Johnny ‘Blades’ Gonzalez of Texas Heat Tint in Huffman, Texas, recently hosted two Hüper Optik-facilitated architectural window tint training sessions in Houston. With more than 10 years of industry experience, flat glass film star Gonzalez relishes the opportunity to pass along skills and strategies to the next wave of tinters. I caught up with ‘Blades’ during that training for a brief discussion.
WF: What is it like hosting these courses?
Gonzalez: It’s always cool to see the progress. I’ve been a novice, moderate and expert-level installer. When Hüper Optik invited me to train, I was ecstatic. All of that experience has been building me up to this moment—now I get to share that experience with other people who want to learn. Having them come from different states to train here—we’re past that motivation stage.
WF: What is the key to architectural tinting?
Gonzalez: If I can teach you how to peel the liner, after that point, you got it. Trust in your blade. As long as you can dominate that blade, your cuts will always be perfect. That’s the main thing about flat glass—we’re not heat shrinking, blow torching or doing anything crazy or extravagant. We’re just mastering the knife.
WF: What stands out about your most recent group of trainees?
Gonzalez: My first group of guys were from Houston. It was easier to train them because we speak the same lingo. We can relate more because we’re from the same hometown. With this group of guys, I get to train with people from other states—someone from North Carolina and Missouri and someone from The Woodlands [in Texas]. I get to meet someone else from my same town and three other fellows that are from some other state. Later on, it could lead to, “I got this big project—do you want to help me out?” It’s a great form of networking for me.
WF: How does your course’s agenda progress throughout the week?
Gonzalez: The first day is talking about getting the job; the second day is getting to the glass. We go over protecting our “splash zone,” the six-foot radius around us, and being aware of surroundings. We also go over what kinds of floors can and cannot get wet; we go over how to prevent confrontations with customers that can happen on the jobsite if it goes south.
WF: What is the most crucial element of teaching the trade?
Gonzalez: I’ll never forget who trained me. It’s important to motivate them to continue with flat glass. They’ll never forget that person who told them, “You got this, man—don’t give up.” Even after the training, I feel like I grow a bond with them. I give them my contact info and tell them to call me if they have any problems with the glass or any questions. If I don’t have an answer, I know someone who has one.