Work: An Interview with the Man Behind the Movement
Mark Rizzi, owner
of ACR Glass in Alliance, Neb., has been involved in the auto glass industry
since 1985 and in recent years has become known for his work documenting
substandard windshield repairs and replacements. He was recently quoted
in an article in the Automotive Body Repair News for his support and involvement
with the recent anti-steering legislation that has been introduced in
Rizzi took some time
out of his day to answer some questions and tell us about his work for
the industry. He got started not with substandard installations but with
battling corrosion problems. He explained that the law currently in discussion
isn't specifically about substandard installations, it's about steering
and letting the customer know he has a choice.
"The law is about
accountability and to put accountability back in there," he said.
"That's what no one wants to talk about, that the customer has a
right to choose."
When you started,
what was your plan, in terms of correcting the problem?
Someone told me once that you can't change the world but you can change
your little corner. That doesn't apply. You can't change your corner.
The plan was to create and put in to place a set of standards to comply
with. A benchmark of standards so that you don't have one person saying
a wire brush is good enough while someone else wants to redo the whole
thing. No one can be 100 percent sure that all the corrosion is removed.
Even if we could, what are we going to do? Roll it right back out to a
corrosive environment. We need to try to restore corrosion protection
level to nearly that of the factory standards.
How'd you become
involved with the Nebraska Auto Body Association?
I think when you get, at some point, quality control people and consumer
advocates, they just kind of end up together. There are those in the industry
who choose to go along until something better comes along, and there are
those who would rather make a positive change and keep the consumer in
the forefront of the positive efforts. Consumers deserve to have the top-notch
quality materials, quality workmanship, to restore their vehicles back
to OEM design, not just government standards. We should be going by what
the manufacturers set for standards, not what the government put in place
before airbags existed.
Was steering a
concern for you before this potential legislation?
Yes, absolutely. We have countless systems out there where there is "we'll
pay this much" and there is no consideration for quality glass, quality
workmanship. They just throw the cost out and the shop is forced to work
within the cost parameters.
have you had stem from the work you do?
I don't know who put the windshield in. I don't want to know who put the
windshield in. I don't ask because then I can't be unbiased. From customers,
though it's more "Thank you very much for showing us the problem,
we had no idea." I've never had a bad reaction. As a matter of fact,
everyone has been very thankful.
What do you say
to people who work ethically, properly and legitimately, who are having
problems staying in the market?
Never apologize for doing quality work.
What would you
say to those whose workmanship is giving the industry a bad name?
I would probably show pictures of cars that belong to customers of ours,
cars we've done windshield replacements on and later were involved in
rollovers. I'd point at the photo of the car the 16 year old girl rolled
(and escaped with only a bump on the head) as well as other vehicles that
people rolled multiple times and walked away, the worst injury was a broken
collar bone. I'd say "this is why we should be paying attention to
every aspect, every detail. Because you never know when someone's life
is going to depend on it."
What do you think
the bill's chances of passage are?
Don't know. I'm still assessing what the opposition is. They [the opposition]
are still working behind closed doors. It will be interesting to see what
If the insurance
companies do not steer, then why would they have such opposition to the
That's been my huge question. Why would you object to a law that forbids
you from what you're not doing? Please tell us. Everything we're doing
promotes fair competition. Fair competition is alive and well in other
industries, it should work in ours, too. Checks and balances work in other
industries, but not in ours. We had one insurance industry representative
who came in and said the bill is going to raise insurance rates, but when
I raised my hand and asked her why, she had no answer.
What advice would
you give to others who want to get similar legislation in the works in
Change starts at your own front door. No one is going to do it for you.
Just do it. The people in California didn't have a problem getting this
and they're much higher regulated than Nebraska is. For ease, we're going
to put it in writing that was already approved in a higher regulated state.
We're going to make it easy for everyone. We're not alone. Colorado and
California already have legislation in place. Massachusetts and the state
Washington are also working on getting legislation passed.
As adamant as Rizzi
is about customer safety and protecting the customer as well as the independent
glass shops, he's not out to take down the Insurance industry, either.
He stressed one particular point throughout the interview.
"I have no problem
with insurers wanting to control costs, but a line has to be drawn where
cost control stops eating into quality and safety," he said. "The
basic thing is, this law is not about cost. There's nothing in this law
that says insurance companies can't watch cost. I wouldn't want to be
party to anything that would allow a license to kill. I have no problem
with insurers watching cost, to protect themselves, and this law doesn't
stop them from doing that. It just says that you can't market a consumer
at the time a claim is filed unless he asks to be marketed or okays to
be marketed, or agrees to be marketed. I don't have the advantage of being
able to market the customer when he files his claim."