Originally from Pine City, MN, Eli Trigas has lived in Duluth for the past 13 years. He is married to his wife Cirena, and they have a daughter named Raya. The family enjoys camping, four wheeling, snowmobiling and attending car events. He currently works as a Production Manager at Arrowhead Auto Body in Duluth where he’s been for the last six years.
“The best part of my job is being able to take a car that most people would think is beyond repair and making it look like nothing ever happened. The hardest part about my job is making sure every car is repaired on schedule and can be delivered on time.”
His job responsibilities as a production manager at Arrowhead Auto Body cover the repair process from start to finish, working with the entire team to produce a top notch result. “I oversee every aspect of the repair process from the time the car is dropped off for repair to the time the car is delivered, ” he explained. These production details include making sure the jobs get assigned to the technicians, those jobs are disassembled, and the techs get and check parts and write supplements, if needed.
Quality control during the process is always top of mind. “Once the technician has completed his repair I make sure the paint shop has a list of the cars that need to be painted that day and that all the parts for those jobs are ready for the paint department. Once the paint department is done painting and buffing the vehicle, I make sure the tech knows when that car needs to be assembled and ready for delivery. I also make sure the detail department has a list of the cars for that week so we can get every car cleaned up to ensure we do not leave any part of our repair process behind.”
Trigas started at LSC in 2006 to get his AA degree, but then decided that he would pursue an Associate in Fine Arts degree which he completed in 2010. After a year at the University of Minnesota Duluth, he came back to Lake Superior College for the auto body program which he graduated from in 2012. “I acquired a great base of knowledge at LSC that I needed to succeed in the auto body field, ” he said. “I worked at a shop while I was in auto body at LSC. This prior experience made a big difference in putting the things I learned at LSC into practice immediately.”
Trigas appreciates his work environment at Arrowhead Auto Body where every day brings a new challenge to the shop floor. “I loved working on cars growing up. I wanted to work in a field that every day I would be doing something different. I didn’t want to be sitting in an office doing the same thing for the rest of my life.”
He notes how much the automotive industry has changed because of sophisticated technology and high tech materials from even ten years ago. “You need to keep up with the times and have ongoing training to make sure that you are prepared for whatever the automotive industry will throw at us,” he noted. He believes that if a person is motivated, well-organized, detail-oriented and ready to keep up with an evolving profession, by all means, they should consider an auto body career.
What’s the future for a person considering an auto body career? “The auto body field is going to need new young people who want to learn and be ready for an ever-changing industry,” stated Trigas. ” I would encourage them to talk to shops, talk to technicians and do a little digging into where this industry started and see how much it has progressed. We need to start training our young people in trades such as auto body because that’s where the jobs will be as our baby boomer generation retires.”