Detail, Passion and a Bronze Medal: Aaron Bradford’s Success Story

April 23, 2024

Practice makes perfect for Aaron Bradford. He is the bronze medalist in the 2023 Auto Glass Technician Competition, which took place Sept. 20-22 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Aaron Bradford took home the bronze at the 2023 Auto Glass Technician Competition.

Bradford is an Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC) certified master replacement technician and owner of Driftwood Auto Glass in Brunswick, Georgia.

Bradford was introduced to the auto glass industry in a roundabout way. When he was younger, he was in Boy Scouts and then became a Boy Scout leader. As a leader, he took his troop to a camp in Maine. He liked it so much he went back by himself. While sitting around a campfire, he met a regional manager at Binswanger Glass, and they struck up a conversation.

“I was in a spot I wasn’t completely satisfied with, and he told me to come by and fill out paperwork, and I’ve been in the industry ever since,” Bradford said.

He has worked in the industry for more than 20 years. Bradford relishes the variety of he has worked on in his career. Several months ago, he replaced the glass on two 1969 Mustang Fastbacks and one 1970 Fastback. Bradford says that as an automobile enthusiast, he enjoys seeing so many interesting cars he might not otherwise encounter.

Bradford also found a fun way to celebrate his bronze medal. He bought himself a new Stratocaster guitar and enjoys playing what he refers to as his “forever guitar” during his limited downtime.

“When I got into music, it was Jimi Hendrix, Eric Johnson, Eric Clapton – all the people that caught my attention – they played Stratocasters, and I kind of just fell in love with them at that point,” Bradford said.

Beginning with his time at Binswanger, Bradford read about the yearly Auto Glass Week competitions in AGRR magazine. When his chance to compete came, he took it. His 2023 bronze medal marks his third competition.

Bradford has developed a strong attention to detail and meticulous organization throughout his career. These habits served him well in the competition.

“When we’re under pressure, we revert to the things that we do every day because you’re not getting a chance to think about it as much,” he says. “So it really just kind of instills doing the job correctly on a daily basis, every job, instead of trying to do something different for the competition.”

Bradford says the guidelines and safety standards he learned through AGSC certification play a role in forming those good habits. He explains that the times he’s competed, the winner always takes the gold by just a few points. Competitors win those points by doing things outlined in AGSC guidelines.

“Any extra point you can get here and there for doing things like cleaning the pinch weld properly at the proper stage, using safety equipment to protect ourselves, all of that adds up,” he says.

Bradford says customer safety is the most important part of his job, whether working on a high-end luxury vehicle or a 30-year-old car a parent bought for their teen: “Would you feel comfortable putting your own family member in the vehicle once it’s complete?”

“People’s safety depends on us doing things correctly and not cutting corners,” he says.

The Auto Glass Technician Competition will take place again at Auto Glass Week™ 2024. The event will be Sept. 19-21 in Orlando, Florida.

Auto glass technicians interested in becoming AGSC certified, like Bradford, can visit www.agsc.org for more information.

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