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2024 Hall of Fame: Rick Crook

June 7, 2024

Rick Crook was born and raised in the rural community of Afton, Wyoming.  His love for cars and restorations grew as a young man in junior high and high school, spending countless hours and weekends with friends scouring the adjacent communities in search of old hot rods or hidden gems to make into project cars.  He spent his senior year of high school in a Career Resource Training class at a local body shop in Afton.  The shop owner quickly recognized his ability in welding and eye for painting and hired him full time after his graduation in May of 1993, kick-starting his career in autobody repair. 

Rick aspired to attend WyoTech after graduation to learn more about his passion for hot rods and restorations.  However, starting life out with a young family did not allow him the opportunity to attend WyoTech early in his career. He continued his work in autobody as a combo tech and painter. In 1996, a position opened at Aviat Aircraft in Afton as an aircraft painter, and Rick jumped on the opportunity.  He worked painting custom airplanes with Aviat until 1998, when a sudden change in life pushed him to leave Afton and start a career in Oil and Gas Exploration. He worked for the next eighteen years as a seismic Heli-portable driller and crew supervisor all over the US. However, he never lost sight of his dream of one day owning a collision repair shop or a restoration shop.

In 2007, Rick and his wife Leah relocated to Kalispell, Montana, to manage a Seismic Acquisition company. He continued traveling all over the U.S., spending time overseas in Africa and Iraq managing equipment and personnel on Seismic Projects.  During this time, he continued to work on old cars/trucks, even acquiring a few project cars to restore along the way. 

In 2015 and 2016, there was a decline in the energy exploration industry. This downturn allowed Rick the opportunity to pursue his dream in the autobody industry.  In April of 2016, he started his next adventure of moving to Laramie, Wyoming, to attend WyoTech and educate himself in the new technology of autobody repair and painting, in order to re-enter the collision world and pursue his dream of owning his own shop.  Rick graduated from WyoTech in December of 2016 with a diploma in Collision/Refinishing with Upholstery. He stayed to attend the Applied Service Management specialty program after completing his original 9 months, as he knew this would help him achieve his end goal.  Rick graduated a second time from WyoTech in April of 2017, earning his Associate Degree in Applied Service Management in Collision and Refinishing.  Rick was honored as an Eagle Tech, Team Leader, and Honor Student with a 4.0GPA.  He had perfect attendance and received the outstanding student award for both Collision/Refinishing with Upholstery, and ASM. He also was a guest speaker at his second graduation in April of 2017.

After graduating from WyoTech, Rick returned to Kalispell, Montana, working in a large collision shop for the next four years. As luck would have it, another local shop owner was getting ready to retire from the autobody industry and sell the business. Rick was given the opportunity to take over said business and, on December 21st, 2020, Glacier Collision Worx, Inc. became a reality, and on April 1st, 2021, Rick opened the doors to his own business for the first time. Three years later, Glacier Collision Worx has grown into a successful collision shop in the Flathead Valley.  GCW has been nominated Best of the Valley in 2nd place for 2022 and 2023. Rick and Leah take great pride in being able to support their local community and give their employees a family environment to work in.  The satisfaction of putting GCW customers back on the road safely, with their vehicles restored to pre-accident conditions after a collision, is the most rewarding part of the job.

When we asked Rick what advice he would give to someone who was just starting his or her journey in the trades, here’s what he had to say

I would tell anyone trying to forge their own path to take the leap and do it. It took me a long time to make this dream come true, but I never gave up; and it made me who I am today. Pursue your dreams fully, have faith and surround yourself with people who support you and lift you up along the way. Never settle for anything less than your dreams.