COLUMBUS, OHIO - Belron U.S. has tapped a 20-year Safelite AutoGlass veteran to head a new National Training Team for the country’s largest vehicle glass repair and replacement company. The team will focus on recruiting and training 750 new technicians, implementing new technology and tools from Belron’s worldwide operations and escalating a “customer delight” initiative.

Scott Gardner, based in Phoenix, has been named director of technical and operations training for Belron US and will lead the National Technical and Training Team. Gardner, who joined Safelite AutoGlass in 1987, served this past year as division integration manager, leading the merger of operations after Belron S.A.’s acquisition of Safelite Group.

“This team will focus on operations and technical training, as well as developing talent throughout the organization,” Gardner said, who will supervise a team of 22 training employees deployed across the country. “We have a goal of adding 750 technicians in 2008, and we will train them using the Belron Best Practices that have been developed and refined through our company’s work in 30 countries around the globe.”

Gardner said the training team will be a focal point to introduce new tools and procedures developed by parent company Belron S.A.

“We served 3 million customers in the U.S. last year and more than 8 million around the world,” Gardner said. “Our goal is to share the expertise among all our technicians and to assure each and every customer becomes an advocate for our services. We know there is no better method of advertising than a happy customer who recommends us to a friend.”

Gardner said Belron US and its retail brands, Auto Glass SpecialistsTM, Elite Auto Glass, Glaspro, Safelite AutoGlass, and Windshield Pros, will add 750 new technician positions to cover current company growth and will prepare for future integration and hiring needs as Belron US pursues an aggressive strategy for profitable growth.

Since the Safelite acquisition earlier this year, the combined operation has grown from 6,500 employees to more than 7,000.

“We know there are many new associates coming to join us,” Gardner said. ”Our training team will assure that all associates understand the Best of Belron practices and are committed to making every customer a delighted customer.”

Belron expects the investment in training to pay immediate dividends in customer service.

“I am extremely pleased we are moving forward with further investments in our technical and training capabilities,” Rich Harrison, senior vice president and chief operations officer of Belron US said. “We have a strong foundation upon which to build and these further investments will allow us to continue to provide a high quality and safe installation for our customers as well as give us the resources to achieve our objective of delivering outstanding customer service.

“I am also quite excited about our future plans to leverage Belron’s global technical expertise into our U.S. business,” Harrison continued. “It is clear there is a significant opportunity to share best practices, such as the introduction of new tools and common global installation standards, and as a result improve our operational efficiency within the U.S. market.”