Training Day: Equalizer Trainer Reflects on Drastic Career Change

Kevin Stoever worked at drugstores from 2002 to 2021. Stoever’s nearly two-decade career started in the stocking and photo departments at Walgreens, where he would move into assistant and store manager roles. He made similar strides at CVS years later but desired a career change to spend more time with his family. That’s where Equalizer came into play.

Kevin Stoever is one year into a monumental career shift, and he loves every minute.

Equalizer has offered professional instruction on the removal, replacement and repair of auto glass to technicians, owners and entrepreneurs since 1992. The core essentials of its Auto Glass Academy class is a five-day course giving students four full days of hands-on training using its fleet of vehicles. Instructors guide trainees on removing and replacing the windshields, back, quarter and door glasses. The course also includes rock-chip repair, a urethane clinic, classic sets and live calibration sessions. Stoever joined the program as an instructor last year.

“I was thinking of something I could do in my career to be around my family a bit more,” Stoever says. “I couldn’t travel to see family during holidays because I had to work the next day or work on that holiday. I thought about learning a trade.”

Stoever’s wife posted about his job search on local social media groups, attracting an opportunity with Equalizer. Global sales director Shauna Davis reached out for an interview.

“I was timid at first because I had no background in the auto glass industry,” he says. “I decided to work with Gilbert [Gutierrez], be his assistant and be an instructor for auto glass academy.”

Gutierrez auto glass industry experience began in 1977. He’s held the title of Auto Glass Academy Global Education director since 1992. Equalizer presented Stoever with two paths: sales and training. He opted for the challenging training path, diving into an entirely new arena. But he carried over applicable communication skills.

“Being able to talk to people during tough conversations,” Stoever says of learned skills from his time at CVS and Walgreens. “If you go into the pharmacy and it’s over a prescription—they’re not feeling good. You’re having those tough conversations; it could be an insurance thing. Going into the Auto Glass Academy, being able to talk to someone and explain [helped my process]. Being able to have conversations—just being a people person.”

Auto Glass Academy also hosts ADAS Academy, which aims to “bring the full experience of working with ADAS recalibration systems already in use by major auto glass chains worldwide to give technicians insight into how their business will be affected by this rapidly emerging technology.” For Stoever, conversations surrounding safety are most crucial.

“Accidents do happen,” he says. “Follow the steps—not rubbing your hand on the pinchweld after trimming the urethane, which can contaminate the surface. I don’t want to teach you to cut corners. When we teach you, we want you to be taught to do it the right way.”

This article is from glassBYTEs™, the free e-newsletter that covers the latest auto glass industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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