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Competition Rising in AGTO and WRO, Cindy Rowe COO Says

Dave Taylor is chief operating officer (COO) for Cindy Rowe Auto Glass in Harrisburg, Pa., the company from which Jason Horne, this year's AGTO winner, hails. Taylor took the time out today to talk to™/AGRR magazine about the Auto Glass Technician (AGTO) and Windshield Repair (WRO) competitions (the "Olympics" of the industry). Cindy Rowe's other contestant in the AGTO took fourth place in the competition (and was the highest-ranking competitor in the AGTO semi-finals) and the company's repair technician, Kelly Ditto, was also a finalist in the WRO and took home third-place.

"We were very pleased to see so many competitors and to see the level of competition," Taylor says. "There were so many very good people-it's clear that each year the competitors get better in both Olympics. That is wonderful and just want our industry needs."

Dave Taylor and Cindy Rowe-Taylor (right), chief operating officer and president of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, respectively, traveled to Las Vegas to cheer on their contestants, including Ditto (left).

For Cindy Rowe, picking and training competitors is a lengthy process. Their training coordinator, Brian Clayton, first organizes a competition with the company.

"Once we've chosen our contestants, we then go into a special training program with them to prepare them for Vegas," Taylor says.

Of course, now that the competition is over, Taylor says there's lots of excitement around Cindy Rowe.

"Jason, of course, has been a contestant at all three [competitions] and he was just determined to win," Taylor says. "When his moulding came off the window in very good condition, he knew he was on a roll … [If you saw] the determination in his face and body language-he knew he had the tiger."

However, Taylor points out that in the competition's third year (second for WRO), the competition continues to grow fiercer.
"You've got to fight for every single point," he says. "You can't say, 'well, I'm not real strong at B'-you've got to earn every single point. If anything doesn't go your way, you're not going to win, and you're probably not even going to make the finals. It's that competitive."

For those hoping to compete next year, Taylor warns, the training begins now.

"If you have intentions of making the finals, you've got to truly work at this," he says. "It's truly an Olympic competition."

Taylor and his wife, Cindy Rowe-Taylor, president and founder of the company, will take the company's winning contestants to a celebratory dinner in the near future to a location of Horne's choice (since he was the gold medalist).

Taylor notes that while the sense of camaraderie and achievement has grown for Horne and Ditto, along with Rob Grace, who ranked fourth in the AGTO and highest in the AGTO semi-finals, it has affected the rest of the company's more than 30 installers as well.

"Everyone of them is proud of Jason and Rob's accomplishments," he says. "It motivates all of them."

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