Vehicle donated by State Farm Insurance and repaired by LaMettry’s Collision
A local Navy vet from Chaska, Justin Griego, and his family have been through more challenges than most. Justin has permanent disabilities from a helicopter inspection and maintenance accident after his second deployment, his fiancé Chelsea had cervical cancer, their son was diagnosed with Autism, and they were recently homeless.
Through it all, they have kept a positive attitude. According to those who know him, “Justin continues to provide service to others. He’s a very good example of service before self.” Now Justin and his family have a reliable vehicle thanks to LaMettry’s Collision, State Farm Insurance, NABC’s Recycled Rides program, and local vendor partners.
Justin’s military service was recognized at the Recycled Rides event at LaMettry’s Collision Chanhassen on Friday, September 8. He was presented the keys to a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan by LaMettry’s President of Operations, Darrell Amberson.
Speaking at the event, Chanhassen Mayor Laufenburger said, “I think it’s very appropriate that we all remember that you stepped in to serve your country at a time of need, and it seems very fitting that this community stepped in to help you in your time of need.”
State Representative Nash reminded everyone, “It’s amazing to think of what just a simple act of [receiving] a vehicle can do for your entire life. It puts you back in control of your life, it gives you hope, it gives you pride, and it gives you an opportunity to take care of your family, much like you took care of our country.”
Additional event speakers included LaMettry’s President of Operations Darrell Amberson, Chanhassen City Councilman and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Chanhassen Chair Jerry McDonald, and recipient Justin Griego.
Contributing vendors who made this event possible are 3M, aaa Auto Parts, BASF, Charity Cars, Copart, Choice Auto Rental, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, EP Auto Tire & Glass, Inver Grove Ford, LaMettry’s Collision, NAPA Auto Parts, Park Chrysler Jeep, Richfield Chamber of Commerce, Schmit Towing, and State Farm.
This is the 7th vehicle LaMettry’s Collision has repaired and donated through the NABC’s Recycled Rides Program.
About NABC and Recycled Rides
The National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program is a collaboration between insurers, collision shops, paint suppliers, and parts vendors to repair and donate vehicles to deserving individuals and community organizations across the country. http://www.nationalautobodycouncil.org/
In appreciation of our military, we will be donating a fully restored 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan* to a local U.S. Navy Veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism. This vehicle was provided by State Farm, and repaired by LaMettry’s Collision.
Our recipient, Justin Griego, was injured by a helicopter blade after his 2nd deployment. His injuries from the accident include muscle damage, insomnia, and other long term disabilities. This Recycled Rides vehicle will provide reliable transportation for Justin, his fiance, and son, so that he can finish school and find work. The nomination committee noted, “Justin continues to provide service to others. He’s a very good example of service before self.” Please read Justin’s story here.
Justin and his son, Matthew.
The Recycled Rides donation event will be held Friday, September 8 at LaMettry’s Collision in Chanhassen (1650 Motorplex Ct, Chanhassen, MN 55317).
10 am Refreshments & Social Time
10:30 am Presentation of Vehicle
All are welcome! We hope to see you there!
In appreciation of our military members and their sacrifice, we will be donating a Recycled Rides vehicle next month to a U.S. Navy Veteran who sustained injuries while on active duty. The vehicle was donated by State Farm, and fully restored by LaMettry’s Collision with help from our vendor partners. Our 2017 Recycled Rides recipient is Justin Griego of Chaska, MN.
Joining the service right out of high school at age 17 in 2005, Justin became a Navy helicopter mechanic working on MH-53E electrical components and serving as Plane Captain. He was deployed twice; both deployments were humanitarian missions that strengthened foreign relations and built schools in remote areas of the world.
After his second deployment, during a post flight inspection and maintenance routine, Justin was injured when the weight of a helicopter blade that was being reset came down on the back of his head and neck. His injuries from the accident include muscle damage, insomnia, and other long term disabilities.
In November of 2013, Justin and his fiancé, Chelsea, were blessed with a baby boy named Matthew. Shortly after his birth, Chelsea was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Her cancer is currently in remission, but the effects of chemotherapy remain. During this time, they noticed that Matthew was exhibiting signs of Autism. Fortunately they were able to intervene early, and he has made significant progress in speech and socialism. He will be able to attend pre-school and kindergarten on time.
Justin and his son, Matthew.
Unfortunately, due to all of these challenges, Justin had to quit his job to take care of his family, and they became homeless. Thankfully, they were selected by a program that helps homeless veterans, which is where they are at today. Justin is currently going to school to become an educator, studying in the fields of early childhood education and special needs to help children like his son.
This Recycled Rides vehicle will provide reliable transportation for Justin and his family so that he can finish school and find work. The nomination committee said, “Justin continues to provide service to others. He’s a very good example of service before self.”
LaMettry’s Collision is excited to announce the opening of its 9th location. LaMettry’s Collision in Chanhassen is located at 1650 Motorplex Court, off of Audubon Road. The new location is right in front of the AutoMotorPlex, and down the street from Paisley Park.
According to Brandon Mehdizadeh, General Manager of LaMettry’s Chanhassen, “Being located at the AutoMotorPlex is great for many reasons; it provides access to some of the best cars and enthusiasts in the market, offers a variety of vehicles to work on and people to interact with, and allows us to be in a growing area of the metro for residents and businesses.”
LaMettry’s Chanhassen Team Left to right: Brandon Mehdizadeh (GM), Andrew Engel (File Manager), Dayna Roth (Lead Office Coordinator)
Brandon Mehdizadeh is a familiar face in the local car scene, having participated in many car shows and clubs on behalf of LaMettry’s. As the new GM at a new location, he brings many years of experience within every facet of a collision shop. “Having started at LaMettry’s as a detailer, then parts, production, file managing, dealer relations and sales, and assistant GM at Eden Prairie, I’m excited about managing a new shop in a new market for us, and the opportunity for growth that brings.”
This brand new shop officially opened for business on Wednesday, July 5. “The new facility is state-of-the-art and the future of collision repair. It is trend setting with manufacturer certified personnel and equipment, while being conveniently located in the western suburbs,” said Mehdizadeh.
LaMettry’s is a local family business specializing in auto body, collision, and glass repair, which was founded in the LaMettry family garage in 1976. With the opening of Chanhassen, LaMettry’s now has 9 Twin Cities Metro locations.
LaMettry’s Chanhassen Shop:
Front Office & Customer Lounge:
Ken Scherping is LaMettry’s Chief Operating Officer, with over 25 years of experience at LaMettry’s. He is responsible for the company’s manufacturer certified repair programs. Scherping says, “Both car makers and insurance companies want to assure quality repairs for customers as vehicles rapidly become more technically complex. Certifications are the new standard for performance and leadership in the collision business. LaMettry’s is by far Minnesota’s leader in manufacturer certifications, and one of the top in the nation.”
The new Ford F-150 is an aluminum body vehicle and Scherping says most collision shops are not prepared or qualified to work on this body type. “LaMettry’s made the necessary investment in F-150 repair equipment, tools and training to make sure Ford F-150 owners get the highest quality repairs possible.” If new Ford F-150 owners do have a collision and need repairs, Scherping says getting a certified repair is critical. “Owners usually call their insurance agents for advice and direction, but the industry reality is that we’re still in an education period. Insurance agents and customers need to learn that the Ford F-150 needs the special equipment, tools, and training that only a certified repair shop like LaMettry’s can provide. With our Lakeville location being added to our Ford F-150 Certified aluminum repair locations, we’re making it even more convenient for Ford F-Series owners to get the repairs they need.”
In a world where people can end up long distances from where they started, James Junkers could probably walk home for lunch at the home he grew up in. He was raised with two sisters and a brother not far from the LaMettry’s Richfield location. “It’s about 8 or 9 blocks from here. Mom now lives in senior housing nearby. I know this geography like the back of my hand. Kind of comforting, actually,” said Junkers.
A graduate of Richfield High School in 2000, Junkers went looking for a job, and answered a newspaper ad for a full-time detailer at LaMettry’s Richfield. “I was young and in love for the first time in my life, and wanted to buy a home with my girlfriend. Well, you can’t buy a home if you don’t have a job. Looking back, I can’t believe how lucky I was to get on board with LaMettry’s. This is not only a family-owned business, but one where people feel like they are part of one big family.”
LaMettry’s new Richfield General Manager, James Junkers.
Junkers went on to work at the Eden Prairie LaMettry’s from 2003 to 2006, learning parts and production, then returned to the Richfield location in 2006. He became a General Manager in February of this year. He’s astounded by the rate of change in cars and collision repair he’s seen in his 17 years in the business. Junkers is even more convinced about the importance of people working together in an industry driven by procedure and process. “When I started there were a lot of people with decades of collision repair experience, and that was the standard. Today, because the rate of change is so fast in terms of vehicle body construction, materials and technology, things learned just a couple of years ago may have to be essentially ‘unlearned.’ We have to pick up things quickly and learn from each other. If I don’t learn something new during the day, then I wasn’t paying attention. That’s where real teamwork comes in and where great people drive the collision repair process,” he said.
But life is not an ascending straight line for anyone. People have ups and downs, good times and bad. Said Junkers, “I left the company in 2008, but was fortunate to be asked to come back two months later. Thanks to the support and love of my family and this company, I overcame alcohol addiction almost four years ago. My life is changed and new. I can’t even begin to think where I would be today were it not for the care and concern others have had for me. I am very proud of myself for meeting this challenge and so grateful to LaMettry’s and others.”
Those others are mainly family members Junkers tries to spend every moment with when not working. He has a 17-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, and a 7-year-old son, Jamison. His significant other who loves them all, Amber Elfstrom, works for Wells Fargo. “They are the reason I wake up every morning. They stuck with me through the most difficult years of my life, and the least I can do now is be with them whenever and wherever they are,” said Junkers.
The James Junkers household (left to right), James, 7-year-old Jamison, Amber Elfstrom, and 17-year-old Aaliyah.
That includes answering the call to join his daughter in her passion for tap dancing. “Yes, and I think I’m getting to be a better tap dancer every day. I’ll never be as good as Aaliyah, but she’s a great teacher,” said Junkers. With son Jamison, Junkers drives to hockey practice and baseball fields all around their hometown of Shakopee.
Summertime means visits to a family cabin near Danbury, Wisconsin. “We’ve been going to my sister’s cabin in Wisconsin for the past 13 or 14 summers. We get away from screen time and get outside and unhooked from the digital world.”
When Chris Engman attended jet mechanic school in Texas, and then worked on Navy jets stationed at the Boca Chica Naval Air Station in Key West, Florida, he pondered his life’s career path. Said Engman, “I thought for sure I would return home and work for Northwest Airlines. I never imagined Northwest Airlines would disappear, or that I would land a job I love with a great company like LaMettry’s for 21 years and counting. More proof I guess, that you can make plans for life, but life has plans for you.”
The Engman family: Natalie, 15, LaVonne, Chris, and Kyle, 18.
It all started falling into place when the 1991 Eden Prairie High School grad finished his U.S. Navy stint, and returned home in 1994. “I got a job as a mechanic at a local shop, busting my knuckles during the day, and playing in a dart league at night with a friend, Steve Daniel. Steve said I should apply for an entry-level position where he worked, LaMettry’s. I did, and got my foot in the door.”
And that was all Engman needed, working his way up with various positions at the Burnsville and Eden Prairie LaMettry’s locations. As manufacturers and dealers required higher levels of certifications and personalized service, Engman became the first dedicated LaMettry’s dealer representative for Feldmann Imports Mercedes-Benz. Said Engman, “I discovered how much I enjoyed being the ‘go-to guy,’ working directly with the dealer and their customers, and then as a liaison for our techs. It’s so rewarding to personally know the people you help.” So when the Audi Minneapolis and Porsche Minneapolis dealerships needed similar help, Engman got the call to work at both locations.
Chris Engman is stationed at Audi Minneapolis and Porsche Minneapolis to help provide top-flight, in-person customer service.
On a busy day, he might be working on the needs of ten different customers and their vehicles. “First, there are the daily items that come up. Even simple work today has more complexity in terms of parts and repair process. I try to do the best job possible explaining to the customer in language they can understand, what needs to be done, how we’ll do it, and how long it takes. We still have customers ask if the collision ‘bent’ the car’s frame. And I explain, ‘Well, your car doesn’t really have a frame. Almost all cars made today have a unibody.’ Second, there’s vehicle logistics, or safely moving vehicles to and from the dealership to our facilities, and working with techs to make sure things go smoothly. And third, if the customer needs a miracle, well, we try to make that happen, too. I recently had a customer tell me they wanted their tow hitch to match the vehicle’s color so it didn’t stand out. It took quite a while, but we got it done.”
Twenty years ago, Chris Engman’s mother set him up on a blind date. It proved historic. Mrs. Chris Engman, aka LaVonne Hanson Engman, is a Senior IT Business Analyst at MoneyGram. The couple are readying two teenagers to launch off into the world, Natalie, 15, a sophomore at St. Michael High School, and Kyle, 18, a senior also at St. Michael. “Life moves very quickly with two teens in the house. They’re both involved in sports so there’s a lot of time driving to school and games.”
Chris Engman and son Kyle are big sports fans, here at a Minnesota Wild game.
The Engman’s have some built in “quality time” devices for their family. “We’ve been Viking season ticket holders for 15 years, so that and other local sporting events are a great way to get away from routines and enjoy time together. Every summer in July, we rent the same cabin at Pine Ridge Resort on Girl Lake near Longville, MN. We all anticipate that.” But their daily dose of family bonding comes from their two prized pets, Chloe, a 10-year-old poodle mix, and Bailey, an 8-year-old golden retriever. “There’s nothing like a couple of warm and furry friends to make a house a home.”
The Engman’s cherished pets, Chloe, a 10-year-old poodle mix, and Bailey, an 8-year-old golden.
Happy New Year! Here’s a look back on our top stories of 2016:
LaMettry’s Wins, and So Do Automotive Students at the AASP-MN Race for Education
LaMettry’s Launches Bodyshop Revolution: Q&A with Darrell Amberson
LaMettry’s Hosts Advanced Vehicle Technologies Seminar for Insurance Personnel
Cars for Neighbors
LaMettry’s Participates in Summer Charity Golf Events
LaMettry’s Announces 9th Location in Chanhassen
SMASH Car at Lakeville North High School
Continuing Ed for Insurance Agents with Speed Volunteering
Toys for Tots Twin Cities 2016 was a Success!
As part of our company vision of “Leading the Automotive Repair Industry,” we have a focus on Automotive Manufacturer (OEM) Certifications. In fact, we have the most Manufacturer Certified programs in the Twin Cities Market. And we are currently working on a few more!
What this means for you is that we are experts on your vehicle. Manufacturer Certifications usually require training, specialized tools and equipment, and the proper facility to ensure that the vehicle is repaired to manufacturer specifications. Automobiles are getting increasingly complicated, but you can be confident that we know exactly how to fix your vehicle.
Our current Manufacturer Certifications and Recognition include:
Audi Authorized Collision Repair Facility
Cadillac Aluminum Repair Network Facility
FCA Recognized Collision Repair Facility – Fiat Chrysler
Ford National Body Shop Network
ProFirst Collision Repair Facility – Certified by American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Hyundai Recognized Collision Repair Center
Infiniti Certified Collision Repair Network
Lexus Approved Collision Center
MOPAR Recognized Certified Collision Repair Facility – Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Fiat
Nissan Certified Collision Repair Network
Volkswagen – VW
The 2016 Twins Cities Toys for Tots campaign was a success! All 8 LaMettry’s shops were drop-off locations. Thank you to everyone who donated! Our collection boxes were overflowing! We live in a wonderful community.
According to the Marine Toys for Tots Twin Cities, the 2016 Campaign distributed 248,739 gifts to 163,271 children, with an average of 1.52 toy(s) per child.
Lots of fun toys collected at LaMettry’s Collision Inver Grove Heights
Overflowing boxes of toys collected at LaMettry’s Collision Eden Prairie
Toys collected at LaMettry’s Collision Burnsville
Chris Nordquist from LaMettry’s drops off the rest of the toys at the Toys for Tots Warehouse in St. Paul