AKRON — When I was in college in the early 1970s, the last thing I wanted to do was follow my father into the world of trade journalism.
The thought of sitting at a desk all day banging away on a typewriter (that's what we used in those days) and talking to people about tires had no appeal at all. How boring. I wanted something more exciting.
My Dad back then was the editor and publisher of Modern Tire Dealer, and later he co-founded Rubber & Plastics News, which he and his partners later sold to Crain Communications Inc. While at Crain he started Tire Business. So you can certainly say I have trade journalism in my blood.
But my interests in college were elsewhere, and I ended up with a degree in biology/management and a plan to go into the forest service.
But sometime during my college senior year, I started to change my tune. I had been writing sports stories for the college newspaper and later volunteered in the office of communications. And surprisingly to me, I enjoyed the work. And so I began to think that working in the woods with all those non-verbal trees and shrubs was not really what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Luckily I had the foresight to apply to graduate school as a just-in-case back up. Still it wasn't until mid-summer following graduation that I decided to go back to school to work towards a master's degree in journalism.
The rest, I guess you'd say, is fate. Following graduation I joined Rubber & Plastics News as an associate editor and worked at Crain for about a year.
Then I got a call from a high school boarding school were I worked in development and communication for about four and half years, but I kept writing for RPN, knowing someday I would re-enter the trade publishing world.
That day came in January 1985 and I have been at Crain ever since.
If you've been reading the fascinating blogs by Tire Business editorial staffers as part of our 30th anniversary celebration, you may have noticed a theme.
All of us enjoy covering the tire industry and writing for the trade press, whether it's Reporter Jennifer Karpus, who has been with Tire Business a little more than a year or Senior Washington Reporter Miles Moore and Special Projects Reporter Bruce Davis, who have been involved with the publication from the start.
We've all gained an appreciation for the tire and automotive service industries and for the entrepreneurial spirit and business savvy of independent tire dealers.
Covering this industry has allowed us to see the world, talk candidly with industry chief executives, pick the brains of tire dealers in their places of business and to write about all the important issues impacting the tire industry and business today, both in North America but globally.
What have made this career even more special are the interesting people who work in the industry. I think often about why I enjoy my job so much. And after nearly 29 years at Tire Business I know why.
It's because Crain Communications, my employer, has allowed us to cover the news with editorial integrity; it's because of the interest, hard work and fun of the editorial staff; and it's because of the kindness and community-minded approach of independent tire dealers, who when you visit them often invite you back to their homes and who often hug their customers, who have become friends.
It's because the industry is so vital to our way of transportation. It's because it's a global business filled with talented and competitive executives. It's because tires are some of the most technologically sophisticated products in the world, which unfortunately are viewed by most as a commodity.
And it's because of our readers, who have supported Tire Business for three decades and appreciate our efforts to give them the news and information they need to help them be successful.
Thanks for your support for the past 30 years. It's been my honor to report on your industry.