CLEVELAND – Sherwin-Williams® Automotive Finishes and Larsen Motorsports have named the first Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund recipient: Nicole Turner, a 28-year old certified motorcycle mechanic/technician now attending Lake Tech in Eustis, Florida, for auto body finishes.

“Nicole is the definition of a trail blazer,” explained Elaine Larsen, owner, Larsen Motorsports. “She’s the reason we started Blazing Trails and why we established the scholarship fund with Sherwin-Williams. She’s fearless, she’s breaking boundaries, and she’s setting a new standard. She is the perfect person to receive the first scholarship.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and becoming a certified motorcycle mechanic/technician, Turner decided to merge her two loves – paint and motorcycles – and continue her education in automotive refinishing.

Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund recipients receive a full-year of tuition with four paint guns provided by Anest Iwata to ensure students have the proper equipment to start their career in the automotive service and collision repair industry.

“Nicole was unanimously nominated by her instructors,” said Larsen. “They described her as an outstanding student in every way: intelligent, a quick study, always showing patience and a good attitude.

Larsen added, “With the support from Larson Motorsports, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, and Anest Iwata, Nicole has all the tools she will need to go straight into the workforce and have a successful career in automotive refinishing.”

Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes partnered with Larsen Motorsports in 2019 to establish the Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund to address the talent shortage facing the collision repair industry. “The scholarship program is aimed at vocational and/or technical training in STEAM - science, technology, engineering, arts, and math - careers,” said Larsen.

“Attracting career-minded students and skilled professionals to pursue an education in automotive service and collision repair is key,” says Rob Mowson, Vice President of Marketing, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes. “Collision repair is becoming highly technical, and there is a shortage of young talent entering the auto repair industry. Recruitment for the next generation of auto repair technicians is more important now than ever before.”

At The SEMA Show last year, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes auctioned off 33 one-of-a-kind art panels custom airbrushed and pinstriped by some of the industry’s most well-known painters, including Steve Gibson, Joe Martin, Ryan Templeton and Darren Wenzel. The auction raised more than $25,000 for the Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund.

The Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund is currently reviewing applications from students around the country and will announce additional recipients throughout the year. Click here for more information about Blazing Trails and to apply for the Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund.