Shields and Sanders Autobody Story

(Left to right) Barb LeMue – President and CEO of New North, Jon Shields – Founder of Shields and Sanders Autobody, and Jamie Zastrow, Executive Director 

Jon’s Story: Jon came to Progress Lakeshore in the fall of 2021, looking for support to grow his brand-new business, Shields & Sanders Autobody, which had opened the month earlier in rural Two Rivers. Jon explained that he worked hard to overcome the life and choices of his past by completing his High School Equivalency Diploma at Lakeshore Technical College (LTC), and enrolling in their Auto Body Collision Repair Program. He graduated at the top of his class, then set out to own an auto body shop.


Over the course of several meetings, Progress Lakeshore staff and Jon developed a plan that was designed to help him grow his fledgling business. The plan included helping him apply for a $10,000 Mainstreet Bounceback Grant, a several-pronged approach to developing a meaningful on-line presence and accessing the Small Business Development Center for business planning and mentorship. Jon received the Bounceback grant and was able to purchase items for his shop, including building a paint booth and outfitting an office. Jon’s success, going from a troubled youth to a successful business owner, resulted in him receiving a nomination for Entrepreneur of the Year at Progress Lakeshore’s Annual Economic Development Awards Breakfast.


Staff continues to search for ways to help Jon be successful and referred him to the Defy Ventures entrepreneur training program to enhance his business skills. Through that program, he developed an understanding of multiple facets of small business ownership, was able to pitch his business at the Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee and was invited to attend the Packer Mentor-Protégé meeting at Lambeau Field this summer. Part of Jon’s long-term goal is to assist at-risk youth in developing the skills to make positive choices in their lives. He has been a guest speaker at Lincoln High School, the Manitowoc County Jail and the Calumet County Jail, among others.