I spent most of high school bailing on class to wrench in the auto lab but had no aspirations to work in the auto industry or turn my hobby into a job. Instead I went on to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and pursued a degree in journalism, concentrating on advertising. I’d wring my Mazda RX-8 out on back roads, but that was about all the autophiling I did. A couple years into college, a professor, Peter Jacobi, encouraged me to start writing after reading a piece I did for his class. So I did and fell in love with it. I took up a yearlong position writing a column for the student newspaper, followed by an internship and freelance work for Tribune Media Services in Chicago. Soon enough, I decided I needed to write articles focused on something I cared about, like cars.
After stalking the Automobile staff, I met with deputy editor Joe DeMatio, whose first words to me were, “I don’t know why you’re here.” Fast-forward to today, and here I am. And, yes, from time to time DeMatio still wonders why I’m here. So do I, as it was neither a lust for writing nor a lifelong dedication to working at an auto buff book that landed me this job. It was a series of unexpected events and slight life-plan readjustments that led a green writer, two years of experience under his belt and tattoos on his arms, here.
I walk into this office and think, just like Garth and Wayne, “I’m not worthy!” Looking back on what I’ve accomplished since day one at this magazine has me thinking I might have the chops to hang, but there’s a long way (and a lot of editing) to go before we can be sure of that. For now, I’ll keep working toward the day DeMatio stops asking me what I’m doing here.
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