• 10 Mar 2020 4:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Plenty has changed since MAMA was founded almost 30 years ago, but we are fortunate to count several active longtime members—and even a few founding members—among our ranks. One of those founding members is Rick Cotta, Managing Editor of Consumer Guide Automotive. Rick has been with Consumer Guide since 1990, and he was there at the very beginning of MAMA. We caught up with Rick to ask him a few questions about the early days of the organization.   

    1. MAMA began in 1991. How did you hear about MAMA and what roles have you played since the inception?

    As far as I know, Jim Mateja sent around a notice asking for interested parties to meet at a restaurant to discuss starting an auto-journalist association along the lines of MPG and IMPA, but focused on Chicago media. My boss at the time, Rick Popely (who later became the third president of MAMA), asked me to come along, and there may have been others from Consumer Guide there as well.  Most of my “official” involvement since has been with the Rally Committee. And most of that has been organizing the Spring Rally’s go-karting event.

    2. We heard through the grapevine that you suggested the name "MAMA."  How did that name come about?

    At that first meeting, the proposed name for the organization was the Midwest Automotive Press Association. Attendees were asked for their thoughts. Of course, I’d figured out the acronym before suggesting that perhaps “media” might be more encompassing than “press,” as some members might be PR folks and such.

    It was Rick Popely who got it first. “HA!” he laughed. “Mama!” Then it started. “Come to mama” … “mama’s boys” … etc. It was voted in.  

    3. How has MAMA evolved over the last 29 years?

    Probably the biggest change in the organization came with the advent of the Spring Rally. The late Bob Kocher had a lot to do with that, but he wasn’t alone. My personal recollection was that Mark Bilek (who was a co-worker at Consumer Guide at the time and at some point a MAMA president) was deeply involved with it as well.  

    It was at a press preview in the early 1990s that a fellow auto journalist pointed out that there were probably fewer than 200 jobs like ours in the entire country. And doing the math, that was likely true. After starting out with just a dozen or so members, today there are nearly that many auto journalists in MAMA alone. 

    4. What do you gain from being a MAMA member?

    Overall, I’m a rather quiet, behind-the-scenes kind of guy. Yet at nearly every press event I attend, PR people and other journalists will recognize me and come up and talk about the Spring Rally. While their comments are inevitably favorable, I always take the opportunity to ask them what I feel is the only survey question that really matters: What could we do better? When pressed that way, they’ll occasionally come up with something I’ll pass along to the committee.

    And of course, our monthly meetings are always interesting, providing speakers with insights I’d otherwise never have … not to mention a lunch that doesn’t consist of canned tuna and frozen vegetables.

    5. What is your favorite part of being a MAMA member?

    Aside from the above, it’s an opportunity to talk cars with others who share that interest. Besides a friend who is similarly afflicted, I never discuss the topic with people unless they ask. If someone inquires as to what I do for a living (such as on an airplane), I always just say I’m an editor...which quite effectively shuts down that line of questioning. 
  • 10 Mar 2020 4:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Chicago Auto Show Highlights

    With the 2020 Chicago Auto Show in the rearview mirror, we’re reflecting on some of the show’s key moments. The longest-running auto show in North America once again featured more than 1 million square feet of top-tier exhibits by global automakers; more than 20 brand-new vehicle introductions that made their worldwide or national debut; a host of interactive exhibits; and indoor and outdoor test drive opportunities.

    As a regional press association, MAMA is fortunate to have the nation’s largest auto show held right in its backyard. The entire event kicked off with the Midwest Automotive Media Association opening breakfast, during which MAMA President Damon Bell announced the 2020 MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award recipients. The 2020 Kia Telluride was named the winner of the 10th annual MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year Award and the 2020 Lincoln Aviator won the second annual MAMA Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award. The MAMA breakfast has really become a cornerstone event over the years, signifying the show’s opening and consistently attracting 400 attendees ranging from national media outlets, automotive manufacturers and other key industry personnel. 

    After the dust settled from the Media Preview, MAMA members remained active during the show’s public days. Specifically, show organizers tapped MAMA’s resourceful membership to serve as panelists in a series of Facebook Live discussions held in the show’s BUZZHUB, in partnership with ABC 7 Chicago. Each Facebook Live event featured a new industry hot topic ranging from connected cars, industry trends, electric vehicles, best family vehicles and more. Each discussion was hosted by ABC 7 Chicago’s reporter Roz Varon and was streamed live on ABC 7 Chicago’s and the Chicago Auto Show’s Facebook pages. MAMA-member expert panelists included Matt Avery, Damon Bell, Mark Bilek, Jill Ciminillo, Tim Healey, Paul Herrold, Kelsey Mays, Jennifer Newman, Larry Nutson, Jim OBrill and Joe Wiesenfelder.

    Speaking of remaining “active,” MAMA President Emeritus Jill Ciminillo helped facilitate the Chicago Auto Show’s first indoor run, Honda Miles Per Hour, in partnership with the Chicago Area Runners Association. Held on the show’s final weekend, the unique indoor run guided participants on a 2.4-mile loop through the vast halls of the show. The event’s moniker accurately describes the premise of the run, where participants covered as much distance as possible within a one-hour timeframe. The winner, Zach Hird of Chicago, covered 11 miles in the one-hour allotted timeframe.

  • 10 Mar 2020 4:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Greetings MAMA members,

    It’s already March! Hope your 2020 is going well, and that you had a great holiday season and a productive Chicago Auto Show.

    Speaking of CAS, we were once again honored to kick off the show’s Media Preview days with the Midwest Automotive Media Association Breakfast. We announced the winners of our Family Vehicle/Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year awards and the James L. Mateja Memorial Scholarship, and hosted the Automotive Hall of Fame’s announcements of their 2020 inductees. Our keynote speaker was Ed Laukes, Group Vice President—Toyota Division Marketing, but instead of the standard podium speech, Ed and I sat down for a more informal “fireside chat” interview.

    Spring is just around the corner, and that means the 2020 MAMA Spring Rally is fast approaching as well. The MAMA Spring Rally Committee had our kick-off planning meeting in late February, and we are working to bring an improved off-road course and maybe a surprise or two to the event. The dates are May 20 and 21—mark it down on your calendars now! To our manufacturer-rep members: We do have a few Spring Rally sponsorship opportunities available. Please contact Senior VP Harvey Briggs or myself if you’re interested in claiming one of those slots.

    Also, Harvey is the point person for our monthly luncheon meetings, so contact him if you’d like to host one of those. We’ve already had two monthly luncheons this year… Nissan filled us in on the redesigned-for-2020 Sentra at our January meeting, and Alfa Romeo just showed off the 2020 Giulia and Stelvio at our March meeting.

    One of the MAMA board’s primary aims for 2020 is to ensure our journalist members are producing content, and to assist them in growing their audiences where we can. In our interactions with various PR representatives, the term we keep hearing is “return on investment.” Since all MAMA events, and particularly the Spring and Fall Rallies, depend on manufacturer participation and support, we as an organization have to make it worth their time and expense to do so.

    For that, we need to rely on our journalist members, so when you attend our events, please “post early and post often,” and share your coverage with us so we can share it as well. Here’s to a great 2020!

    All for now,

    Damon Bell, MAMA President

  • 10 Mar 2020 11:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Alfa Romeo hosted the MAMA March meeting at a new-to-MAMA venue, Iron Gate Motor Condos – the Chicago area’s first exclusive residence for classic, collector and exotic vehicles. This unique motor-condo facility spans a 45-acre campus and brings together passionate car collectors to gather in a community and celebrate their hobby.

    Ben Lyon, Head of Alfa Romeo, Operations and Customer Experience, led the presentation to spotlight the new 2020 Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV, both of which are just hitting dealership showrooms this quarter. Lyon discussed the highlights of both freshened vehicles “keeping what’s great and improving on the rest.” The updates include new standard content, an enhanced premium interior, advanced safety features and a new 8.8-inch touchscreen display.

    Also new for 2020 is a host of standard and available connectivity features, including Wi-Fi Hotspot, Mobile App with Remote Operations, SOS Call (Private) and Roadside Assistance, Vehicle Finder, Stolen Vehicle Locator and Assistance, as well as select Firmware Over the Air updates.

    At the forefront of the Giulia’s refined cabin is the new center console, which provides an updated design featuring a machined-knurled aluminum-look rotary dial, upgraded knob materials and increased storage capacity. Rounding out the enhanced Giulia interior environment are larger cup holders and a new phone storage area with available wireless charging.

    The 2020 Giulia and Stelvio mark the debut of a full set of available advanced driver-assistance systems, including Level 2 semi-autonomous capabilities that enable the vehicle to control acceleration, braking and steering in certain driving conditions – providing the driver with the perfect balance between driving pleasure and autonomous control. These include:

    • Highway Assist System
    • Traffic Jam Assist System
    • Traffic Sign Recognition
    • Lane Keep Assist
    • Active Blind Spot Assist
    • Driver Attention Alert
    • Standard Full Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus

    Verde Visconte Metallic (green), Lunare White Metallic and Anodized Blue are newly available metallic-paint colors for 2020. Lyon noted that the most popular color choices for Alfa Romeo models are something bold – especially blue and red hues.

    Also announced was the introduction of the new Giulia GTA, a limited-run model that is technically and conceptually inspired by the Giulia GTA of 1965: the “Gran Turismo Alleggerita” developed by Autodelta and based on the Giulia Sprint GT that racked up sporting successes worldwide. Based on the Giulia Quadrifoglio, the Giulia GTA is fitted with special lightweight components and a more powerful version of the Alfa Romeo 2.9 V-6 Bi-Turbo engine that puts out 540 horsepower instead of the Quadrifoglio’s 505 hp. Only 500 GTAs will be produced, and there’s no word on yet on the car being sold in the United States.

  • 10 Feb 2020 5:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Chicago, Illinois (Feb. 6, 2020) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) announced today at the Chicago Auto Show that the 2020 Kia Telluride has been named the winner of its 10th annual Family Vehicle of the Year award, and the 2020 Lincoln Aviator has been named the winner of the second annual Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year award.

    MAMA is a nonprofit group of automotive journalists and public-relations professionals, and it developed the awards to help car-shopping families make a wise decision when they’re ready for a new vehicle.

    To qualify for the award, vehicles had to have four doors, appear at one of MAMA’s two annual rallies, and be new or significantly updated within a year of the 2019 Spring Rally, which took place last May.

    Voting took place at both the Spring and Fall Rallies, which narrowed down the field of contenders. Mainstream finalists were the Ford Escape, Ford Explorer, Honda Passport, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Gladiator, Kia Telluride, Mazda 3, and Subaru Outback. The finalists in the luxury category were the BMW X7, Cadillac XT6, Lincoln Aviator, Lincoln Nautilus, and Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Coupe.

    In each round of voting, three points were awarded for a first-place vote, two points were given for a second-place vote and third-place votes were valued at one point each.

    MAMA’s journalist members then voted in one final round. The 2020 Kia Telluride was selected as Family Vehicle of the Year with 205 points, ahead of the 2020 Hyundai Palisade, which garnered 174 points. The 2020 Subaru Outback placed third with 69 points.

    The 2020 Lincoln Aviator was crowned Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year with 192 points, edging out the 2019 BMW X7, which netted 148 points. The 2020 Cadillac XT6 rounded out the top three with 108 points.

    Voting for the 2021 FVOTY awards will begin at the 2020 MAMA Spring Rally, which is scheduled for May 20-21 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

    For more information, please visit

    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991, and now in its 29th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association comprises 258 automotive journalists and public relations professionals from 22 states and DC. Though based in the Chicago area, MAMA welcomes members from all parts of the country. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, major issues, and new products in the auto industry.

  • 02 Feb 2020 8:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nissan’s Keith St. Clair, director of product planning, Nissan USA, was the speaker at the January MAMA meeting to discuss the all-new 2020 Sentra.

    Since the car’s introduction 37 years ago, more than six million Sentras have been sold—spanning eight generations. St. Clair discussed all the ways this sedan is Nissan’s best-selling nameplate.

    First, why sedans? St. Clair said that while the industry has certainly seen a big shift to SUVs and CUVs, sedans are still very popular. In fact, more than four million sedans have been sold here in the U.S., and 78 percent of folks who don’t own sedans noted they would consider buying one. Furthermore, 86 percent of 18-34-year-olds who don’t own a sedan would consider buying one.

    And, according to St. Clair, this sedan is one that’s changing the way people think of sedans.

    Expressive style, an emotional driving experience, value, efficiency and ease of maneuverability are all characteristics of the vehicle. Exceeding expectations in the compact segment, the Sentra offers style, craftsmanship, safety, technology, performance and value.

    “The only thing we’re carrying forward is the name – everything else is brand new,” said St. Clair of the Sentra.

    In terms of tech, the Sentra receives an all-new infotainment system with a standard 7-inch high-definition screen. St. Clair explains that this is a key factor of the upgraded sedan because it makes drivers more comfortable and confident.

    Safety also comes standard on this car, including Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 (a suite of six advanced driver-assist systems), ten air bags, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Driver Attention Alertness.

    The vehicle is also agile and exciting to drive, according to St. Clair. This is the first time that Nissan is offering a new platform with a multi-link independent rear suspension on the Sentra. Wider and lower, the new platform offers improved NVH. Standard active ride control (which helps improve handling when driving over a bumpy environment, smoothing out the ride and ensuring driver’s confidence), intelligent trace control and vehicle dynamics control.

    Additionally, the Sentra has an all-new powertrain with 149 horsepower—20 percent more than before.

    St. Clair refers to a “simple grade strategy:” Good, Better and Best (S, SV and SR). Overall, he says the Sentra is fun-to-drive, offers advanced technology, has unmatched safety features, high-level craftsmanship and expressive design. “It’s not just another compact car; it’s really a midsized car masquerading as a compact car,” he said. It’s the new era of sedans.

    The Sentra is set to go on sale in early February.

  • 16 Jan 2020 9:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), an organization comprised of automotive journalists and related industry professionals, elected its 2020 board of directors during its annual January business meeting.

    Secretary Kelley Enright, treasurer Larry Nutson and communications director Jennifer Morand were all re-elected to serve two-year terms.

    Damon Bell continues to hold the role of MAMA president, Harvey Briggs continues as MAMA senior vice president and Jennifer Newman continues as vice president, membership.

    Jill Ciminillo, who served a two-year term as MAMA president from 2017-2018, will carry out her second-year term as president emeritus.  

    During the annual business meeting it was reported that the association currently maintains a membership of 253 automotive journalists and industry professionals serving in the automotive industry or related fields.

    It was also announced that MAMA will continue to host the opening breakfast at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show Media Preview on Thursday, Feb. 6, where the association will announce its 2020 Family Vehicle of the Year Award and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award recipients.

    The Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride and Subaru Outback are the finalists for the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year Award, and the BMW X7, Cadillac XT6 and Lincoln Aviator are the finalists for the luxury category. Following the award ceremony, Toyota North America’s Group Vice President Edward Laukes will present a program.

    For more information on the Midwest Automotive Media Association and upcoming events, visit


    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991, and now in its 29th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association comprises 253 automotive journalists and public relations professionals from across the country – though based in the Chicago area. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, major issues and new products in the auto industry.

  • 22 Nov 2019 3:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The chief engineer of the Lincoln Corsair, John Jraiche, presented the 2020 Lincoln Corsair to Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) members during the latest MAMA meeting.

    The Lincoln team strategically selected the Lang House in Chicago as the venue to present the vehicle, as the historical building exudes sophistication and charm while offering views of the neighboring Emil Bach House, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The significance is that Corsair Chief Designer Kemal Curic picked up design cues from Frank Lloyd Wright when designing the vehicle, including his love for dramatic horizontal lines.

    The 2020 Corsair rounds out Lincoln's portfolio of luxurious SUVs, and is available with a 250-hp 2.0-liter or more powerful 2.3-liter engine that puts out 295 horsepower. Five selectable drive modes--Normal, Excite, Slippery, Deep Conditions and Conserve--alter powertrain parameters to suit road conditions and/or drive tastes. With a new 8-speed transmission and 4-wheel independent suspension, the Corsair is designed to provide agility, nimbleness and easy handling. Furthermore, all 2020 Corsairs come standard with a push-button start, hill-start assist, a power liftgate and LED headlights.

    According to Jraiche, the body of the Corsair was designed to incorporate peaks and valleys, and the exaggerated lines draw a vision of continuous light play reflecting its surrounding environment. Lincoln describes the Corsair’s exterior as a “sculpture in motion.” Unique wheel designs feature both directional and radial lines, and a variety of metallic color choices, including Flight Blue, are offered. 

    The Corsair’s interior was designed to be a “sanctuary for the senses.” To ensure the tranquility of the ride, a dual-wall dashboard was utilized to provide additional division between the engine and the passengers. This arrangement provides an air gap that helps prevent vibrations from entering the cabin.  

    The Corsair's design team thought of everything, such as replacing harsh standard electronic alerts with six unique symphonic chimes recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

    Not only is wireless charging available for compatible devices, but the Corsair also offers tech-savvy passengers multiple power outlets and in-vehicle Wi-Fi to keep them connected. Additionally, the Corsair’s SYNC 3 infotainment system allows the driver and passengers to simply plug in their devices to access apps directly from an 8-inch touch screen.

    The Lincoln Corsair also provides personal customization to enhance the individual’s preferred interior sanctuary experience. Owners can set up to 80 preference features within their designated profile, including preferred radio stations, customized seat adjustments and desired cabin climate.

    To top it all off, the Corsair offers a Lincoln-first technology called “Phone As A Key.” The technology can be accessed through The Lincoln Way app, where owners can now open the liftgate, lock and unlock the vehicle, start the vehicle and locate it just by using their compatible smartphone.  

    To further provide convenience to its customer base, Lincoln offers a pickup and delivery service called Lincoln Service Valet. The owner can simply schedule a service via The Lincoln Way app and Lincoln Service Valets will come to pick up the vehicle and bring it a nearby Lincoln dealership, while providing the owner with a loaner vehicle while their vehicle is being serviced. Progress updates are delivered via the app, and the vehicle is delivered back to the owner when the service has been completed.

    The 2020 Lincoln Corsair comes in two trims, with the Standard coming in at $36,940 and the Reserve starting at $43,625. All-wheel-drive versions of each are also available for a bump in price: $39,140 and $45,825, respectively. The Corsair is now available at Lincoln dealerships.  

  • 31 Oct 2019 4:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Article by Harvey Briggs, Publisher and Editor - Rides & Drives

    Growing Your Social Media Influence

    The world is digital now – just ask the folks from Autoweek – and building your audience online is more important than ever. One of the best places to do that is social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other platforms are sources of both audience and revenue. But how do you grow your presence from a few hundred followers to the thousands necessary to attract readers and viewers to the content you produce?

    A lot of it is common sense regardless of the platform:

    1.       Your profile is important – Create a profile on your social media account that lets people know who you are, what you do, your point of view, and what they can expect if they follow you. This is where they come to connect with you personally, so include a good photo as well.

    2.      Make sure people know how to find you – Put links to your social accounts on your author page of your website or blog. If possible, embed tweets or Instagram posts into your articles so readers can click to your account and comment.

    3.      Post consistently – Nothing looks worse than an account with little or no activity. You don’t need to post 10 times a day but a consistent schedule will help people find you. According to Chad Kirchner, who, with more than 26,000 followers is one of MAMA’s more prolific Tweeters, “Don’t just use Twitter as a dumping ground for content, be authentic.”

    4.      Use relevant hashtags on Twitter and Instagram – The key here is relevant. There are sites like to help you find trending tags that will help users find your content

    5.      Tag manufacturers in your posts – most social media teams look for content to share on the brand pages. Be sure to @ and # the manufacturers to make it easy to find your news and reviews about their products.

    6.      Think visually – on Instagram, you’re competing with millions of other users, make sure your photos are high quality and have a strong point of view. Adding photos and videos to your Twitter posts increases engagement.

    7.      Follow other relevant accounts – It’s the birds of a feather effect. Follow auto execs, brands, other journalists, and consumers who are interested in automotive. When they comment on, like and share your posts, their followers will see that and enhance your reach.

    8.     Engage with your followers – Ask questions, respond to their questions and comments, like their comments, thank them for following. There are a number of things you can do to engage your audience.

    9.      Use the platform appropriately – Instagram is great for showing what you do, but since you can’t put links in posts, it’s lousy for driving readers and viewers to your site or channel. According to Josh Smith from, “Instagram is show and tell. I just use it to build awareness. Twitter brings readers to the site. But engaging on both is important to keep people coming back.”

    10.  Schedule time for social activity – It’s hard to add one more thing to an already overbooked day. My trick that has helped me be consistent with my posts is to put daily reminders in my calendar to post. Every day I get a notification at 10 AM and 4 PM to put something up. It’s just a reminder to take 5 minutes to share things with my audience and since I’ve started doing it, I’ve doubled my followers on Instagram and Twitter.

  • 31 Oct 2019 4:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Article by Marlon Hanson, fellow MAMA member and dear friend 

    “I first met Bob Kocher when I was President of the Texas Automotive Writers Association and he was President of the Midwest Automotive Media Association. We immediately struck up a friendship because of his passion for MAMA and wanting to make it the best it could possibly be for all members, journalists and manufacturers.

    We immediately decided to compare notes and attend each other's events to see what we might do to improve our respective organizations. I learned a lot from Bob, witnessing first-hand how MAMA put together its events and he, likewise, learned how to make MAMA more user friendly for all.

    I am particularly grateful for his urging me to attend the MAMA Spring Rally ... I was astounded at how many vehicles were registered and we had an opportunity to drive. Because of Bob, and his introducing me to the Rally, I urged my board to create the TAWA Spring Challenge (now the Spring Roundup). We had 45 vehicles registered for our first Challenge, largely due to Bob's help in assisting me with the nuts and bolts of doing such an event for only automobiles. Being in Texas (the Truck Capital of the world), we had mastered our fall event, the Texas Truck Rodeo, and Bob eagerly worked to institute some of the aspects of the Rodeo into the MAMA Fall Rally.

    As members of MAMA, you know what a great foundation Bob was instrumental in creating for you. But, enough about Bob, the car guy, aka AutoBob! What I will miss most is Bob, the man.

    Bob loved fun and always drove to get the most out of life. I often met him and his beautiful wife, Connie, in Las Vegas, where we spent many an hour, day, and week in various gaming activities as well as enjoying world-famous automotive events such as the SEMA show. In addition to our escapades in Las Vegas, we loved to cruise.

    Our first cruise together was on the Norwegian Breakaway out of New York. Yes, we loved the ship, the world-famous Rockettes from Radio City Music Hall, who were on the ship with us, but the thing I will remember most about that cruise happened one night while sitting at a slot machine in the ship's casino.

    Bob ran up to me, giant grin on his face, bubbling with excitement. You have to come to O’Sheehans Pub, he exclaimed. Now!! They have the best Hot Fudge Sundaes you have ever had. They are as big as your head! I had to abandon my machine and follow him to O'Sheehans. Bob and I marveled at the size, sweetness, and wonder of our Sundaes. Connie was not as much of a sundae lover as us and, I believe had apple pie ala mode or something else as we immersed ourselves in our newfound delight.

    As late as early August, we spoke of taking future cruises, possibly in November, but for sure in December. We were also looking at a few possibilities for 2020 and decided we would decide where and when to go next at this year's SEMA show in early November.

    Life is so fleeting. I got a message from Bob on August 14th: 

    “I am hanging in. Just waiting for a time for my kidney biopsy. No one seems to be in a hurry. Went to a kidney doctor yesterday and he didn’t seem to be worried. I give up trying to understand it all. I guess no lung cancer is a big plus. Will let you know as we get information. Hope you’re having a great time. Hope to see you soon. Bob”

    Bob then sent some bad news on August 22. He began with the better news that although they had found some “spots in my lungs, a large mass on my kidney and a small mass on my spine,” there was no cancer in his lungs or kidney. Then came the bad news: “However, I did not luck out so well with my spine biopsy. I do have a rare cancer. The spine biopsy showed angiosarcoma cancer with is relatively rare and I guess harder to treat. Next we wait and see what treatment the oncologist suggests.”

    By August 30, he had yet to receive news on what was going to be done about it but said pain had intensified and he had to see another oncologist. There was nothing that could be done.

    The morning of September 12, I got a call from our good mutual friend, Kelley Enright. Bob was in the hospital and it was terminal. We could not believe it. It had been a couple days less than a month since his first diagnosis. And, now they were giving him two weeks to live. That night, my wife Kristin was working on making arrangements for me to fly to Ohio to see him. The next morning, Friday the Thirteenth, Connie told me he was gone. Impossible to believe. We would not be taking that next trip to Vegas. We would not be taking that last cruise. We will not be having that next hot fudge sundae.

    I will never take another cruise without having a hot fudge sundae in honor of Bob. I will never walk into a casino in Las Vegas without thinking of Bob. I have had a hard time putting together this year’s Auto Judge Awards program with one of our founding judges and most influential people gone.

    AutoBob … I love and miss you. I cannot think of a tribute great enough for our colleague, leader and friend, Col. Robert Kocher!

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