Keith’s counsel: Try different things, test new markets, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and, most importantly, “have fun.”
I couldn’t have had better mentors than him and Peter Brown.
It was a wondrous time filled with great industry personalities, vibrant auto shows, global dinners and, mostly, new friends.
Years later, after I’d returned to Detroit to be editor of Automotive News, Keith asked a final question: “Will you be the publisher?”
Was there an option?
The chance to grow our powerful brand, surrounded by extremely talented, highly committed colleagues and passionate teammates, made the last eight years a wondrous journey complete with a vibrant transformation to new videos, podcasts, virtual car reveals, expansion into mobility, fixed operations, Canada and our Leading Women enterprise.
Amid it all there was a common theme among readers: “Automotive News just doesn’t miss a beat,” they told me again and again.
Incredible teammates. Wonderful clients.
Amazing moments and people.
This brand is filled with close connections, from my business partner for 18 years, KC Crain, to the two people who interviewed me for the job back when I didn’t know a CAR conference from a car: Ed Lapham and Dave Versical.
Which leads me to Dave, our chief of editorial operations, who not only took a chance on hiring the Midwest sportswriter, but also handed him a story to write on his first day on the job in October 2003.
Former Ford and Chrysler marketing executive Joseph Campana had died.
Automotive News needed a writer for the story.
“Give it to the new kid,” Versical said, pointing to me.
I didn’t know Joe Campana from former Brooklyn Dodger Roy Campanella.
But Dave guided me, led me and taught me, as he has done for the last 18 years, even during his stint as a Bloomberg editor when we’d meet for breakfast on Detroit’s east side on my visits home from my publisher gig in Europe.
He was a mentor. And sometimes I’d tell him how much I was afraid of the stage that I’d been asked to take.
“No problem,” Dave assured me, as he sipped his coffee. “You can do it.”
Indeed, we did.