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Former Innovation Award Winner Returns to AGTO

Ernie Espinoza, who took home one of the first two innovation awards ever presented in last year's Auto Glass Technician Olympics (AGTO), will again return to this year's competition. Espinoza was recognized for using a new removal tool one of his auto glass industry colleagues developed.

Though he was honored for his innovation, Espinoza still says he learned from others in the competition.

"I learned quite a bit by having the opportunity to see all of the competitors and their different styles, seeing the AGRSS Standards being used, etc., at last year's competition," he says. "It really helped improve the quality of my installations. "

He also says it improved his own skills.

"Now I feel everything has to be just right and anything less than that is unacceptable," Espinoza adds.

Though he was nervous at his first competition, Espinoza credits fellow competitor and the 2006 AGTO champion, Rob Grace of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, with easing his nerves.

"Competing last year for the first time, I didn't know what to expect," he recounts. "[Rob] could tell I was nervous, and told me, 'Relax, do your job just like you do everyday.' So that's my advice to all the first-timers this year."

Espinoza adds, "I look forward to competing again this year and hope I will do better than last year, or at least learn more."

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