Patrick Olsen, Editor-in-Chief: "A native of Los Angeles, I have worked as a newspaperman for most of the past two decades in both the Chicago and L.A. areas. As Cars.com's EIC, I work with this great team to bring you all the news, research and advice you'll need to buy your next car. I'm not a gearhead, but more of a fan of how cars are becoming smarter, more comfortable and more fun."
First car: 1985 Toyota pickup with absolutely no options, including no rear bumper
David Thomas, managing editor: "I've gone from editing Cars.com's news blog KickingTires and Ask.Cars.com to overseeing not only the stories you see on our site but also how we reach car shoppers via social media. Like the rest of our team, I try to keep my hands in a bit of everything and review new cars, take part in our Shootouts and even "star" in a video or two. I have a thing for station wagons and own a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 VW Passat wagon. Secretly, though, I lust for a BMW M3 and lately have fallen for the Infiniti JX."
First car: 1989 Ford Probe
Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor: "After six years in the magazine business, I made the jump to web publishing in 1995 to apply my experience with photography, video and the written word. I joined the Cars.com launch team in 1997 and, well, time flies.
I'd say my emphasis is cutting through marketing claims and technobabble to determine what really matters to car buyers. Nothing tees me off more than supposed improvements that degrade the driving experience. I'm the harshest critic of transmission performance that you're ever likely to meet, and I remain baffled by the SUV craze, but I judge all vehicles on their own merit. If I have a shortcoming, it's a blindness to the image aspect of vehicles. SUVs and sports cars don't make you cool, and minivans don't make you lame. Many people, and the entire state of California, clearly disagree."
First car: "My first car was a 1971 Oldsmobile Delta 88 whose 455-cubic-inch engine awoke the car nut in me — and made me a big-block snob for eternity. I survived more than 10 years owning a '79 Fiat Spider I bought from Tom ("Click") Magliozzi from NPR's Car Talk, which I recently replaced with the “tuna boat,” a 1984 Mercedes 300D turbo diesel. I keep a 2002 Mazda Miata SE as a reliable backup."
Bill Jackson, senior editor: "I handle the Buying Guides and parts of the Research channel here, in addition to writing Weekend Athlete for KickingTires. I've moved all over the place, both as a kid and as a former newspaperman. I like any car that carries my bike, Nordic skis and camping gear."
First car: 1973 Volkswagen Beetle
Jennifer Newman, senior editor: I'm a married urban mom with two busy boys, ages 6 and 10. On the weekends, I can be found navigating Chicago's streets in my 2007 Honda Fit Sport, though I'm thinking of upgrading to something bigger that can handle my kids' sports gear. I spend my weekdays editing stories and installing child-safety seats into test cars for our Car Seat Checks. My miniscule amount of downtime is spent playing baseball or video games with my kids.
First Car: Ford Escort, no idea on the year
Eric Rossi, senior editor/multimedia: "I manage the Cars.com's multimedia team. I have my hands in all forms of digital media in the office, but I'm a car junkie at heart. I've been to every Chicago Auto Show since I was 3, and I can only keep a car for about two years before the need for something different gets the best of me. I've been fortunate to combine my passion for video production and my love of cars here at Cars.com. I began my career at Cars.com after graduating from Bradley University, but during college I ran my own car detailing business called "A Touch of Hollywood."
First car: 1990 Toyota SR5 pickup truck named Mabel
Kristin Varela, senior editor/family: "I'm the Senior Family Editor at Cars.com and the mom of two amazing girls, ages 9 and 11, and an adorable stepdaughter, age 7. My mom-mobile is whatever car I'm testing, and that's what you'll see me driving when I take the girls to dance classes, piano lessons or school. How's that for mixing work and family time? I do manage to find time for simple indulgences like bubble baths, yoga or an hour with a good book, and I relish the time I spend with my girls. They still kiss me when I drop them off at school, so I'm a happy mama."
First car: A red 1985 GMC Jimmy S10 with a rusty white stripe down the side and a personalized license plate that read "QUEPASA." What can I say? I'm a recovering nerd who left high school early every day to attend Spanish classes at the local university.
Mark Williams, PickupTrucks.com editor: "I'm a veteran automotive journalist with 25 years of experience. I've worked at Four Wheeler magazine,including two years as editor. In 2000, I joined Motor Trend as its expert on all things pickup, SUV and four-wheel drive. In addition, I became editor at Truck Trend. Before joining PickupTrucks.com, I was a freelance automotive expert, loaning out my writing and enthusiast-market expertise to oultets such as Motor Trend, Popular Mechanics, PickupTrucks.com, Amazon.com and several others. I was a Motor Press Guild board member for several years, and I'm also a longtime soccer coach, most recently finishing my ninth season as the local junior high head coach. I live in Southern California with my wife and enjoy camping, hiking, skiing, big trucks and towing, and back-country 4x4 driving."
First car: 1966 Volkswagen Beetle
Joe Bruzek, editor: "I'm the resident answer guy for Ask.cars.com and am always in the thick of new cars and industry news to answer our readers' questions. I'm a hopeless gearhead, and even off the clock I'm infatuated with hot rods and fast cars. When I was 1, my dad propped me up in the driver's seat of his 1964 Corvette roadster ... and it was all downhill from there. Before Cars.com, I attended an automotive technology school and worked in automotive service centers. I interned at the multicultural automotive publisher OnWheels Inc., where I got my first taste of auto shows from the media side. Going to public days will never be the same: What, no interpretive dancers around the new Camry? C'mon."
First car: 1990 Chevrolet Caprice Police Car. It still had the stripe and unit numbers down the side and on the back. It was large, loud and powerful, and I miss it like a lost dog.
Mike Hanley, editor: "After briefly writing for Racingone.com, I joined Cars.com in 2002. I've held a variety of positions since then and am currently one of the site's resident car reviewers. Though I often give high marks to cars with superb handling qualities, I have a soft spot for old Detroit land yachts. I also tend to prefer manual transmissions, though I'm thankful today's stick shifts are more refined than the one in the 1951 Willys Station Wagon that I learned on."
First car: 1975 Chevrolet Impala coupe
Kelsey Mays, editor: "A Seattle native, my experience includes heading up the automotive section of a west Los Angeles weekly, as well as brief stints writing for Edmunds.com and TrulyHollywood.com. As my dilapidated 1994 Toyota Celica proves, I'm a stick-shift purist and bona fide car geek — no doubt explaining the serious imbalance in my time-spent-researching-camshafts to time-spent-dating ratio."
First car: 1994 Toyota Celica
Aaron Bragman, Detroit bureau chief: "I joined the Cars.com Editorial team in 2012 after a seven-year stint as an auto-industry analyst covering everything from new models to corporate strategy to sales trends. I've got more than 20 years in the auto industry, having worked in sales at Bosch Braking Systems and as a production buyer for Nissan as well. Now, I'm the Detroit bureau chief for Cars.com and a contributor to PickupTrucks.com. Personally, I'm a huge car guy, always have been. I grew up mostly in the Detroit area and come from an automotive family. The industry is in my blood, and my passion for it runs deep. I'm in Ann Arbor, Mich., and I bleed maize and blue!"
First car: An almost-new 1991 Ford Escort GT. It was bright red, had a five-speed stick, sunroof and rear seats that folded down to provide enough room to carry everything I owned off to college.
Jen Burklow, copy editor: "Born in Chicago, I've lived in the north and west suburbs for all but four years spent in journalism school at Indiana University. I worked for 20 years at the Chicago Sun-Times in a variety of editing positions before leaving to freelance and spend more time with my four smart and talented daughters/stepdaughters, who are now grown. For the last four years I served as the freelance assistant editor for the Sun-Times ToDrive section. Combine that with being raised by a car-crazy father and joining Cars.com as a copy editor feels like the perfect fit. With four kids — and now four dogs — to haul around, vans have been our preferred mode of transportation. We currently own our second GMC Safari (our previous vans were Fords) and use a Nissan Sentra for tooling around sans kids and dogs. Free time finds me playing/training/walking/hiking with our dogs, biking/boating/fishing with family and reading whenever I can."
First car: An Oldsmobile Delta 88 with a cranky carburetor that left me stranded more often than not.
Robby DeGraff, assistant editor: I'm an absolute car (and now motorcycle) nut, who has loved cars ever since I was a toddler. I've worked as a car detailer, valet and drove in a few cross-country road rallies for charity. Before I graduated from Loyola University, I finished a semester-long capstone research project on "Social Media in the Automotive Industry."
I like cars that are simple, easy to drive, easy to work on and easy to operate. I'm an absolute sucker for classic cars and muscle cars, but I've also got a soft spot for Japanese tuners and microcars. Ever hear of a VW Pea Car? Check it out.
First car: A big green 1995 Ford Windstar named "Godzilla" that was handed down to me by my parents.
Jennifer Geiger, news editor: I'm a Chicago "lifer" and admitted word nerd who studied English at DePaul University and started my editorial career at Consumer Guide Automotive. I joined Cars.com in late 2011 as a reviewer and manager of the Kicking Tires blog. How I wound up in automotive journalism is something I still ask myself, often out loud, in moments of both awe (piloting a Mercedes-Benz CLS AMG through Napa Valley's twisties), and annoyance (slogging through rush-hour traffic in a Dodge Caliber).
Though manual transmissions and I are in a good place now, I still have nightmares about how I learned stick: a crash course on a 1985 Volkswagen Scirocco during a cross-country road trip in 1999. A three-minute lesson and the open road are not a good combination; toll booths still make me nervous.
First car: I learned to drive on a 1995 Ford Contour and helped my then-boyfriend, now-husband buy a 1999 Saturn SL2 in 2002 and a 2003 Hyundai Elantra.
Chad Rubel, editor: "My first car had a wonderful safety feature: You could never lock your keys in it since you needed the key to lock it. When I got the car, there was one significant problem: I didn't know how to drive a stick. The lessons with my father didn't go well, but eventually I learned that life skill. And now, I only want to drive automatics."
First car: 1980 Pontiac Sunbird, very used.
Matt Schmitz, editor: "After a dozen years in the news business in roles ranging from daily newspaper reporter in Missouri to managing editor of suburban weeklies in Chicago, Cars.com was kind enough to let me hitch a ride with them as a news editor for the KickingTires blog. Proud grad of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism. Lover of film, pop culture and Batman. Aspiring — and failing — surfer. Not a motorhead, but not a car-berater. (Oh, I like puns, too.)"
First car: A hulking, brown 1987 Dodge Ram pickup truck handed down to me by my father when I was 16, which I promptly retrofitted with an obnoxious big-bass system with a pair of 16s in a gaudy speaker box behind the seat. One day I'll tell my children, "Kids, I can remember when Rams were made by Dodge."
Matt Avery, multimedia coordinator: "As the primary videographer for Cars.com, shooting cars is second nature to me. In my role, I’ve been able to combine my two passions — media and cars. I’ve worked as an ASE-certified technician for both BMW and Mercedes-Benz while living on the East Coast. I graduated with a degree in electronic media and film from Towson University and began working as an assistant writer and production assistant for 'MotorWeek.' Whether it be the Rolls-Royce Phantom or Toyota Sienna, nothing brings me more satisfaction than infusing creativity into my shots to highlight the car or truck I’m shooting. If the viewer enjoys what he sees, I’m happy and know it was a job well done. "
First car: Two Ford Mustangs that I modified during my high school years.
Lindsay Bjerrregaard, multimedia coordinator: "After graduating from the University of Iowa, I started at Cars.com as a multimedia intern. In my first week I shot video of a Jaguar XK convertible, so I knew this job was going to be a perfect fit. I mainly shoot, edit and appear in videos for the site. My 2007 Toyota Corolla — Steve Carella — has starred in multiple advice videos."
First car: 2000 Ford Taurus
Ryan Peterson, multimedia coordinator: "I've been a video editor for years with my first big freelance project focusing on the largest RV dealer network in America. I went on to work with both start-ups and large multinational corporations before joining Cars.com's multimedia team.
"I taught myself how to drive manual, but failed my first driver's license test."
First car: My first vehicle was a 1993 Ford F-150; it was white with a pink pinstripe.
Evan Sears, photo editor: I've always been a gearhead. It could be from being born and raised in Motown, or perhaps it's because every bicycle or car I've owned has been a clunker and needed near-constant mechanical attention. Before joining Cars.com, I worked as an editorial and commercial photographer for more than 10 years, shooting for many Chicago-area publications and several national clients.
First car: 1987 Honda Prelude
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