Working as any form of technician in the auto industry takes a lot of focus, attention to detail and the proper know-how. In today’s world, where more and more modern technology is being implemented in vehicles, being properly trained on how to care both for the vehicle and that technology is extremely important.
At Speedy Auto Glass, owner Lonnie Gratto has operated his business over the years through the belief that if he’s not continuously upgrading his training and education on vehicles, he’s not doing right by his customers.
“Technology is constantly changing and upgrading, and that means the way the vehicle interacts with that technology is changing,” he explained. “There could be serious ramifications if things are not reinstalled, cleaned or replaced properly.”
Mr. Gratto has a long history in the auto-glass industry, with a quarter of a century under his belt. His journey began in 1989, when he began work for then owners Eric Ross and Jim Vincent. He was fresh out of school, and the business at the time was an Apple Auto Glass. The two taught him the ropes, instilled in him a strong sense of workmanship and pride in providing the best possible service.
“I learned a lot about the industry and the job from my two mentors, and I can honestly say I worked as hard for them as I do for myself today,” said Mr. Gratto.
In the year 2000, Mr. Gratto bought the business from his mentors, and continued their legacy of quality windshield repairs and installations. Part of that quality service has included his continual education on proper procedures and techniques, in order to ensure he is not only meeting standards, but also sending his clients home in a safe vehicle.
“If you want to do a job properly, you have to be willing to change with the times,” he explained. “You have to consistently take courses and classes to better yourself. In today’s vehicle, the windshield is part of the structural integrity, which means it’s important to do the job right, and do it right the first time.”
Over the last two years, he has earned more than five certificates through courses he’s taken, allowing him to make sure he has the best practices down when working on a client’s care.
“There’s legal ramifications if you don’t install the glass and the technology properly,” he said. “You’re not going to learn that if you’re not taking the time to attend courses and learn from the manufacturers.”
The introduction of rear and dash cameras in vehicles has added a whole other element to the windshield installation techniques, and in the last two months, Mr. Gratto has earned another three additional certificates through programs focused specifically on this new technology.
“Nearly all the car manufacturers are installing these cameras in their vehicles now,” he explained. “Incorrectly installing the windshield directly affects the integrity of the camera. If that camera isn’t functioning properly, it could cause problems.”
Another reason the continued education is important, according to Mr. Gratto, is that it helps the clients know they are there to help keep them safe.
“It’s all about providing our clients with quality care,” he said. “Our workmanship, our reputation and our shop are immaculate, and I believe that reflects in our work. It’s not rocket science. You do a professional, quality job and respect your customers. If I can take the odd course and better myself, I give them that much of a better job.”
Written by Tabitha Wells