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Is there a writer in you?

Monday, September 2, 2019 - 06:00
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You may have heard me say before how thankful I am to be able to do what I do. After spending most of my working life turning a wrench, the opportunity to now help those still in the bays is something I never take for granted. Along the way, I've met hundreds, if not thousands of techs, shop owners and educators from every corner of the globe.

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I like to think I'm on a first-name basis with all of you.

And I also like to think that the relationship I have with our readers is one thing that makes Motor Age unique among automotive trade magazines. No matter where I go, what event I attend or presentation I make, there are always a number of you that take the time to say "Hello" and share your stories with me. In addition to hearing from you in person, I also receive your emails, social media messages and YouTube comments. I am humbled whenever a reader shares that something he (or she) saw in the magazine, our YouTube channel or in one of our webinars has provided a means to perform a job easier, tackle a diagnosis more productively and, in the bigger picture, make a better living for themselves and their families.

So how did you get started?

A common question I'm asked is how I got started writing for Motor Age and many of you have followed up by asking how you could follow a similar path. Let me start off this month's column by addressing the first question.

My job with the magazine allows me to travel quite a bit and take part in projects I otherwise would never have the opportunity to participate in — like this A/C training I hosted for the servicemen at MacDill AFB in Tampa.

It all started with a Lexus EVAP fault that was kicking my backside while still working in a shop for a living. Even then, I believed in continuing my education and attended training classes in my local area as the time and opportunity allowed. I also kept up with the industry online by participating in the International Automotive Technicians Network (iATN) and reading the trades.

For some reason, I just couldn't make any sense out of the system operation description the shop's service information system had on the Lexus. Using the resources I had, I put together a tool box reference that outlined the operation of the four different EVAP systems Toyota/Lexus were using through that time. I also made notes about known issues and their fixes, all with the idea of throwing it in my toolbox.

My wife, God bless her, had other ideas. She suggested I take what I'd spent all that time at the dining room table assembling and submit it to "one of those magazines you're always reading". So I did!

That first article was published but not by Motor Age. As I've since learned, the content you're reading today was planned nearly a year prior and there were no open slots for an EVAP article. However, both the managing editor and technical editor of the time thought enough of my writing style to ask me to write for MA, starting with case studies and lessons learned that would be shared in the "Garage" column.

The rest, as they say, is history. As time with the magazine grew and opportunities became available, I began to do more and more on a freelance basis. And from there, the chance came to join the group fulltime and here I am.

But, as I share every chance I get, I always try to stay grounded and remember where I came from. I go to work every day with the primary goal of finding new ways that I, and the magazine, can help you succeed and grow in this ever-challenging profession.

Can I write for Motor Age?

I am thankful and proud of the contributors that grace the pages of this magazine every month. Every one of them is an accomplished technician and most are nationally recognized trainers. Even so, I am always on the lookout for the "next generation" — those that will grow to lead this industry long after I, and others, have closed our toolboxes for the last time. And I've found a few. Talented technicians like Brandon Steckler, Mike Miller, and Mike Reynolds — just to name a few.

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