CLEVELAND – Sherwin-Williams® Automotive Finishes partnered with Larsen Motorsports (LMS) in 2019 and established the Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund (Blazing Trails, a 501(c)3) addressing the talent shortage facing the collision repair industry by providing financial aid to prospective automotive technicians. Anest Iwata now joins the partnership to support the scholarship fund and build on its outreach effort to post-secondary education institutions with automotive service and collision repair and refinish programs.
Anest Iwata, a leading manufacturer of engineered solutions for air compressors, vacuum pumps, spray and finishing equipment headquartered in Cincinnati, will provide scholarship recipients with spray guns to use while in school and after graduation when employed in the shop.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of the Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund and not only support the industry’s effort to recruit talent, but be able to work directly with the schools and the educators, and help train future techs and painters on how to properly use our equipment and perfect their craft,” said Nicolle LouAllen, Director of Marketing, Anest Iwata.
Anest Iwata’s partnership began just in time to award the first Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund winner this year – Nicole Turner. Turner, 28 years old, is attending Florida Tech in Eustis, Florida, for auto body finishes. A Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund winner, she not only received a scholarship including a full year of tuition, but also four Anest Iwata spray guns.
“Ensuring students have the proper equipment and tools required to start their career is imperative to their success,” said LouAllen. “Nowadays students need access to state-of-the-art tools and professional instruction found in a college or vocational school, as well as the additional support and assistance from the industry in companies like us, and Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes and Larsen Motorsports.”
Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes and Larsen Motorsports announced the scholarship fund at last year’s SEMA Show and 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.
“We will be selecting three more trail blazers from now through the end of the year,” said Elaine Larsen, owner, Larsen Motorsports. “These students must be pursuing a postsecondary degree in automotive collision repair and refinishing and exemplify intelligence and leadership while demonstrating a passion a commitment to the industry.”
“It’s no secret, our industry needs qualified talent to fill the gaps we’re seeing now in automotive services and collision repair and refinish,” said Rob Mowson, Vice President of Marketing, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes. “Our goal, and especially now with the partnership with Anest Iwata, is to work directly with technical schools and colleges, and educators to build on their program with must-have equipment and products to prepare students for entry-level positions.”
The Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund is currently reviewing applications from students around the country. Click here for more information about Blazing Trails and to apply for the Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund.