NWRA Protects Industry in Connecticut; Members Speak Before Operational Licensing Board
The National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) came out in full force on Friday, December 19, when several of its members spoke before the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection’s Occupational Licensing Board for glaziers. The main topic was the ongoing agenda of developing a limited license for windshield repair technicians. Some in the NWRA feel it could limit windshield repair in the state. Mike Boyle, president of Glas-Weld Systems of Bend, Ore., explained how windshield repair is (and is not) limited in other countries such as Australia and New Zealand, where his company has several franchises.“It’s not restricted anywhere—Germany, London, New Zealand,” Boyle said.
Likewise, Boyle stressed the impact that limiting windshield repair could have, not just on the industry, but on consumers as a whole.
Boyle also presented the New Zealand and Australian windshield repair standards to the board, and provided them with additional copies of the NWRA’s Recommended Practice for Windshield Repair. Edwin Rodriguez, the director of the department of consumer protection, stressed that the windshield repair community should not feel threatened by the board because it is only trying to protect the public.
“We’re trying to do what’s in the best interest of the public. We’re going to extremes to find out what other countries are doing and we’re not going to make this decision easily,” he said.
However, fellow board member Kurt Muller, who also serves as president of Express Auto Glass in Plainville, Conn., and president of the Independent Glass Association (IGA), brought up the issues of resins, what qualifies as a good resin and whether these should perhaps be scrutinized. NWRA members in attendance urged him to read the Recommended Practice, which addresses this issue, among others. Peg Stroka, NWRA administrator, also went before the board to present a compilation of testing on the issue of whether moisture affects the PVB interlayer of a windshield and determining whether an eventual repair is safe, an issue brought up by the IGA, which presented a study by St. Louis-based Solutia Inc. on the matter before the board in July 2003.
“There has been testing since the early 1970s on windshield repair,” Stroka said.
She provided to the board a compilation of testing conducted by the NHTSA, NOVUS Inc. of Minneapolis, and UltraBond of Grand Junction, Colo.
“I hope you will hold the Solutia study up to the other ones done by ANSI standards and compare them,” she said.
In addition, she supplied a copy of IGA CEO Tim Smale’s apology to the NWRA for any misunderstanding his recent articles about windshield repair and the Solutia study had caused.
“I think [the Solutia study] has caused some problems here in Connecticut,” she said.
Stroka, who tracks windshield repair throughout the country, mostly based on numbers provided by insurance companies, reminded the board that Connecticut already has a low ratio of repairs to replacements, and a limited license could limit it even further.
David Taylor of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, NWRA charter member and current secretary/treasurer, also spoke before the board.
“While much of the country is struggling to decrease the costs of windshield installations, insurance companies encourage repair,” Taylor said.
In regard to the question of the safety of windshield repairs, Taylor insisted that there really is no question.
Glen Moses of Safelite took the last spot before the board. “I think the windshield repair industry has been put in the impossible position of showing what’s never happened will never happen,” Moses said.
Likewise, he urged the board to make a decision quickly using the information they have.
The board’s next meeting, during which the decision is set to be announced, will be held February 27, 2004.
Shores and Jeffers Launch Restoration Company
Dave Shores and Steve Jeffers, formerly of Bend, Ore.-based Glas-Weld Systems, have launched their own business, Surface Restoration Specialists, which will also be based in Bend. The two left Glas-Weld recently after the company underwent a restructuring.
The focus of Surface Restoration Specialists is to restore and treat scratch and water damage to both glass and acrylics. So far, the company has completed projects across the nation in a number of locations, including California, Delaware, Michigan and Texas, with future jobs slated for Seattle, Chicago and Richmond, Va. The company’s primary focus is large, architectural and flat glass projects.
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