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Get to know our contributors and insiders

Discussion in 'Mopar News' started by Christopher, Mar 4, 2018.

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  1. Christopher

    Christopher Socially Unacceptable
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    Over the years Allpar has been home to many people that have knowledge of the auto industry.


    Here we'd like acknowledge those who have provided Allpar with valuable knowledge and insight into products, engineering, the industry and more. For newer members, the people that you see here are valuable contributors to Allpar and have provided a great deal of information to the site which has helped it to grow. If you see a name on this list, Allpar considers them as a credible source of information.

    This is not a comprehensive list. There are insiders and contributors that have chosen not to participate for various reasons, whether it be to protect their jobs, the jobs of their sources, or they may simply want to keep a low profile. Their contributions are just as valuable as those that you see here.


    If you have a question you would like to ask a specific person, please message either Ryan or Christopher and we will forward it to the person. If and when they respond, that question and answer will be added to this thread.
     
    #1 Christopher, Mar 4, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
    eaglecars, TripleT, CivoLee and 3 others like this.
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Socially Unacceptable
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    First up is Dave, the founder of Allpar!



    What is your background?

    After the usual entry-level jobs, I leveraged a 90-word-per-minute typing speed to become an office temp (I later hit 100, albeit on a computer). It was a real education, going from office to office and seeing different company cultures, with Ford and Engelhard at two ends of a spectrum.

    I was trained to be an organizational development consultant, and have a PhD in social and organizational psychology. For a long time, I pursued both — Allpar (which I started in 1994, though I didn’t name it that until 1998) and a professional career. I was more successful at Allpar.


    When did you first become interested in the automotive industry?

    When I was in high school, I hung out with a bunch of motorheads. Two of them later formed a racing team, and a third became a very successful motocross racer. Two of them were into Mopars, partly, I suspect, because of the legend of the Hemi.

    Working on my car and seeing the paradoxes of the design piqued my curiosity, too, along with all those fun stories that weren’t all true. I had no shortage of repairs, since any car I owned then had already “turned the clock.” This was in the 1980s, so there were plenty of old 1970s cars around that few people wanted. My big regret is that I didn’t get the real classics — 383 Chargers, for example, were dirt cheap. Likewise, I passed up a 280Z, in my youthful ignorance. I was into cars but like many people knew little about them, like the guy talking about a Chevy with a 402 Boss Hemi. (Okay, never that bad, but I learned the hard way about the difference between gross and net horsepower ratings.)



    Are you, or were you, involved in the automotive industry? In what capacity?

    No, aside from working for Ford for a brief period, in a temp job. My job was to take handwritten quality incident reports and put them into the computer, in just about the worst possible software for entering data into fields — WordPerfect 4 for DOS. It was painful, especially because they kept moving me around and my portable desk had no place to put my knees — entering data painfully, watching the colors on the screen to figure out when the cursor was in the right place (or showing codes), sideways. I eventually met the IT person and found out that she thought WordPerfect was a database. For you young folk, it was a fairly primitive word processor.

    There were a few crazy things about that job. I had to eat alone in the management cafeteria, which was a small room with wait service and wood paneling. Never got to go out to the line. As I said, they moved me whenever I seemed to get along with the people around me. They wanted me to come in at 4 am and gave me a key-card; I refused to come in before 9 am because, who cares when I’m typing? Nearly all the incident reports had the fix date as Job One, which meant when they stopped making Ford Escorts and started making something else, which turned out to be Mazda Proteges with Ford badges (and, on the lower models, Ford engines).

    I’d tried to get a line job there but they had no openings, ever; they weren’t expanding. There’s a shopping mall there now. Not sure what’s in the nearby GM plant up in Elizabeth, which had its own highway ramps.

    I did want to work in the industry but never knew how to get in until I was established in Allpar.



    What led to the creation of Allpar?

    It was 1993 or 1994, and I was getting data for my wife from the IPEDS reports on Gopher using a dial-up connection (1200 baud modem, I was modern — no 300-baud acoustic couplers for me!). I was paying something like $20-30 per month for access to a public bulletin board and the rudimentary Internet and/or BITNET and Fidonet. I played around with a web site devoted to my old Valiant, using the username Valiant. “Valiant’s car pages” was listed in a popular old site, now gone, the Useless Pages Site — with a note saying something like, “The only thing more useless than a web site about cars is one about the Valiant.” The site was also listed in very, very early versions of Yahoo when it was still just two guys.

    I added my current car, the Sundance, and put in whatever information I got from people over Usenet — the Internet newsgroups. It grew. There was a lot of bad information, apocryphal stories. Daniel Stern was one of the first people to really start taking me on, and I learned a great deal. Bob Sheaves would later walk me patiently through the auto engineering process and bring the systemic way of thinking to me — well, I already thought that way about organizations, but I hadn’t applied it to cars for whatever reason.

    I had to change ISPs a couple of times. Finally I got a sponsor, Year One, for $30/month, and then I paid $60 for a domain name — valiant.org — and then $60 more for a second domain, allpar.com. I realized I never wanted to contact every single site that had a link to mine, hundreds of them, and contact each one to request the change. Thus was born Allpar in 1998.



    What prompted you to continue growing Allpar?


    I was driven to it. It really just happened. I was too ambitious. Everything I could find out, I wanted to add in. Chrysler had its arms around the world at some points.



    Are you happy with what you have achieved with Allpar?

    For the most part. I probably should have switched to a CMS, any CMS, much earlier on, though it would have been a lot of work to switch over and over and over and over as they died and new ones came in. The thing is, this would have been much easier as a multi-operator site. I always wanted to bring someone else in to help, and aside from two summer “interns,” both daughters of my work partner, I never did. There’s too much left undone, and too much to still fix. I learned to really wish I’d been more thorough with fact checking in the older pages, and used bigger photos, and taken more photos of my own. When you look at older Allpar pages you have to consider that I was still learning, and am indeed still learning — and that, at the time, people used really slow modems and computers, so big photos didn’t work well. Indeed, all text was still being rewarded by search engines.

    Overall I am pretty amazed by it, even more now that I’m not as active day to day, because I can see it stretches very, very far and wide, and pretty deep as well.



    Is there a project that you're particularly proud of that you can talk about?

    The features system. I wrote it myself, in php, and then rewrote it as I learned more. The home page doesn’t do a single database query, it pulls in cached pages from WordPress (triggered by a hook) and the random and weekly features, and they’re all in static files so it’s nice and fast. But really I think the project that I’m most proud of is the forums, because we developed an incredibly talented and knowledgeable group. Or the news, because we got to the point where we were credible and read every day by key journalists; well, before I went on chemo, anyway. The future predictions really got to be surprisingly good.

    Really, I think the “project” I’m most proud of is allpar itself and the community contributions. DarkSky and Suzq044’s renderings, the many insiders’ revelations about how things are done — both on the forums and through interviews — Jim Choate’s long-ago home page redesign, Bob Lincoln recovering old forum data, there’s just too many people to mention, and without them, this would just be one guy raving on, with just enough knowledge to make bigger mistakes.



    Is there anything else you'd like to add you would like people to know?

    I have three web sites I’m still running on a semi-active basis, and am available for any professional work you may have in organizational research and change. The sites are Toolpack: for Effectiveness (at https://www.toolpack.info ), acarplace: car reviews, car talk, and big rigs (at https://www.acarplace.com ), and MacStats (at https://www.macstats.org ). The last one covers Mac stats software and I’m mostly maintaining it to keep it around. The first is sort of gleanings from my professional career, what’s left of it, anyway. And acarplace is for car reviews, odd bits of news, and such. But really, at this point my efforts are going into a book on Chrysler, which I recently realized had to be two books, so I’m working on that while looking for a publisher. It’s a lot to do, but it doesn’t have the immediacy and urgency of allpar, or the scope of work. It’s a lot easier to be clear headed and a lot less anxiety provoking to have just these things, and not to be quite as concerned about software, advertising, community, and such.

    Not everyone knows it, but when I was running Allpar, I had all the jobs — security at the Linux and application level, MySQL, nginx, and Apache performance, editing, going back every day to fix something, all the finances, filing tax returns, php and perl coding and updates, everything. Keeping track of trivia from the 1900s to future product is hard enough without all that technical stuff. I wish I’d hired on people when ad rates were better, to help the site grow and relieve my burden, but hindsight is 20/20. At the time I could pretend to be keeping up with it!

    I’m hoping everything here works out and that the community stays as good as it is. I truly appreciate the help and support of the moderators — Christopher in particular really stepped up to the plate, but every day I see moderators pitching in and taking responsibility, and it’s wonderful to see. They (we!) have a hard job, but there are definite rewards as we can learn from other views and from insiders’ experiences and knowledge.

    I’m really looking forward to the next segment in this series.
     
    eaglecars, ramajama, Don W and 18 others like this.
  3. Ryan

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    Next is suzq044, our very talented rendering artist.

    What is your background?

    The short version is: I grew up in Southern California. LA county for my younger years, with a stint in Louisianna for a few months (I don't recall much, I was around 4yrs old), Orange County for a few years, and San Diego for the last several years, before moving to Phoenix, AZ for a few months and then to Georgia for the last few years.

    I went to Catholic schools until 6th or 7th grade (I don't remember which), when we moved to Orange County (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita) and were introduced to public school. I think I did 1 year of highschool in Orange County before we moved to San Diego (Carlsbad), and I finished out my schooling there. First highschool and then got my Bachelors Degree later on after taking a break from school, and visiting a friend in Canada for a few months.

    After that, my parents and siblings ended up moving to Northern California to be closer to my moms side of the family. It as then that my boyfriend, now husband, moved to Arizona to seek out some better opportunities at the time, before some family matters on his side had us moving to Georgia, where we've been since. We are hoping to at some point make it back to the southwest but with a little one on the way shortly, it's unlikely to be soon.

    When did you first become interested in the automotive industry?

    When I got my first car. A Neon ACR my mom got exclusively to make me learn how to drive a manual after I passed my drivers' test in her Lexus. This was '98 or so, and the Neon was a '95. The dealer had put a roof rack on it but otherwise it was, by VIN, an ACR. A fact I didn't find out until after it was totalled a few years later in a nasty t-bone wreck. I got another Neon after that, and started modding for the first time; basics like new headlights and speakers, etc, which really pushed me towards the design aspect and show-cars. Before that I'd been all about computers and art-related things like pottery/sculpting/stippling etc.

    Are you, or were you, involved in the automotive industry?

    Not outside of doing these renders on occasion for Allpar, or whoever hires me, freelance. I've done some work for AGP-turbo and had some work in a magazine or two, but otherwise nah. It's just something I enjoy doing, paid or not. I just prioritize paid work, since many times the freebie-requests are just a color change or something that'll take me 2mins (or a lot longer, depending on the base image or colors involved. In some cases I have to re-brush/draw the entire vehicle. For example, it takes me 10 seconds to make a black car chrome, but I'd have to rebrush the entire car to go from white to black.)

    What prompted you to begin doing car renderings?

    I started doing renderings with my 2nd Neon. A '98 Sport that I named Bloo that I got after the ACR was totaled. I was using photoshop for ideas, and I do this for pretty much every car I own or have owned. I think the exception to that is our current daily driver, a WK Grand Cherokee, since we got it with the intention of keeping it stock.

    From there, I'd post my ideas for my own cars on various related forums and get comments on them, and "can you do mine?!" sort of requests. Then I found some photoshop forums that had little friendly competitions for users to create their own vision, and have the community vote on who's was the best overall. Outside the Photoshop forums, there were the car forums, where people would ask me to do a quick "chop", of whatever they had in mind. At the time, I didn't really mind doing it for free because it was practice and I was still in school anyway.

    Rendering vehicles is a learning process that never really ends. Was there a turning point or technique that dramatically improved the quality of your renderings?

    I've been using Photoshop since I was a sophmore in highschool; I still haven't learned everything there is to know about that program, ~20 years later. There's always new techniques to learn, and with Photoshop, there are 10 different ways to achieve any result, it really just comes down to practice and an eye for detail. I'm still learning how to start without a base-image. That's tough to make look realistic because there are always reflections on the surface of any vehicle unless the paint finish is matte/flat.

    In answer to the question, just practice, and a lot of it, and looking at videos/streams of other artists to see how they do certain things, and really look at the detail that goes into making it look realistic. Thinking outside the box for usage of the various tools too, helps. The hardest part of rendering is perspective, and getting your ideas to look right "on paper". Getting this nice round-edged car to look right perspective-wise, and making what you see in your head come to life the way you imagine it.

    Is there a particular rendering that you're proud of that you can share?

    I think most of the ones I'm proud of, have probably been shared at Allpar at some point; either in articles or just tossed up in threads when I am inspired to do something. Like the grille discussion in the '19 Ram thread, where I posted about 5 different grille designs for those unhappy about the crosshair disappearance.

    I think I'm most proud of renderings that become production accessories. Back in 2003, when the Neon SRT came out, I came up with the "S-eyelids", in a photoshop I did, and 6mos later, people are attaching vinyls in that shape to their Neons. In other cases, salespeople using my renderings on ebay listings, etc. It's just nice to be able to see your work in the real world as sort of an "I did that" moment.

    Is there anything else you'd like to add you would like people to know?

    None that I can think of offhand. Except maybe just that it's never too late to give something a shot. People are not born good at art. It takes a lot of practice even for those with a talent for it, or an eye for detail. Practice a lot, like with anything, and you'll gain the skill. Whether it's art-related or not, practice makes perfect...or at least nearly so. Everyone starts with a stick figure.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Socially Unacceptable
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    Aldo took some time to answer the questions put forth to him.


    What is your background?

    Not sure what you mean by my background. If education, I got a Commerce degree in Canada, and a MBA from Western Washington University. I concentrated on marketing, research and international business.



    When did you first become interested in the automotive industry?

    Since I can remember. I was born and raised in Peru, and wanted to be a car designer. I moved to Canada to attend college. That’s where I discovered my long love for statistics.



    Are you, or were you, involved in the automotive industry?

    Yes



    In what capacity?

    I got into market and consumer research 25 years ago, after obtaining my MBA. Started at a company in Canada called The Angus Reid Group, which doesn’t exist any more; it got swallowed by Ipsos. ARG was Canada’s premier research firm: Angus Reid was a political pollster and a household name. But I worked on the commercial research side.



    If you did work in the industry, were you interested in the automotive industry before you got involved or did your interest evolve from working in the industry?

    After 3 years of generic research, I decided I wanted to combine my passion for research, statistics and automotive. So I left ARG and went to well cars at a CDJ dealership while I applied to automotive-focused companies. I sold cars for 1 year: it was the hardest job I ever did. Over that time I go the attention of JD Power and Associates (JDPA) in Toronto; interviewed over the phone, but didn’t get the job. Apparently I impressed them with my automotive passion. But they didn’t want to incur relocation expenses and hired a local candidate. Undeterred, I decided to go to the automotive center itself in the US. Took a job as marketing analyst at the Pacific Northwest subsidiary of Macy’s West in Seattle, WA. A year and-a-half later, I was working at JDPA’s HQ north of Los Angeles. I have been working in or on automotive for the last 20 years.



    You have mentioned that you worked for J.D. Power. Can you talk about what you did there?

    I was hired as Research Supevisor. My boss said during the interview “We write about the customer experience here. If I could, I would send everyone in here to spend two weeks at a dealership, so they knew what they are talking about.” My first job was to manage the customer satisfaction study we did on a proprietary basis for Mercedes-Benz USA. We reported customer experience results to all 300+ MBUSA dealers every month. I took it upon myself to look at the cumulative data and put together a presentation for MBUSA, showing trends, regional breaks, etc. They were fascinated to look at data in a way they had never looked at before. But it was a thankless job. Dealers called to complain whenever they received a negative survey response, and to have it removed from the sample. My day-to-day contact was a hard-nosed, loud, Italian-American individidual prone to unprofessional tantrums —whom, to this day, I suspect of suffering from bipolar disorder— and had been placed in that role precisely for his caustic personality. As unpleasant as he was, he reminded me of my Italian —I am half Italian and half French— uncles: all bark and no bite. Apparently that attitude helped me get along with him better than the average American-born could. In hindsight, that experience proved to be one of the best for my career later in life. I also got to work on a special consulting engagement for FoMoCo analyzing consumer data from its dealers.

    A year later, I got transferred to the syndicated research division, where I managed the Sales Satisfaction Study, and miscellaneous others. On my 3rd year, I transferred to business development, and given responsibility for Toyota, Isuzu, Mazda and Ford’s PAG.

    I then spent three years at Martiz Research —now MaritzCX— to work on the proprietary dealer studies —sales and service— we did for Lexus. And then spent 1.5 years as research manager at Mitsubishi Motors HQ in California. Then three years at TNS, on the auto division, until I got laid off when the industry contracted in 2009. After nine months of unemployment, an old business acquaintance brought me over to work at GfK, where I spent the next seven years.



    Is there a project that you're particularly proud of that you can talk about?

    Yes, quite a few.

    GfK hired me because of my ability to get along with caustic clients. A few years ago, GfK has acquired NOP research, who in turn had acquired Allison-Fisher. In 1982 AF had developed the purchase funnel construct for the automotive industry. The study collects new-vehicle “intenders’” pre-purchase awareness, opinion, perceptions and purchase intentions (i.e., demand) for every single make and model sold in the US. Automakers subscribed to it on a syndicated basis and pay a handsome sum for not just the wealth of data (35 continuous years), but also for our analyses and recommendations.

    Anyway, my boss was a brilliant analyst who had been working on the AF study for 15 years and just couldn’t get along with her day-to-day client at Honda-Acura. Unlike most people at Honda, her client was an independent-thinking brilliant PhD with the interpersonal skills of a used car salesman. At the end of her rope, she brings me into GfK to patch things up with Honda-Acura. I had to use every trick I had learned working with that other individual at MBUSA ten years prior, but it paid off. A year later, Honda-Acura was not only one of our best clients, but I was given free reign to play with the wealth of accumulated industry-wide consumer data and, together with my tough but brilliant client, we developed some amazing understandings of luxury and mass buyers, their inner needs and motivations, the roles various vehicle models play in an auto brand’s portfolio, and the roles various vehicle segments play in defining auto brands in the market.



    Is there anything else you'd like to add you would like people to know?

    Yes. In 2014 I was thrown to manage GfK’s funnel study south of the border. I had the unique opportunity to see the same metrics collected from Canada to Argentina. I obtained some key understandings in this task is:

    Contrary to what automakers believe —i.e., the their brand is immutable; consumers are different in every market, in fact the opposite is true. Consumers’ needs and motivations are essentially the same everywhere. What changes is consumers’ interpretation of auto brands based on the actions automakers take to deal with local purchasing power, taxes, regulations and culture/history.

    For example, unlike the US, Dodge has to sell economy cars in Mexico. So local consumers view Dodge as defined by Dodge Attitude and Neon. Dodge, as the muscle car brand, couldn’t be furthest from reality in Mexico. But that doesn’t mean that those consumers’ inner needs and wants for reliability, safety and practicality are much different from their US counterparts.

    Another example: Fiat remains a top-selling brand in Argentina, which was populated by waves of European immigrants, most of whom came from Italy. They brought with them their sensibility for Italian things, including a love for wine, cheese, and Fiats. But when you look underneath, you find out that Argentines are very unhappy with Fiat’s quality. They still retain 10% of the market, because that’s the brand they grew up with. Does that mean Argentines do not value reliability, like the rest of us? No, it simply means that Fiat is the car they grew up with; and when given enough incentives, it is the brand they stick with.

    But the underlying vulnerability remains there, and as new generations discover Hondas and Toyotas, Fiat’s job becomes increasingly harder.
     
    eaglecars, HotCarNut, somber and 12 others like this.
  5. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    Aldo, thanks for sharing! Learned a lot...
     
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  6. Ryan

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    Here is TripleT's interview, our plastics and moldings expert!

    What is your background?

    Grew up in North Central Indiana North of Kokomo. Degree as an Engineering Technologist from what is now call the Polytechnic at Purdue University West Lafayette. Specialized in what was, at the time, the burgeoning field of CAD and computer graphics. I was in the last class that had to take drafting on the board.

    When did you first become interested in the automotive industry?

    My maternal grandfather had small auto parts store in downtown Howell Michigan, my uncle from that side went on be a big wig at CARQUEST, leveraging what he learned there. There was always a MotorTrend lying around the house for a young man to fill his head with.

    My father's family is from Spiceland, just south of New Castle. My grandfather worked off and on at the old Maxwell plant when he wasn't trying to be a farmer or gravel barron. My father and three other brothers raised heck in Henry County, playing Indiana's game and even managing to beat New Castle once in Sectional. One uncle a jet pilot, one an electrical engineer, my father an industrial arts teacher, and the last went to war and came back broken to help farm. But again I was influenced by an uncle that worked at Delco... today, his fingerprints are still all over cars, especially GMs, as all he wanted was to be a engineer, not a manager.

    Are you, or were you, involved in the automotive industry?

    Yes.

    In what capacity?

    Originally, out a college I got a job at the largest expanded foam facility in NA. The business was split 50/50 between packaging in automotive; knee bolsters, trunk inserts, bumper cores, side impact bolsters... across the NA capacity and lost core molding for the Blue Oval.

    I had some time off to work with the biggest names in consumer electronics on paper packaging that doesn't have much of an automotive application.

    After that, I was back in the automotive industry with what was at the time Chrysler's biggest logistical plastic packing support company. Their product is so prolific that its product name is used like Kleenex or Coke. This product is integral to every vehicle launch, so it was the salad days of inside information, and I made absolutely no detailed posts at Allpar. I just stalked and giggled. I was the Senior Product Development Engineer. That company was bought though, and I was not willing to move to Wisconsin so I went to work for a large molder in the agriculture industry, that could not keep its toe out of automotive. They have some of the biggest molding machines in North America. There I again became involved in the automotive industry, concentrating on international loops. So again I am back in automotive, though it is nothing to do with FCA which is nice because I can still post on Allpar.

    If you did work in the industry, were you interested in the automotive industry before you got involved or did your interest evolve from working in the industry?


    With a father from New Castle and growing up near Kokomo, you were always interested in the automotive industry. You had to choose a camp. You were GM fan or a Mopar fan. No Fords... what was that? We were a Mopar family, an original Mopar family. You grew up debating what was better: classic GMs or classic Mopars, like arguing over Purdue and IU basketball. You just grew up like that, and despite the salt on the roads, there were always killer examples of both brands around. You had better know your years and engines, or you would get embarrassed! But the 80s were some down years where we did our best with what we had.

    Are you happy with what you have achieved in your line of work?


    That's a tough one. Mostly, yes...this year I have seen four new automotive products being launched on three continents that are just plain knock offs of my work. I am not sure whether to be flattered or ticked off. I guess I should be flattered. I don't know if should be happy about that? Many of us work behind the scenes in the shadows, people see what we create and seldom do they know the source. It would be nice if someone knocks off your work to lease give you a wink and nod. Truth be known, they probably don't even know the individual they are copying just the product. Being one of the few experts in large plastic packing components in the world is something to be proud of, but happy implies satisfaction, I am not satisfied yet.

    Is there a project that you're particularly proud of that you can talk about?


    Each new product is like a child... I love them all.

    Right now my favorite is a new Washington Apple bin that is 30% lighter then the previous model allowing us to compete better with wood. We can't make enough of them.

    I have another baby, a difficult child... she is rolling out in Europe. I can't talk much about it, but there are some firsts associated with it.

    New stuff coming this year is very exciting and should expand the reach of our products to every corner of the earth.

    Is there anything else you'd like to add you would like people to know?

    This a great place to come and sneak a peak into inner workings. The work Dave did to build a place that we can all be enjoy is amazing. There are people so passionate that they literally are risking their jobs to help educate. Be respectful to them. Know they are not always going to have a google link to back it up. They are the link.

    Mostly just have fun, come here and exchange ideas, but do it with joy and passion.
     
    eaglecars, Dave Z, aldo90731 and 11 others like this.
  7. Ryan

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    A very helpful contributor with a vast array of mechanical knowledge, Bob Lincoln answered the following questions:

    What is your background?

    I started working on cars when I was 16, with some trepidation, as I am entirely self-taught. I got hold of a Petersen’s Complete Book of Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler and a Chilton’s, read them cover-to-cover until I understood everything I could, and just dove into maintenance and repairs. Along the way I broke a couple of things, but learned how to do most things that one can do in their driveway, saved a lot of money and time. Well, maybe not so much time.
    Now I’ve been working on cars for 40 years, and while I still enjoy the satisfaction of doing it right and saving money, it can get a little tiresome to support three vehicles when I want to spend more time with my family. But I had a garage built a couple of years ago, so finally after 40 years, I have shelter, warmth, electricity, lighting and nearby secure tool access in which to work. And it’s great being able to drive in and out without scraping windows or digging cars out of the snow.

    I received my mechanical engineering degree from Brown University in 1985 and have worked for instrumentation and control companies for over 33 years, mostly as an electrical engineer with a brief stint in management. I did graduate work toward a master’s in engineering management at the Gordon Institute at Tufts University in the mid-1990s. I have experience as an ISO auditor and with quality assurance and reliability engineering, as well as a lot of hands-on failure analysis.
    I have also been a call firefighter/EMT, a CPR instructor, a peer counselor, and have been a regular blood donor for nearly 40 years. I’m writing a couple of books now that I hope to self-publish soon - an account of my fire department experiences, and a historical novel about my family.

    When did you first become interested in the automotive industry?

    Probably when I got my push-pedal jeep at age 5. I’ve always been fascinated with cars and with transportation. In high school and early on in college, I envisioned myself working for Chrysler, designing the most reliable and fuel-efficient cars possible. Then came the 1978 Chrysler crash, and the reality that you saturate your market if your cars never fail, so no manufacturer wants to, or can afford to make them that reliable. I also realized that I would have to live in or around Detroit. I love New England and being near the coast, and I hate being cold, so that wouldn’t work.

    Are you, or were you, involved in the automotive industry?

    No.

    Are you happy with what you have achieved in your line of work?

    Yes. Throughout my engineering career I’ve worked for companies that made industrial instrumentation, process controls, or laboratory equipment for customers in power generation, food production, chemical-oil-gas, paper production, and pharmaceuticals and life sciences, just to name several. In each of these areas, our efforts have helped produce a better quality of life around the world, with greater efficiency of resources. It’s kind of ironic that one instrument line that I support is used to make the medication that keeps me healthy. I’m proud to be part of the professional efforts of several thousand people around the world to be a positive force in bettering the lives of at least half the world’s population.

    Is there a project that you're particularly proud of that you can talk about?

    I’ve done work over the years on my stock daily drivers and made slight modifications to improve gas mileage, driveability and performance. None of them stand out as a major achievement. I had a 1972 Dodge Dart with slant-6 that I worked on and tuned carefully until it increased from 18 to 23 mpg highway, and had much improved midrange power. This involved installing a capacitive discharge ignition with the breaker point ignition, changing the spark advance curve, fine-tuning the carburetor, etc. For an amateur with limited tool access and skills, I’ve done fairly well to tackle things like replacing heater cores, servicing and converting air conditioning systems, and repairing body rust without the benefit of welding, so that it doesn’t break through again, even 5-10 years later.

    Is there anything else you'd like to add you would like people to know?

    Cars are a great interest and hobby, and can involve many different skills. You meet a lot of great and interesting people. But don’t let cars take precedence over more important things in life, such as family and friends and helping others. I’ve spent my whole life helping people in various ways, and my participation in Allpar has been focused on that. But it is just one facet of life.
     
    #7 Ryan, Mar 28, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
  8. Ryan

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

    Joined:
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    I want to remind everyone that if you have a specific question for one of the contributors whose interviews have been posted so far, please message that question to Christopher or myself. Provided that the contributor is willing to answer it, we will post the question and their response in this thread to get some Q&A interaction going on.
     
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