Elise Groenewold says she notices some people are quietly skeptical when she enters the shop with cars

That is until they see her sanding, welding and painting.

The artist-turned-auto body worker has been interested in cars since adolescence, but she didn’t really think about working on them until she was in college. Elise was earning her degree in fine arts, and she realized she was shifting gears when her artwork transitioned from still life drawings of flowers to sketches of cars and trucks.

Elise’s interest turned into a passion, and she went on to complete a degree in collision repair. Her hobby quickly developed into a rewarding, hands-on career. While attending school, she competed successfully in SkillsUSA in 2014 and won a medal at nationals. She was the first woman to ever place in the top three in the Collision Repair competition.

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News, Workforce / Skills Gap