Meet the Team at Next Generation Auto!

Shawn Kline | Next Generation Auto

Shawn Kline

Owner, CFO, Advanced Level ASE Certified Master Technician

Shawn Kline was born in Minneapolis, MN, and raised in Burnsville, MN. He graduated from Burnsville Senior High School in 2003, where he first started learning about the automotive industry. While in high school, Shawn began working at a local Ford dealership, learning much of the basics about cars and light trucks. He went on to work at a local Goodyear with his brother, where he met Jeremy Austrum. Jeremy soon became Shawn's mentor, and someone to look up to as he started his career.

After graduating from high school, Shawn attended Dakota County Technical College, where he took the two-year automotive program. At DCTC, he was chosen to compete in the Minnesota Automotive Skills competition. Shawn placed fourth in the state out of over 100 participants.

Shawn continued working at Goodyear for a few years and then decided to join the Army. He served in the Army Infantry, and after he was honorably discharged, he returned back to Goodyear. He took his ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) tests to become Master Certified in all eight categories, and also earned his advanced level certificate. To this day, Shawn continues ongoing training to stay on top of the latest in automotive technology.

Shawn worked at Goodyear for eight years before he and Jeremy opened Next Generation Auto in Baldwin. He and his wife, Daphne, along with their two daughters and two Australian Shepherds, live in Baldwin, and love being part of the community. Shawn is even part of the Baldwin Fire Department.

Jeremy Austrum | Next Generation Auto

Jeremy Austrum

Owner, CEO, ASE Certified Master Technician

Jeremy Austrum was raised on his family's farm in Hammond, WI. He graduated from River Falls High School in 1994, and then attended Dakota County Technical College, where he finished the Automotive Technician Program two years later. Soon after, he took the ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) tests, which he passed, and has been an ASE Master Technician since 1996. He continues to complete additional training courses each year to stay up-to-date with the ever-changing automotive industry.

Jeremy was employed at Goodyear in Eagan, MN from 1994 until spring of 2011, when he and Shawn started Next Generation Auto. He and his wife, Jessica, (with the help of friends and family) built the house they live in near the Austrum family farm. In 2010, they had their first daughter, Daisy, and Lulu LeeMarie was born May 30, 2012. The family is completed by their dog, Miller. Jeremy thanks his mother for teaching him to be hardworking and honest.

Melissa Renard | Next Generation Auto

Melissa Renard



Melissa Renard was born in Quincy, IL, and raised outside of Iowa City, IA. After graduating from Solon High School in 1988, she briefly pursued her dream of becoming a rock star before moving to Minneapolis, MN in 1991. In Minneapolis, she worked in the restaurant industry while studying Sociology and Spanish. She received her Associate's Degree in 1995 from Normandale College in Bloomingdale, MN, and her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Minnesota in 1998.

After 15 years in the Twin Cities, Melissa returned to Iowa to be near her family, residing in the Quad Cities area, but then returned to Minneapolis in 2014 with 25 years of restaurant industry experience and 16 years of management experience under her belt. She now resides in the River Falls area.

Melissa is a devoted music lover and attends concerts whenever possible. She loves the Vikings, the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Gophers (yes, both!), and hockey. She also enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and most of all, her many nieces and nephews.

Cody Suckow | Next Generation Auto

Cody Suckow

ASE  Master Certified Technician


Cody Suckow grew up in the Baldwin-Woodville area until he was about 10-years-old. He currently lives near Balsam Lake with his family and dog. In 2009, Cody graduated from Unity High School and went on to earn his AAS degree from Pine Technical College in Pine City, MN as part of the Automotive Technology program. He is glad to be part of the team at Next Generation Auto, where he wants to continue gaining experience in the field.

Corey Johnson | Next Generation Auto

Corey Johnson

ASE Master Certified Technician


Corey was born and raised in the country near Faribault, MN. While he was growing up, Corey learned by watching his dad fix anything and everything that needed fixing. His dream was to pursue a career in the automotive industry and one day own a repair shop, but things don't always go as planned. In 2006 he had his first child and in 2008 Corey got married. Providing for his family became a top priority. Although he was still the "car guy" to his friends and family, Corey worked in Northfield, MN at a factory job until he started the automotive program at Dakota County Technical College.

Corey graduated at the top of his class with honors and went to work for the Ford dealership in New Richmond. During his time at Ford, he continued to get specialized Ford training and discovered his passion for engines. Even though he became Ford certified in 3 specialty areas, Corey desired more. "I knew that to be the best I could be as a technician I needed to expand my knowledge from only fords and find the best all makes and models repair shop I could find. I'm very proud to be a part of the team at next generation auto and couldn't be happier with my decision. Being a top automotive technician is more than just a job to me, it's a passion that I've had since I was young. I currently live with my wife and three children and life is good."

Isaac Johanek | Next Generation Auto

Isaac Johanek

Manager / ASE Master Technician


Isaac grew up in the small town of Wausaukee, WI. He was home schooled and graduated in 2007. In June 2009, Isaac and his wife married and moved to Wyoming to start school at Wyotech. He took their automotive core program, specialized in motorsports chassis fabrication and graduated at the top of his class with honors. After graduating in 2010 they moved back to the Hudson area where Isaac started his career in the automotive industry. He has ASE certifications in 6 areas. Isaac and his wife now live in Roberts with their two daughters.

Laura Thelen | Next Generation Auto

Laura Thelen

Service Advisor


I have been working in the automotive industry for about 10 years now. I have been married for almost 3 years and just recently moved to New Richmond WI. In my spare time I love to play softball a couple days a week and have been playing since I was 8. I also love to do anything outdoors!! I have done everything in the auto industry from changing oil to a light duty technician and also worked in parts for a while. Now currently a service advisor. I have always had a passion for cars and love working on them and being around them. I love what I do and being able to help customers understand their vehicles more and being able to explain to them what is wrong and able to ease their mind that it can be fixed. I have always loved helping others since I was young. Working on and with cars does not feel like a job anymore and I have turned it into a career.

Garry Peterson | Next Generation Auto

Garry Peterson

ASE Master Technician


Garry completed the 2-year Automotive course in Red Wing MN after Graduating Ellsworth High School. Garry worked at the same location in Roseville for 32 years and then moved to Hudson WI. 2002 is when he became an ASE Master Technician. He loves spending his time with his granddaughters Fishing.

Robb Funk | Next Generation Auto

Robb Funk



Robb was born and raised in Osceola WI. He graduated from Osceola High School in 2006. He was fascinated with cars from a young age and began working at Jones Automotive in 2008 until 2018. He attended the Automotive Technology program at WITC Rice Lake and graduated in 2010. Robb is an ASE certified Master Technician with Advanced Level Engine Performance and Hybrid/Electric Vehicle certifications. He attended hybrid training with Automotive Career Development Center in Massachusetts and continues to take training seminars to stay up to date on today's complex vehicles.

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