2008 10 Under 40 Awards
Co-owner and chief operating officer | Automotive Glass Experts
Sun Prairie, Wis.
One-word description of self: Diligent
One-word description of the auto glass industry: Challenging
Favorite Web site: ESPN.com
Lesson learned the hard way: Never install a semi windshield by yourself on a windy day!
Jay Beranek, 31, performs high quality installations and has a strong desire to exceed customer expectations, his customers say. Being brought up in the industry helped hone his talent. "My father [Bob] has been in the industry for almost three decades now, and being around him, watching him, learning from him, his passion, hard work [and] dedication to his work, interested me," Beranek says.
Beranek started out in the auto glass industry in the mid-1990s as a driver for Safelite AutoGlass in Phoenix, delivering glass in one of the biggest retail markets in the United States. Within a year, he moved into the office as a customer service representative to learn about computer programs, systems and everything associated with the day-to-day operations.
Through the next few years Beranek paid his dues, and in 2004, joined Automotive Glass Experts in Sun Prairie, Wis., as co-owner and COO. Today, he spends most of his time improving or educating the industry and himself in new and creative ways.
"I'm a big fan of change," Beranek says. "Change keeps you on your toes, and what better industry for change than the automotive industry? To me, education and safety [are the] key to success. Every single year new automobiles are introduced, and it is up to us to make sure those changes are implemented into our daily routines the right way."
To that end, Beranek assists in national trade shows around the country, and researches new product lines, supplies and techniques. "I'm a technical consultant to Auto Glass University, the online training course, and technical contributor to numerous glass companies and associations around the country," he says.
It is not easy for anyone, including those of Beranek's age, "to take a leap of faith as big as running a company without a safety net, but he did it without blinking," says Bob Beranek, co-owner, Automotive Glass Experts. "He came in with both guns blazing and increased sales and profits immediately."
His customers respect Beranek's work as well.
"I often receive compliments from my customers about the quality of work that Jay performs on their vehicles," says Steve Kundert, owner, Steve Kundert Agency, LLC, American Family Agent, Poynette, Wis. "Jay is not only quick to respond to my customers' needs but also takes the added time to explain to them the repair process."
Beranek's passion to do a great job for his customers is rooted in his liking for people. Professionally, "he has clients that are loyal to a fault," his dad says. "They will wait for days to have Jay handle one of their difficult customers, knowing that they will walk away pleased." Personally, his friends tend to be friends for life, Bob adds.
Beranek was popular among his peers even in high school, Bob says. "He was an athlete and was elected to the homecoming and prom court several years in a row by his fellow students. One year, he didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so he asked three girls as dates."