Judging the Auto Glass Technician Olympics

After the most recent Auto Glass Technician Olympics (AGTO), I had an interesting conversation with some competitors and spectators about the judging procedures. There were some misconceptions that should be discussed. The discussions fell under a two topics: how do the judges handle any conflicts of interest and what little things influence point deductions?

Anyone who watches the competition knows that there are four judges and as many as 10 to 12 competitors at one time installing glass. Some of the competitors are from the same companies as some of the judges. At first sight, this seems completely unfair. How can a judge from the same company judge fairly? 

Judges do not review competitors where there may be a conflict of interest. For example, I did not judge those competitors that I have trained or competitors who were employees of my clients. The same goes for all of the rest of the judges.

Although all the judges walk the competition floor and watch everyone, judges don’t mark the score sheets of any competitor where there may be a conflict of interest, real or perceived. Once we are in the judges scoring room, we discuss every point deducted as a team. However, when we score a competitor who may have a relationship with a particular judge, that judge not only does not score the technician, but he will leave the room and provide no input at all.

Can a judge score another technician tougher so his competitor is given an unfair advantage? No. One judge cannot influence the team. The judges collectively deem a point deduction as minor, standard or major. If we see a major infraction during the competition, we will ask more than one judge to observe it before we deduct points. Those who watch the competition may notice us whisper to each other or gesture toward a competitor to confirm an observation.

How can four judges watch that many installations and catch everything?

There is no doubt that there is a lot to see. However, we are all technicians and know what to look for. Some procedures are more important than others and we know what we have to watch for. We know that there are other judges watching and 10 to 12 proctors who are briefed about certain procedures that they can witness for us. So, in reality we have not just eight eyes watching the installation, but 28 to 32 eyes watching. That frees up the judges to watch the important steps.  

The judges are human and we do make mistakes sometimes. However, we take pride in making sure that serious mistakes by the competitors are stopped and corrected before the installation can proceed. If we miss something on the floor but catch it in the judges’ room, it is corrected before the vehicle is put in service.

One thing is for sure, though—all the competitors are true professionals and they do an exceptional job under the circumstances. This year, the only difference between the first and second place finishers is that the winner completed his installation a few seconds faster. Simply put, these techs are good.

Congratulations to all competitors and I hope we will see you all back next year. Please keep in mind that you have the opportunity before the competition to ask the judges anything you wish. Never give up.