Competition Corner: Johnny Klassen
Perhaps your competitive spirit drives you to tint. Maybe it’s the pursuit of perfection or the pleasure of delivering sublime customer service. Johnny Klassen, owner of Solar Reflections Window Tinting in Grand Island, Neb., is all about cars.
WF: What inspired you to enter the window film industry?
Klassen: I’m a car guy. My first love when I was a kid was paint and bodywork. That morphed into vinyl wrapping and ended up in window tinting. I love my job, what I do and all the cars I get to drive … We’re always looking forward to something special to see, drive and work on.
WF: What’s your favorite ride?
Klassen: Whenever anything expensive comes through the shop, it’s always a, ‘wow,’ because I’m a simple guy. Tesla’s and mid-engine ‘Vette’s wow me; it doesn’t have to be anything special. I’m in rural Nebraska—we’re 50,000 people here in Grand Allen. I think there’s one Bugatti in town, so there’s not much here.
WF: This will be your second Automotive Tint-Off™ competition. How was your first experience last year?
Klassen: It went far better than I expected. I didn’t know what to expect, but I assumed I would [perform badly] under pressure. But it turns out everybody else [does] too, so it was alright.
WF: What’s your mindset heading into this year’s duel?
Klassen: I’m very competitive, and it’s a little frustrating to go into it knowing the chances of first place are pretty slim. I’ve changed my mindset and made it more of a personal competition—try to improve on last year and get better and better.
WF: Do you incorporate preparation techniques before competitions?
Klassen: I started hand-cutting but got a plotter. I’ve been doing that for the last four years at least. Leading up to the event, I’ll do more hand-cutting.
WF: What did you enjoy most about your first WFCT?
Klassen: I love the networking that happens when you’re there. I enjoy talking to knowledgeable people. It was awesome to spend three days around a bunch of tinters—to visit and discuss techniques, brands and tools. You walk around with people you’ve never met before, but you have lots in common.
WF: What do you hope to learn more about during WFCT 2022?
Klassen: I hope to do more research into the [paint protection film (PPF)] industry; hoping to talk to people about that and watch the competitions closer this year to see if I can learn more. We’ve done a few jobs, and it’s tough.
WF: What’s your why?
Klassen: I’ve found something I’m good at. I don’t know if it’s a developed or natural talent, but it is something I’m good at. To feel needed, have a place and have 10 to 15 phone calls a day keep me going.
Stay tuned for more conversations with registered WFCT 2022 competitors in the weeks and months ahead. I can’t wait to see you all—including Klassen—come September 14-16.
Click here to register for the largest WFCT to date.
Click here for my Q/A with registered competitor Ray Martinez.