My return to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee during the Reagan era for a second bachelor’s degree accomplished two things: I made writing for a car magazine a career goal, and I met my future wife, though it took Donna two decades to come around to the latter idea. Over that quarter-century, I went on to write general assignment stories for the Milwaukee Sentinel, became a cop reporter, then schools reporter and film critic for the Quad-City Times, where I also covered Cary Grant’s death in Davenport, Iowa, and then I worked for the San Diego Business Journal, where I became an expert on the arcane America’s Cup Deed of Gift. When I moved to Washington, D.C., where I wrote about the Clinton health care reform plan and other Capitol Hill issues for an inside-the-beltway newsletter publisher, I thought I had found my true calling. Matt DeLorenzo convinced me otherwise, and I moved to Detroit in 1996 to work for AutoWeek. Four years later, Jack Keebler lured me to Motor Trend, where I wrote news and rumors about future cars, voted in a dozen (each) Car of the Year and Sport/Utility of the Year competitions, and blogged as the Motor City Blogman. Detroit is to the global auto industry what Washington is to national politics. It’s easily more fascinating and as frustrating to cover as a journalist. The commute is far more interesting.
My years at Motor Trend, working side-by-side with Technical Director Frank Markus, have been enormously fulfilling. I’ve become fully immersed in the nuts and bolts of cars, and the industry. You have to keep a love for cars and driving in perspective. For me, Donna, our two collies, and my family back in Wisconsin come first. I can be nearly as passionate about politics, movies and art, and the Green Bay Packers, of which I’m a shareholder. My favorite sport is still Formula 1, though.
Automobile is about living with cars, both the good ones and the bad ones, but most importantly, the most interesting ones. With autonomous cars on the near horizon, we face the greatest threat to our enthusiasm since the malaise and oil embargoes of the ‘70s, the era when I earned my driver’s license. With Jean, Joe and their crew, Automobile already has the best, most interesting writers to explain why you should put down that mobile phone and grab the steering wheel. I’m thrilled to become part of this team and I look forward to helping place the cars and the way we drive them in context.