Auto Glass Techs Seek World Title

January 22, 2008

From a pool of more than 3000, hundreds of Belron U.S. glass replacement and repair technicians across the country will vie to be the top installers representing the United States at the ‘Best of Belron’ international vehicle glass installation competition in May, 2008 in the United Kingdom.

Regional competitions ran from Oct. 6, 2007 through Dec. 8, 2007 in Mobile, Ala., Charlotte, N.C., Denver, Chicago, Phoenix and Fairfield, N.J. Six contestants were chosen to participate in each region and judged on installation compliance with Belron’s best practices standards, customer service, safety and accuracy. The top two finishers in each region received $500 cash prizes along with a family-incuded, free trip to the national competition Jan. 26, 2008 in Columbus, Ohio.

“It’s a nice way for us to recognize the fellows who work the tools,” said Glen Moses, director of technical services, Safelite Auto Glass. “The competition is not open to managers or someone in an advisory role. It’s for the guys on the front lines who work the tools on a daily basis and the people who train and support them,” said Moses.

The actual competition involves three stages; “Body Glass,” where side windows are shattered, then replaced; “Windshield Repair,” tests competitors’ ability to repair — but not replace — cracked windshields; and, “Windshield Replacement” wherein practitioners replace damaged windshields.

First and second place finishers in the national competition will receive an all expenses paid trip to the United Kingdom to participate in the “Best of Belron 2008.” The winner there will receive, among other prizes, a year’s salary.

The event is organized every other year. The 2006 ‘Best of Belron’ competition, held in Nurburgring, Germany, featured contestants from 21 countries. The 650 attendees included insurance customers, sponsors and Belron associates. Thomas Bebel of Germany earned the title of Belron’s best technician.

Belgians held their national final for this years ‘Best of Belron’ at the motor racing circuit in Zolder. Of the 12 finalists, Olivier Blumart, senior technician and workshop supervisor for the Mons branch, emerged as the winner.

Five Greek technicians fought hard in their national finals and Valerios Tsoban, a Russian from Athens, won.

In the U.K., the national finals were held at the National Skills Centre in Birmingham. After months of preparation, 12 technicians from across the business took part in the event.

The Brits had the opportunity to compete on the new model Ford Mondeo Titanium X — the car driven by James Bond in Casino Royale.

Nick Henwood, Belron operations director for autoglass, broke the side glass of the cars, which the technicians then replaced in competition.

It was close, but Lewis Colbourne from the Portsmouth branch clinched first place.

Sweden’s national competition saw eight technicians battle it out. The technician with the winning score was Ervin Wolf from Stockholm.

Switzerland’s national competition was in Berne where three regional finalists fought, emerging Osman Kaplan as a clear winner.

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