Windshield tech preps for competition

Adam Hill isn't likely to crack under the pressure of competition.

That's because the Coquitlam glass guy's drive to be recognized as the best windshield repair and replacement technician in Canada — maybe even the world — is personal.

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Two years ago, Hill, who works at Speedy Glass on the Barnet Highway, didn’t even make the cut of the first round of the bi-annual competition put on by the shop’s Montreal-based parent company, Belron International, to recognize the “best windshield installer in the world.”

Moreover, Hill had trained the technician, Ryan Cox, who won that year’s Canadian championship and went on to finish second at the world championship in Lisbon, Portugal.

Now, “I want to see how I measure up against him,” Hill, 30, said of his protege.

Hill, who has been installing windshields for 10 years, has already passed the first step of his quest, a gruelling evaluation of the 140 steps a technician is required to follow when replacing or repairing a car’s windshield. Those checklist items include everything from the function of specialty tools to the proper order of tasks required to safe techniques for hoisting a 30-lb. windshield into place.

Yesterday, Hill was to put his theoretical knowledge to the test against three other regional finalists from around British Columbia who would each have 65 minutes to replace a damaged windshield, including cleaning the vehicle to make it presentable to the owner. And they were to do it under the careful gaze of a panel of judges evaluating their ability to follow those 140 steps as well as the watchful eyes of fellow technicians and managers.

The winner will go on to compete against five other regional champions at the Canadian championship in Montreal in January. The winner of that goes to the 2018 world championship to be held in Frankfurt, Germany next June.

Hill said he welcomes the pressure, noting, “I’m pretty good at focussing on what I’m doing.”

To prepare for Thursday’s practical showdown in Langley, Hill studied the company’s technical handbooks in his spare time and ensured his adherence to proper procedures while repairing and replacing customers’ windshields in the shop. He also had his bosses conduct mock evaluations.

He’s confident he has the right stuff to go all the way.

Hill said his five years’ experience on the road, working solo as a mobile technician, have given him the fortitude and adaptability to cope with any problems the competition might throw his way.

“In the shop, you can get help,” Hill said. “But when you’re out on your own, you have to manage the stress.”

A lot is at stake besides Hill’s pride.

Not only would competitive success open up new opportunities for his career, he said, the world champion also earns a year’s worth of salary.

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