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Ashhurst Vehicle Glass Gavin Wairau fourth in Best of Belron competition

Ashhurst Vehicle Glass Gavin Wairau fourth in Best of Belron competition

Gavin Wairau was fourth in the Best of Belron competition in Spain. Photo / Included

Ashhurst Vehicle Glass Technician Gavin Wairau’s repair and customer service skills have earned him fourth place in an international competition.

Wairau recently returned from a two-week trip to Europe, where he competed against technicians from 27 countries in the Best of Belron competition.

Every two years, top engineers from the world’s leading automotive glass and replacement companies are pitted against each other to become world champions.

Wairau, who works for Belron owned Smith&Smith in Palmerston North, won his spot in the international final in January when he defeated colleagues from 34 Smith&Smith sites across the country to take the title in New Zealand.

He has worked for Smith&Smith for 22 years, working on many thousands of vehicles during that time. While technical skills are important, he says, customer service is a critical part of the job and of the competition.

“The people we deal with are often upset, for example after an accident or if their vehicle has been damaged and property has been stolen,” he says. “It’s important to deal with customers, put them at ease and reassure them in those kinds of situations — and it’s very satisfying to provide them with solutions.”

Wairau’s first stop in Europe was a Belron training facility in Belgium, where he and the Australian and Canadian participants underwent a week of training, including with Belron’s European technical team.

He then went to Barcelona in Spain for the three-day competition. Time-bound challenges included performing a stone chip repair, replacing door glass, removing and reinstalling a rear window and recalibrating a windshield camera for the Advanced Driver-Assistance System (ADAS) – a critical aspect of keeping modern vehicles safely back on track. to get around after a windshield replacement.

There was also a mystery challenge that involved clearing a damaged vehicle without losing any of the property scattered inside, including cash and jewelry, and a role-playing category where contestants were judged on how they responded to an ailing customer whose car was broken into.

Wairau recently moved to a new position at Smith&Smith as a regional performance coach, training other technicians in the lower North Island.

“I now provide a lot of training and support,” he says. “I am passionate about providing the best service possible and I really enjoy empowering others to be the best they can be.”