T&T Tinting Specialists Announces New CEO

T&T Tinting Specialists snagged LLumar’s National Dealer of the Year Award.

Kyle Horimoto has been named CEO of Hawaii’s T&T Tinting Specialists. Former CEO and founder Tommy Silva remains connected to the company by consulting Horimoto and the management team as chairman of the Board of Directors. Silva started the company in 1982 as a one-person mobile tinting service focused on car windows.

Forty years later, T&T tints between 400 to 500 vehicles per month and has installed more than five million square feet of solar control, security film and glass graphics on Hawaii’s hotels, government and commercial buildings, homes and condominiums.

Kyle Horimoto started at the company in 1997.

Horimoto’s time at T&T began at the age of 18 in 1997 in the automotive division. Starting at the front desk, answering phones and scheduling appointments, he moved up in the company and began T&T’s Glass Graphics Division which now designs and produces window and wall art in the U.S.

“Horimoto is the perfect man for the job,” Silva says. “He’s young, but has over 25 years’ experience in the company, has worked in almost every post in the organization, is smart, easy to work with, innovative, a great problem solver and carries the same firm but ohana-type management style that I have.”

Prior to entering year 40, in October 2021, Silva transitioned 100% of the company’s total ownership to all company employees through a qualified retirement plan known as an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Silva has sold 100% of his stock to the ESOP trust fund, so the company is now 100% employee-owned.

Tinting, Protecting, and … Replacing?

Dwight Lopez Sr. opened Dwight’s Auto Glass in Southern Arizona in 1986. Today, his son Dwight Lopez Jr. runs the same company, which has expanded to four locations in the 36 years since it opened.

Dwight’s Auto Glass has more than 21 team members.

“It’s good to do both so that we keep the business in-house,” says Dwight Lopez Jr., of his company, which offers film and auto glass repair and replacement services. “That’s what started us. My dad was doing window tinting when he started, and people came in with broken windows. He taught himself [the trade].”

Dwight Lopez Jr. oversees stores in Green Valley, Tucson, and Marana, Ariz., managing a team of eight film installers, eight auto glass technicians and several customer service representatives (CSR). The company’s film mix is an estimated 80% tint and 20% paint protection film (PPF). For Gilbert Quesada though, the owner of All Star Glass in Bosque Farms, N.M., it’s a 50-50 split.

“I’ll tint a couple windows, and down the road, you get a rock chip or need glass replacement,” says Quesada, who estimates that more than half of his jobs feed off each other. “There’s a lot of returning customers here for tint and glass replacement.”

Customers mix and match at All Star Glass.

The multi-skilled installer says repeat glass customers often become repeat window film clients. “A customer will schedule a windshield replacement, and see all of my film and XPEL advertising,” Quesada adds. “It turns into a replacement and film job at that point.”

Quesada’s company has been in business for three years and surpassed $200,000 in sales in 2021. His crew includes his mother, father, and sister. “Sometimes we’re stretched thin trying to do replacement and tint, but it has boosted our business,” Quesada says. “It’s not just one type of income; I’m replacing door glass, replacing a windshield, and then tinting a full [vehicle].”

Auto glass work accounts for 75% of business at Earl’s AutoGlass in Cozad, Neb., with tint comprising the remaining 25%.

“There are not many costs involved with tint,” says Tyler Earl, installer at Earl’s AutoGlass. “You can make a profit quickly by tinting windows, but if you were only doing window tint, you’d have to be pretty busy.”

Tyler is considering competing in the Automotive Tint-Off™ at the 2022 International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ (WFCT), Sept. 14-16 in San Antonio. He works alongside his parents John and Beth and says the company’s offerings keep him on his toes. “You’re working on different vehicles every day,” Tyler says. “I’ll help my dad put a piece of glass in, tint windows, or detail a vehicle. What I’m doing varies.”

Dave Cotter has offered auto glass and tint from the jump.

The tinting combination at Dave’s Glass & Tint in Pocatello, Idaho, is 50% automotive and 50% flat glass (commercial/residential). Commercial film jobs often include substantial tickets, but auto glass projects bring in 75% of the company’s sales. The business reached an estimated $900,000 in sales in 2021 and is projected for $1.2 million in 2022.

Dave Cotter founded the company—which celebrates its 30th anniversary in August—in 1992 and has offered both auto glass and film services from day one. “We have a Toyota Camry where we did paint protection film (PPF), tint, and replaced its windshield.”

Dwight’s Auto Glass reached $3.8 million in sales in 2021 and is projected for $4.2 million in 2022, but Dwight Lopez Jr. isn’t satisfied. The owner plans to take his team to this year’s Auto Glass Week/International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ (WFCT) in San Antonio from September 14-16.

“New products and tools excite me—to see what’s out there,” he says.

Are you interested in learning more about the auto glass side of things? Grab a free subscription to AGRR magazine and the glassBYTEs.com e-newsletter.

Marco Cazorla: The Traveling Trainer

Trainer Marco Cazorla spends his work weeks at XPEL’s headquarters and training facility, helping others harness skills he began sharpening in 2004. The building sits on the edge of Sunset Road in San Antonio, Texas, and it’s where tinters learn how to take on the trade. It starts and ends with patiently trusting the process.

Cazorla (right) trained Anthony Magana (left) of Denver Auto Shield in Denver, Colo.

Marco’s Auto Repair

Automobiles served as Cazorla’s second home during childhood. His father worked in auto repair and made sure he and his twin brother contributed to the family business. Repetitive tasks transformed into a career that began in 2004 at Steve’s Professional Glass Tinting & Auto Security in Upland, Calif.

“He would have us clean every single one of his drawers and his toolbox,” Cazorla says. “We would help him clean the shop. It mirrors what I did at Steve’s Glass Tinting when I first installed [film]. We would help with brakes, tires, oil changes and transmission [work]. It seems like my whole childhood is coming back.”

Today, Cazorla leads a five-day introductory course with two fellow trainers. The program begins with theory, tool usage and shrinking methods. The ideal audience knows next to nothing about window film when they arrive.

“In my training, I’m highly critical,” Cazorla says. “I tell [trainees] straight-up—’This is going to be an intense week, [but] we’re going to have fun; I’m not a boring teacher. The one thing I ask is that you do not quit on me because we all signed up to be here right now.’”

Outbound

The course’s onset aims to lay the foundation for what the group will accomplish during their week together. Trainees won’t be removing door panels, but they will learn the importance of two-staging. It’s an initial introduction to the world of window film that Cazorla packs for carry-on.

Cazorla trained the team at Rides Guatemala in Santa Catarina Pinula, Guatemala.

“I [also] go to the customer in their environment,” Cazorla says. “I struggle with what they struggle with, and I adapt to the environment so they can become a better installer. [I] prepare them for their next level of installation abilities.”

Cazorla plans to take tinting techniques to Spain, Morocco and Dubai once COVID subsides. He traveled to Rides Guatemala in Santa Catarina Pinula, Guatemala, in November 2020.

“We were working on Porsches, G-Wagons—all high-end cars,” he says. “I learned that, specifically in Guatemala, the passion for learning this trade is extremely high. Anything I said, they were taking notes. They were more eager. It’s like their life depended on it financially because it did.”

Corrections and Reflections

Cazorla trains 200 people per year on average. He hones in on the details, emphasizing realistic expectations when taking tinters under his wing. “This trade is not something you can learn in one week. You can’t speed up the process with window film; the probability is not there. Someone coming out of training is not going to hit a home run, be at my level or the level of someone who’s been in the industry for more than ten years. That’s why you can’t quit—you have to continue on the path, and you have to keep going.”

Cazorla teaches tinters-to-be, striving to open up careers for those who don’t have one. But his purpose is multi-layered.

“Yes, I know how to do window tinting and paint protection film (PPF),” Cazorla says. “But I enjoy changing peoples’ perspective on this industry, changing their trajectory in life, really getting to know them and building relationships. You don’t know what that [person’s] going through, so you need to approach it from a different angle.”