At the risk of sounding cheesy, I have to say it feels like it was just yesterday I wrote the words "Hello PHR
" in my first back-of-the-book column. Almost two years have flown by, and now I'm delivering news that I'm leaving my chair as tech editor and continuing on as a freelance writer. For many months, I predict you may not even notice anything has changed as I am looking forward to continuing my work since I started, including the Project Mustang Street Fighter stories.
Many of you know I'm a Bay Area (Northern California) native and moved to Orange County about three years ago for a job at Boyd Coddington's shop. My intention was to stay for no more than one year, because I wasn't looking to permanently relocate to Southern California, but I couldn't pass on the opportunity. After three weeks I was let go. The problem then was that I had signed a lease for my apartment the day before I was fired. I took this as an opportunity to explore other possibilities in Southern California since I was already here. After almost a year of working random welding jobs in construction building metal fencing, I got work with Camaro Performers doing a three-page Tech Question and Answer column. My background in writing left something to be desired, but I'm the kind of person that if I'm going to catch on, I do right away.
Months later I got an email from the folks at Popular Hot Rodding, asking if I would like to come in for an interview for the technical editor position. Of course I said yes! This interview wasn't like any I had been through before, and for good reason. This position assumes responsibility for a substantial chunk of the magazine, and weekly deadlines are always looming. I remember that one part of the interview was an automotive knowledge test. It asked me to do things like draw a planetary gear set, and select the first year of various models and engines. This was something I was quite confident going into, and I proved myself to know a few things. So it came down to the simple question of if I could write a story. There's only one way to find out, so editor Hunkins gave me a test assignment on a deadline. It was an engine tech story on Judson Massingill's Engine Masters Challenge small-block Chevy. I was handed a CD with the photos and a phone number to call. Long story short, I wrote the test piece, turned it in on time, and he saw enough potential in my writing to put me to work right away.
I've had my hands on more than 20 issues since then, and I want to thank Johnny and the rest of the PHR team for taking a chance on a noobie, helping me learn the industry and giving me the confidence I now have heading into every story and every column.
So after my eight-month SoCal residency stretched out to three years, I've decided it's time to go back to NorCal. I've loved it down here; the weather just can't be beat, but the Bay Area is where I'm from and where my family is, and at the end of the day, that's the most important thing there is. It's just my luck that I can continue doing what I love from any place in the country.