Realizing the Benefits of our Industry

At Thanksgiving this year, I began to think of what I was thankful for as an auto glass professional. It wasn’t easy. I read and contribute to a lot of auto glass forums and discussion groups, and frankly, they are sometimes pretty demoralizing. But then I began to really look at my profession and came up with a few things I like about it.

At first, as an installer, I liked the idea of driving around the countryside and meeting new people. I loved looking at the sites and feeling the wind in my hair. Back then I actually had some. It seemed to me to be a cowboy existence. No bosses over your shoulder telling you what to do or how to do it. You could play your radio as loud as you wanted and sing along to your favorite song with no embarrassment of how badly you sang it. You can stop by bakery shops, ice cream stands and fast food restaurants with no one telling you how bad it was for you. You didn’t care because you had a job that would give you a good amount of natural exercise and clean air to breathe. I was thankful for that.

As I progressed to management, I learned a whole new challenge—growing profit against tough and very similar competition. We had to trim costs in the lean years but still produce quality work or risk losing good customers. As a manager, I met some great people who became my trusted colleagues and my fierce competitors. They taught me a lot as a businessman and as a man. I’m thankful for that.

When I started in college, I wanted to be a teacher. However, after doing my research and finding out what a teacher’s salary was, I decided to major in business. In the auto glass field, I found an industry that needed training as much as I wanted to teach. Auto glass training was truly a blessing. I could be in business as a CEO and make a good living and still be a teacher the way I always wanted to be. I met the best people in the industry and learned a lot. With the knowledge I gained from those many experts, I was able to help the new technicians and future leaders of the industry. I’m thankful for that.

The automotive industry is never boring. Every year we have new vehicles, new designs, new technologies, new tools, new procedures and new challenges. What better way to keep your attention and make it interesting? Anyone who likes to use their hands to make a living has to like the auto industry. I’m thankful for that.

I am old enough to remember when the new Ford Taurus came out in 1986. How do you get that glass out? What is that dual bead of urethane doing there? It doesn’t even have a pinchweld to put it on. This windshield is impossible. No, it wasn’t. It just needed our innovation and determination to figure it out.  The same can be said for any glass part that has found its way to our doors. Our first comment, because that was the way we are, this is nuts!!! But a little later on we hear, “That’s not so bad. Just do this….”  I’m thankful for that.

Auto glass has been good to me and my family for more than forty years, and it can be good for you, too. Ann and I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving and that you all have a wonderful holiday season. We’re looking forward to everything new in 2018, and we’re thankful for that.