Glas-Weld Forms Joint Venture with Opti-Kleer

Glas-Weld Systems is finishing up the details of a new joint venture, Optic-Kleer USA, with the European repair-only company of the same name.

Mike Boyle, president of the Portland, Ore., based company, explained that work had been on-going on the new venture, and at its Glas-Weld Expo 2005 earlier this month, the focus was on the changing repair market with an examination of the European model and how it would work here.

"We have a very big, good operation in the UK. It and Optic-Kleer are the two leading repair-only companies in Europe, so I wanted to take the best from both of these operations and bring that model to the U.S. to raise the standard of auto glass repair," he told glassBYTEs™.

"We're trying to bring a different level of quality into a controlled situation," he explained. "It will be a hybrid model of Glas-Weld UK, which focuses on the fleet market, and Optic-Kleer, which focuses on the consumer market."

According to Boyle, Glas-Weld UK has several hundred technicians.

The companies plan to announce the joint venture by the end of this week.

Glas-Weld Expo 2005 was held in Portland, at the historic Governor Hotel, September 14-17. "We use the event, which included about 65 people, to bring together not only our national customers, but also our international customers," Boyle explained. Among those attending was Eric Howe, president of Optic-Kleer.

Glas-Weld international customers from Sweden, Germany, Japan, England and Mexico attended the event, along with several new and existing customers from the United States.

The conference began with a two-day certification class for glass repair technicians, and the final two days were filled with educational sessions and networking opportunities.

Glas-Weld has been holding the annual event for about 10 years, according to Boyle.

Glas-Weld Expo 2005 kicked off with keynote speaker Larry Sirhall, a seasoned expert in sales, marketing and customer service. His sessions were designed to help attendees gain skills to increase their profitability through quantifiable marketing. Other conference sessions included topics such as insurance, pricing, business development and technical information. Glas-Weld representatives provided product demonstrations on windshield repair, scratch removal, and insulated glass repair, industry updates, and information about new products and add-on services.

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