Bonnell's Collision Searching for Young Workers to Join the Business
Scott Bonnell is a car guy. He always has been.
"I just love cars. As a kid, I've always been into racing. I love cars and I love to work on cars. Although I don't get to do that a whole lot now, it's more of a management thing for me now," said Bonnell.
He's the owner of Bonnell's Collision on West 26th Street in Erie.
He started off as a one man body shop in 1985. Today, he employs 74 in four locations. His employees spend their days putting wrecked cars and trucks, back together like new.
"I think the best part about it is when you see a car come in that's wrecked and mangled, what's nice about it is you can create it and bring it back just the way it was," said auto body technician Pat Mancini.
Besides the collision center in Erie, Bonnell also has a shop in Fairview, an auto sales business, and a hot rod shop.
It's been a great ride for Bonnell over the 26 years he's been in business, but one trend he says is alarming is the lack of young people who want to get started in the business.
"I think because of the computers and technology and the way things are today, a lot of the kids think that's where it's going to. But you know the hands on jobs are still out there. You can make a good living and there's definitely a shortage of body technicians right now," said Bonnell.
He says they're always looking for workers with a passion for cars, who don't mind getting their hands dirty. And even if you don't have a lot of experience, they'll send you to all the classes.
Take it from 41-year-veteran Pat Mancini, he says the job is worth taking a look into.
"To be truthful with you, it pays well. I put all my kids through college, bought me a half a dozen homes. It's a well paying job and a real worthwhile career, it really is," he said.
Being a business owner has been a worthwhile experience for Bonnell and he has the community to thank.
"They have a choice. They can go anywhere. I just appreciate the business that comes our way and try to give back that way for it," he said.