Two years after finishing fifth, Brandon Rene left Safelite’s Best of Belron with a championship.

[Pictured: Brandon Rene accepts the technician competition trophy and winnings at last evening’s awards gala.]

The Salt Lake City technician edged out Mike Stakes of Phoenix for first place, a $10,000 check and a trip to the International Best of Belron competition in Barcelona, Spain in May.

[Pictured: First place technician Brandon Rene and runner-up Mike Stakes pose with their trophies.]

“I can honestly say that any of these guys could have won and done a great job representing Safelite® in Barcelona,” Rene said. “I just got lucky. I’m kind of sad that it’s over because I’ve become friends with all 11 of these guys.”

Stakes received $5,000 for his runner-up finish.

In the CSR competitions, Angie Miller of Columbus, Ohio took first in the Referral competition, Wendy Powers of Columbus, Ohio was first in Sales and Amanda Kerley of St. Louis was first in the Field. Each received $2,500 in prize money.

[Pictured: Safelite president and CEO Tom Feeney and VP of National Contact Center Brian O’Mara pose with CSR winners Wendy Powers, Amanda Kerley and Angie Miller.]

Watch a wrap-up video of the entire Safelite Best of Belron event and hear from the winners on our Facebook page. Photos are also posted on Safelite’s Flickr account.

Don’t miss any of the action happening in New Orleans by keeping up with all the Safelite Best of Belron competition photos like the one posted below on Flickr.

Yesterday was busy for the competitors when they could choose to participate in a Swamp Tour, New Orleans-style cooking class or a tour of New Orleans’ Garden District. At night, the festivities continued at the Bash on Bayou.

Today, watch for updates as the technicians compete in the back glass, repair and replacement events and the customer service representative events get underway. The winners will be announced at a gala later this evening!

All nine customer service representatives and 12 technicians have arrived in New Orleans and will be participating in the starting events for Safelite’s Best of Belron. The CSRs will begin with a preliminary briefing and quiz, and the techs will be tested through a quiz, customer service and mystery challenges.

Before all the excitement kicks off, we wanted to highlight the final six competitors in the technician portion and wish everyone good luck!

Bob Hosta
Ohio Valley Division Champion
Cleveland

When your trade requires the precision of vehicle glass repair and replacement, patience is a virtue.

Bob Hosta hopes patience will give him an edge over the competition at Safelite’s Best of Belron national competition.

“I remember one woman commented on how she would love to have me work on her windows because I was acting so calm under the pressure,” Hosta said. “It was encouraging to hear people commenting on my pace.”

 

Jade Martin
South Division Champion
Charlotte


For technician Jade Martin, Safelite is a family business. His father and brother are both associates.

Maybe that explains why with only three years of experience, Martin was able to keep his cool during the South Division competition.

“(At the division level) it becomes more of a mental competition and Jade is a very relaxed and confident technician,” said Charlotte general manager Don Overbaugh.

Martin said he was surprised to find out how calm he was able to stay during the competition. 

“I’m not really that excitable of a person. I was able to keep calm the entire day,” he said. “That’s going to help at nationals, I think.” 


Jason Mayfield
Wildcard
Cheyenne, Wyo.


Jason Mayfield posted a score to qualify him as the Wildcard entrant – the highest score of any competitor who did not win a Division event.

Cheyenne, Wyo. store manager Austin Meyer, said Mayfield is a true asset to the organization.

“One thing that sets Jason apart from the other techs is his drive to take service and knowledge to the next level,” Meyer said. “Whatever the outcome of his journey, I’m sure he will set the standard and be a challenge to the other competitors.”

Mayfield said he’s learned through this entire process to never take anything for granted – including the competition.

“There are a lot of little things that you assume to be right in your day-to-day jobs,” he said. “The competition makes you look at every aspect of the job.”


Brandon Rene
Northwest Division Champion
Salt Lake City

After his honorable mention finish at Safelite’s Best of Belron in 2010, Salt Lake City technician Brandon Rene thinks he has something to prove in 2012.       

“It really has been the bane of my existence for the last year or so,” the returning Northwest Division champion said. “It really bothered me when I lost and now that I have the chance to prove myself again, I’m going to take full advantage. This is truly my opportunity to get closure on 2010. What happens this year was meant to happen.”

Rene’s technician manager, Stanley Gaillard, has seen Brandon through the highs and lows of the past two years. Gaillard said he is confident Rene will win in New Orleans. “I know Brandon will excel at nationals this time because he has become a stronger tech and more aware of his surroundings. I think this is his year.”


Gary Riebesehl
Mobile Pro
Melbourne, Fla.

Riebesehl’s victory in the South Atlantic competition in Orlando was no surprise to Orlando-area manager Jon Laski, who recalled when Riebesehl drove from Orlando to Miami at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday to install a windshield at 9:30 p.m.

“That’s when I kind of knew what I had in Gary,” Laski said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked him to go above and beyond and he always answers the call. He’s very determined.”

Riebesehl won three of the five categories in this year’s South Atlantic Division competition after narrowly missing a trip to the national competition in 2010. 

“I’ve been thinking about it for two years,” he said. “I’m more familiar with the process this time around. I did the worst in door glass so that’s been a focus. I don’t do as many of those out in the field. And time is important. I have to speed it up a bit. In the field there’s no real restriction.”


Mike Stakes
Southwest Division Champion
Phoenix


Though Stakes has less than two years of experience with Safelite, he was able to train with a 2010 competitor.

“I wanted to compete but I didn’t qualify since I had just been hired on. I trained along side the tech that entered from my area so I would be ready for this year,” he said.

That seemed to serve him well now that he is heading to nationals.

“He works well under pressure and is able to tune out the surroundings and focus on his processes,” Spriet said. “The sky is the limit for Mike. He seems to be a natural, with the job coming easy to him.”

 

The technician finalists for Safelite’s Best of Belron competition will soon be in New Orleans and facing off for the title of best technician nationwide.

Meet six of the 12 competitors who will be trying to prove their skills Wednesday:


Pascal Barone

Mid South Division Champion
New Orleans

Pascal Barone is excited for his fellow competitors to get a taste of life in his hometown of New Orleans.

“I plan on showing the competitors a good time,” he said. “I’m excited to meet everyone and welcome them to the area.”

Technician manager Allen Mayer has served as Barone’s trainer throughout the competitive process. Mayer said Pascal is a very self-motivated technician.

“He comes to us and asks what he can do to help out market get better and expand his knowledge about the business,” Mayer said. “His future with us looks very bright.”


Aaron Bowden
Pacific Division Champion
San Francisco

After receiving an honorable mention at the 2010 Safelite’s Best of Belron, Aaron Bowden returns this year with an eye on the title.

Bowden has more than a decade of experience as a Safelite technician and thinks his previous competition experience set his personal bar even higher. While he may or may not perform better than at his previous competition, he feels the need to prove himself.

“It’s less pressure and a lot of pressure at the same time,” he said. “It’s a weird position to be in. I personally feel better about the competition aspect, having done it before but I feel there is more pressure on me to win than last year. People are expecting me to win.”


Brad Dedmon
Southern Cal Division Champion
Bakersfield, Calif.

While training for the competition, Brad Dedmon worked with Aaron Thrasher, a technician manager from the San Diego market. Thrasher praised Dedmon’s skill level.

“I had the opportunity to spend some time with (Dedmon) in preparation for the national competition,” Thrasher said. “I have been in the industry for over 23 years and feel that as a tech manager I would be thrilled to have him in my market.”

Thrasher said Dedmon sets a great example for the other technicians in his work ethic and willingness to share his knowledge and experience.


Todd Dull
Rockies Division Champion
Fort Collins, Colo.

Earlier this year, competing in New Orleans at Safelite’s Best of Belron competition was the furthest thing from Todd Dull’s mind.

“I was having severe headaches that eventually turned into back and neck pain that was impacting my job performance,” Dull said. “I went and saw a doctor and next thing I know – brain surgery.”

When Dull returned to work, he hadn’t put much thought into entering Safelite’s Best of Belron® competition, but his managers hoped he would still be interested.

“I’m glad I entered,” he said. “it’s been an awesome experience so far and it’s giving me a lot to look forward to. I really did want to see if I had what it takes. Apparently I do. It’s been a crazy year.”

Adam Guetzkow
Midwest Division Champion
Minneapolis, Minn.

Store manager Ambrose Moser thinks Adam Guetzkow’s system and speedy work rate will help him succeed at the competition.

“I think Adam will win the national competition if he continues to refine his installation skills,” Moser said. “He has a great system and is highly energetic. His speed may create a lot of pressure for the other technicians.“
 
Adam said after his win at the division level, he’s prepared for the small details that can be the difference between winning and losing. During the divisional, judges intentionally gave him the incorrect work order to see how he would handle the situation.

“It is things like that, that I have to keep an eye out for,” he said. “That is the type of thing you take for granted in your day-to-day job. You just assume it is right.”

Moser added that Adam’s personality will also give him an advantage in the competition, “His ability to improvise makes him a great tech. He never feels defeated and thrives on taking on challenging jobs.”

Josh Henry
North Atlantic Division Champion
Middletown, N.Y.

Josh Henry joined Safelite two years ago after working for a computer company. While the competition will be tough in New Orleans, he says that winning the North Atlantic was a boost of confidence.

“I was going up against legitimate veterans of this trade,” he said. “I’ve only been doing this for two years. But then I would catch a glimpse at someone making a mistake on a part that I already finished and I kept feeling better.”

Mike Napoli, Monroe, N.Y. store manager, said Josh’s determination reflects the Hudson Valley market’s drive for success. “We wish him the best of luck and have total confidence in his performance at the next competition.”

The final set of three customer service representatives who will make an appearance at Safelite’s Best of Belron national competition work in the referral division within the company. As the profiles below demonstrate, a common theme with all of these CSR competitors seems to be genuine enjoyment talking to our customers from all over the country and going above and beyond to delight. Good luck on Wednesday to all of our customer service representatives, including the sales central and field services representative divisions


Lori Kelly
Referral CSR
Cedar Rapids, Ia.

Lori Kelly has more than 25 years customer service experience and transitioned to Safelite after working for the Auto Glass Service Center and is now familiar with reporting all kinds of insurance claims. She has five children and three grandchildren.

Angie Miller
Referral CSR
13 years’ experience
Columbus, Ohio

Angie Miller was happy to be included among the three referral CSRs who reached Safelite’s Best of Belronnational competition in New Orleans.

“It’s just exciting to be acknowledged in this way,” Miller said. “I think my experience and account knowledge was a big difference. I work as part of the Help Desk, so I’m supposed to know how to handle all these different situations.”
 
Miller reaching the finals wasn’t a surprise to Contact Center operations manager Tisha Bivens.
 
“Angie always goes the extra mile to make sure the customer is taken care of,” Bivens said. “She strives for extraordinary results and customer delight every day.”

 

Lana Whittridge
Referral CSR
11 years’ experience
Columbus, Ohio

The ‘golden rule’ is a staple in the service industry because those who serve customers are customers themselves.
 
“I try really hard to treat everyone the way I would want to be treated and it seems to have worked,” Lana Whittridge said. “I just try to be in their shoes when I’m talking to them so I know how they feel.”
 
Whittridge’s method must be successful. The referral CSR will travel to New Orleans to compete to be the best sales CSR in the company at Safelite’s Best of Belron.Whittridge, who has lived in Columbus for more than 40 years, said she was in shock because she works with so many great people.

“It’s a privilege to go because there are so many outstanding CSRs surrounding me at work,” she said. “It’s an honor to be chosen among the best.”

At the end of next Wednesday, one of these Safelite field services representatives will walk away from the Safelite Best of Belron competition with a $2,500 prize. The reps will be scored in areas related to attention to detail and customer delight in their jobs.

Meet the three field services reps below:


Yabrae Buggs

Services Representative
14 years’ experience
Tallahassee, Fla.
Services representative Yabrae Buggs has a pretty good idea of how she advanced to Safelite’s Best of Belron final competition.

“I truly treat each and every customer the same I do the people who are closest to me – my family,” she said.

Buggs admits she is slightly overwhelmed by the competition but is excited to go.

“It’s been my heart’s desire to go to New Orleans for a long time,” she said. “I couldn’t have picked a better place for this competition to be held. I’ve wanted to go there especially since Katrina. I want to see how they’ve rebuilt the area.”

Amanda Kerley
Services Representative
Nine years’ experience
St. Louis

Amanda Kerley is carrying on the family tradition of competing in Safelite’s Best of Belron.

While this is her first trip to the national competition, her husband Steve Kerley, a Safelite technician, received an honorable mention in the 2009 Midwest divisional competition.

“It’s great to have his support through this,” Amanda said. “Steve’s been through the process before so he knows how much pressure it is.”

Steve will join her in New Orleans, but Amanda recognizes the prestige and expectations at this stage.

“The division competition was a lot of pressure for Steve and I know the national competition is even bigger, so it’s going to be exciting,” she said.



Christina Trueba
Services Representative
Nine years’ experience
Columbia, S.C.

Christina Trueba’s adult life has been shaped by her career at Safelite®.

Trueba started with Safelite® in her hometown of Seattle in 2003 when she was not yet 20. It was there she met her now-fiancé Mike Busby, who was a technician at the shop, and together they moved across the country to South Carolina.

“It’s been a crazy couple of months but it’s been fun,” she said.

Trueba also works as a dispatcher for the warehouse in Columbia. When they announced the final competitors, she was on the phones.

“Everyone was standing in the room waiting to hear who won but I was on the phone,” she said. “They started yelling, ‘You won! You won!’ and I was like, ‘You guys! I’m on the phone!’”

Trueba said she was excited because she knew it was a long shot.

“This part of the competition is so broad, being that it’s all across the country. I didn’t know I would make it.”


Technicians may often be a face for Safelite, but customer service representatives are also at the heart of our organization providing great support to our customers over the phone. Nine CSRs are advancing to New Orleans for their own segment of the Safelite Best of Belron competition. The three divisions are Field, Referral and Sales Central.

The CSR finalists are:

  • Aaron Alexander, Columbus, Ohio
  • Yabrae Buggs, Tallahassee, Fla.
  • Thomas Haas, Columbus, Ohio
  • Phyllis Holderness, Columbus, Ohio
  • Mandy Kerley, St. Louis, Minn.
  • Angie Miller, Columbus, Ohio
  • Wendy Powers, Columbus, Ohio
  • Christina Trueba, Columbia, S.C.
  • Lana Whittridge, Columbus, Ohio

Learn a little bit about the three Sales Central competitors below.

Aaron Alexander
Sales CSR
Five years’ experience
Columbus, OH

“Aaron is just so good at what he does because he holds himself accountable,” said Brad Polinko, Aaron Alexander’s job coach. “He consistently looks for ways to improve his performance.”

Alexander said the best part of his job is when he finishes a call with a customer and they say, ‘You really helped me out today.’ He always responds with, “I’m just doing my job.”

Alexander has a degree in psychology from the Ohio State University and plans to return for his master’s degree in the near future.


Thomas Haas
Sales CSR
Four years’ experience
Columbus, OH

Thomas Haas sits under the same job coach as fellow competitor Wendy Powers: Carl Williams, who is proud of his team.

“When you have good people, you can expect good results,” Williams said. “I feel blessed to have both Thomas and Wendy on my team.”

Williams said the race between them will be tight but he did predict one thing, “One of them will win and the other one will be the runner up.”

When this CSR isn’t helping customers over the phone, he enjoys downhill skiing, water skiing, horseback riding and riding snowmobiles.

Wendy Powers
Sales CSR
Four years’ experience

Columbus, OH

Wendy Powers has made customer service a career. Before joining Safelite in 2008, Powers held a similar position in the travel industry.

“I knew I wanted to stay in the same field,” she said. “I love the daily interactions with people all across the country. I love the personal contact you get from helping people.”

Powers recognizes her job is demanding, but, she said, it is very rewarding.

“Some days I’ll take 70-some calls,” she said. “But I know I helped people when I leave at the end of the day.”