Auto Service World
Feature   December 1, 2013   by Andrew Ross


This year, October 21 to be exact, I marked my 24th year with Jobber News.

And, while many focus on 25 years as a milestone to celebrate, for me the number 24 has a certain symmetry to it that bears recognizing.

Numerology is not my thing, but I do remember that before the 15-packs and 18-packs, and price hikes that made a case of 12 beer a near-enough-to $25 option, there was the two-four of stubbies, the box of beer. Never was a more perfect multi-pack of beer ever created. It fit perfectly balanced on one shoulder, wasn’t a golden rectangle, but could be Golden just the same. And, should a party-place lack seating, it could serve as a suitable perch in a pinch.

And if you like your hot dogs Red Hots, 24 is also the number where hot dogs and hot dog buns met long before they started tampering with package sizes to make them match up more evenly.

Now, those who know me well know that I am not a nostalgic person. I tend not to dwell on the past, or yearn for the “good old days.” I have always believed, and do so today, that the best days are yet to come. What you did before is just the experience you needed to make that future happen.

Still, there are a great many memories connected with my time here. My first memory was among my first days on the job. A luncheon with Mike Walton of Dover Corp. was designed by my then boss and editor, Bob Blans, to see if I had the chops to defend editorial integrity. He was supposed to be a tough one; I found him to be reasonable and knowledgeable. Mostly we talked about what colour his new car should be, but I guess I passed the audition.

I remember having lunch with Mario Andretti at the Cannery in Vancouver, where we ended up talking mostly about family and wine. It became the first of many conversations I would have with him over the years on motorsport and other, more personal matters. He was a great driver; he is a great human being.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to see some great cities on the job, too, and to meet some fine folks who work from this industry in many parts of the world. I have found them to be unfailingly decent folks willing to answer my questions and steal some of their day, even when we could barely manage to find a common language.

There have been some real characters over the years, of course, those with great attitudes and those with creative golf scoring skills, too. I used to joke that one jobber in particular always took his jobber discount on the course.

Not all of those old industry friends are still with us, but many of them are and they’re almost all still working to better this industry and themselves, some well past retirement age.

And of course, there are a great many newer to this industry than that, building on the past to create a brighter future. Like me, I guess, they’re working toward the future, not living in the past.

So see you in 2014. I think it’s going to be a pretty special year.

—Andrew Ross, Publisher and Editor

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