of nice,” said Long.

Judges in this year’s competition reported that the quality of the repairs among the six competitors was even closer than in years’ past, and Long echoed that sentiment.

“I know my repairs this year definitely were a notch above last year’s—that’s for sure,” he said.

Gregory Hamilton of Glasspro in Charleston, S.C., finished in third place. Hamilton is a former Auto Glass Technician Olympics silver medalist, but this was his first time competing in the WRO.

Hamilton also was humble. “A repair is a repair—you can’t get it perfect,” he said after being awarded the bronze metal.

In addition, Lee Simms, who owns a SuperGlass Windshield Repair franchise in Bedford, Texas, was recognized with an innovation award for utilizing custom floors mats in the vehicle and for providing the customer with breast cancer awareness materials in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

“I had specialized floormats made for the competition,” said Simms, who also has competed in the past.

The competition’s corporate sponsors included platinum sponsor GlasWeld, along with diamond sponsor HSG, and emerald sponsors SuperGlass Windshield Repair and Glass Doctor. The competition also is sponsored by AGRR magazine and the National Windshield Repair Association.

“We’re proud to be part of [the competition],” said GlasWeld president Dennis Garbutt. “GlasWeld’s been in the business for 28 years now, and we’re happy to see the growth that we’re seeing. This has been my second year here and the growing level of professionalism is noticeable in the last year.”

Next year’s WRO will be held in Memphis, Tenn., during Auto Glass Week™ (*see below), September 15-17, 2011, along with the Pilkington Clear Advantage Auto Glass Technician Olympics and the meetings of several industry groups.

The 2010 competition was held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in conjunction with the NACE Show (see related sidebar at right).

“I don’t think I beat anybody, I was just fortunate enough that everything came
together and I did my best.”
—Randy Olson, Chip Medic


Inside the Olympics with Platinum Sponsor GlasWeld
The Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics returns annually thanks to the work of many, and the sponsorship of several key players, particularly that of platinum sponsor GlasWeld in Bend, Ore. AGRR™ magazine recently caught up with GlasWeld president Dennis Garbutt and marketing director Lori Patch to discuss their commitment to the annual event.

“I only have two years under my belt and I felt a dramatic increase in professionalism this year, not just in the quality of the repair when they were finished, but in the attitude and demeanor and temper of the contestants,” said Garbutt, reflecting on this year’s competition.

And Garbutt sees a positive impact on the industry as the competition continues to grow more fierce.

“Every one of the participants—especially the finalists really—I think there was only a one or two point difference and every one of them presented a really professional image, says Garbutt. “The more press we can get behind these kinds of people making this a career choice the more people will want to join the repair industry, and the more it will grow.”

“That’s why we continue to support [the WRO] every year,” says Patch. “We believe in highlighting the professionals and highlighting the service they provide.”

NACE Auto Glass Pavilion
Sees New Product Launches, Attendees Looking for Economical Add-Ons
As in recent years, the Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics competition was held in conjunction with the NACE Show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

While competitors went head-to-head for the gold, several auto glass tool suppliers and manufacturers also were on-hand at the Auto Glass Pavilion to show their latest wares. NACE, also known as the International Autobody Congress and Exposition, was co-located with CARS during Automotive Service and Repair Week.

Equalizer Industries displayed its entire line of Equalizer removal tools and windshield repair tools and systems. Company president Eric Asbery said he heard mixed reports from show attendees.

“I hear a lot of complaints from customers about the economy, but they end up wanting to buy stuff …” he said. “I think it’s bouncing back, but I think people are still a little leery of buying. It’s a natural thing …”

In line with a growing trend of auto body shops that provide their own auto glass services, Asbery said he talked to several body shop owners looking to add windshield repair equipment to their businesses.

“It’s probably time that the body industry is looking for other things because of the economy,” he said. “I think they’re looking to other industries that fit into their businesses, and the windshield repair business is probably easy on the pocketbook enough that they can afford to try to get into that kind of thing.”

Crystal Glass/The Extractor displayed its PROV28 Milwaukee windshield removal tool—an 18-volt tool.

“It’s very powerful for the high-volume installer,” said operations manager Win Parnall (see related story about Parnall’s pending retirement on page 39).

Glass Doctor was promoting its franchise offerings to
attendees.

Delta Kits launched its new windshield repair pit resin, 144-14 Premium Pit Plus.

RV glass supplier Duncan Systems also was on-hand, displaying its RV-specific damage estimating software.

Former Auto Glass Technician Olympics gold medalists Jeff Olive of Glasspro and Jamie Browning of Browning Auto Glass, along with 2009 bronze medalist Travis Crebs, also provided auto glass installation demonstrations during the event as part of an AGTO retrospective.

Next year’s NACE Show will be held October 6-8 in Orlando, Fla., at the Orange County Convention Center.
Visit www.naceexpo.com for more information.

*Mark Your Calendars!
Next year’s Walt Gorman Memorial Windshield Repair Olympics will be held in Memphis, Tenn., during Auto Glass Week™, September 15-17, 2011, along with the Pilkington Clear Advantage Auto Glass Technician Olympics and the meetings of several industry groups, including the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council, the Independent Glass Association, the National Glass Association and the National Windshield Repair Association.

AGRR
© Copyright 2011 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.