Innovation Award Name Changed; Winner Announced at Auto Glass Week™
September 26, 2012

by Casey Neeley, cneeley@glass.com

Nick Gittins of Techna Glass in Clearfield, Utah, third-place winner in the Pilkington Clear Advantage Auto Glass Technician Olympics (AGTO), was the first-ever recipient of the newly-renamed Ray Asbery Innovation Award, known in past AGTO competitions as the AGRR Innovation Award, for his development and use of modifications to his setting tool. The award has been named to honor Asbery, who developed many innovative tools throughout his industry career and held more than 20 patents in 15 countries.

“He had a lot of respect for inventors and the tools they created, that’s why I’m really thrilled at this point to announce that going forward from here-on-in, the AGTO Innovation Award is going to be named the Ray Asbery Innovation Award,” says Debra Levy, publisher of AGRR™ magazine and glassBYTEs.com™.

The award, renamed posthumously for Asbery, will go to an annual AGTO contestant the judges determine as using pioneering strategies during the competition.

“My buddy Dan Atkinson—he’s a machinist—he helped me alter a setting tool so it’s adjustable and it adjusts to the pitch of the windshield... I owe him a lot of thanks,” says Gittins. “I’ve been asked about it [by other technicians] pretty frequently.”
Asbery created his first innovative tool as a solution to the time-consuming process of cutting through the urethane when removing a windshield during the eighties.

“I went down to the shop the next morning and made the tool,” said Asbery in an interview with AGRR™ magazine and glassBYTEs.com™ years ago. “That particular version of it was made from just a little piece of bandsaw blade with the teeth ground off of it. I gave it to one of my technicians and he went down and came back just completely excited about how quickly he cut the windshield out of the Ford.”

The renaming of the award was announced at the gala awards and reception held during Auto Glass Week™ 2012 in Louisville, Ky. September 21. The Asbery family, including Ray’s wife Clare, son Eric and daughter Wendy Schneider, attended the event which also featured a tribute video honoring him.

This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/glassBYTEs.com™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
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