Our Automotive Staff
Consumer Guide Automotive/The Daily Drive
Beginning with a high school service-station job pumping gas and turning wrenches, Tom has usually managed to work around cars. Earlier, Tom was often found holding the flashlight for his father while he performed some needed repairs on a family vehicle. During college, Tom worked for Chrysler as a product specialist, staffing one of six experimental in-mall showrooms set up around the country. Tom also tried his hand at selling cars, spending several months learning (but not mastering) the trade at a domestic-brand dealership in the early 1990s. He has also worked in fleet leasing, specializing in Chevrolet and GMC light-duty trucks. During his time as a market research analyst and focus-group moderator, Tom worked with manufacturers and suppliers including General Motors, OnStar, and Porsche. Tom joined Consumer Guide in 2001 as an editor and became Associate Publisher in 2008. Also that year, one of his articles was awarded a gold medal at the International Automotive Media Awards. Tom moved into the publisher's role in 2012. Tom is also president emeritus of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and lives in suburban Chicago with his wife, daughter, two cats, about 50 fish, and several antique German tube radios. He is often called to chat about cars "on air." He is a regular guest on Drive Chicago on AM 890, The Bill Leff Show on AM 720 in Chicago, and the nationally syndicated Greensense Radio.
Consumer Affairs Editor
Born in the Motor City, David Aretha remembers riding to Tiger games in his dad’s black Mercury Comet and wondering why the top would never fully open on their red Chevy convertible. The editor of close to 100 books and the author of more than 40 books for young readers, David brings more than 20 years’ worth of journalistic experience to Consumer Guide Automotive. As a feature writer for the department, he has contributed such articles as “Is It Time to Buy American Again?” and “Why Is the Ford Guy Looking in Our Closet?” David lives in Chicago with his wife and two teenage sons, all of whom are frustrated that they can’t drive the test cars he brings home.
Rebecca is Consumer Guide Automotive’s Web Coordinator, publishing editorial content to the website. After graduating from DePaul University with a degree in English, she joined Consumer Guide in 2010 as an editorial assistant before being promoted to her current position in 2011. Before working for Consumer Guide, Rebecca did freelance writing for a hyper-local news source and volunteered in the Chicago area for a community-based family-literacy program. Rebecca enjoys learning new things and appreciates the automotive knowledge she continues to gain while working for Consumer Guide. She lives in the suburbs of Chicago and spends her spare time with family and friends. She also enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and traveling.
Senior Auto Editor
A lifelong car enthusiast, Damon Bell joined Consumer Guide in 2000 as the Research/Acquisitions Editor of Collectible Automobile magazine. He became Consumer Guide's Associate Auto Editor in 2003, moved up to Auto Editor in 2005, and transferred to his current role as Senior Auto Editor in spring 2012. In addition to his duties for The Daily Drive, Collectible Automobile, and Consumer Guide’s new-vehicle reviews, Damon has worked on several award-winning hardcover books, including Hot Rod & Custom Chronicle, Cars of the Classic '30s, American Cars of the 1950s, and Mighty Muscle Cars. Prior to joining Consumer Guide, Damon was the Engineering Graphics Coordinator at Revell-Monogram, the world's leading model car company. Damon lives in Chicago with his wife and son, and he enjoys building model cars and playing ultimate frisbee in his spare time. He is a sucker for any film or TV show with a good car chase, and admits to seeing every single Fast and Furious movie.
Auto Editor/Collectible Automobile Editor-in-Chief
John Biel joined the Consumer Guide auto staff in February 1994. Since June 1995, he has served as Editor-in-Chief of Collectible Automobile, Consumer Guide's award-winning publication devoted to automotive history. He remains a part of the Consumer Guide new-car evaluation program and also contributes to CG book projects. Following graduation from Ball State University, John was a newspaperman for almost 15 years before coming to Consumer Guide. The Chicago resident is married and has a son.
A car nut since his second breath (the first being expelled with some choice sentiments for the attending physician), Rick Cotta has been an auto editor with Consumer Guide since 1990. As a former automotive technology major, ASE Certified Technician, and technical editor for an automotive trade publication, Rick is the resident nuts-and-bolts guy (some would say just "nuts"), as well as the department's motorcycle editor. For more than 20 years, Rick has contributed to Consumer Guide's new-car evaluation program, written several online articles, and edited numerous hardcover titles covering the automotive spectrum. He was awarded a silver medal at the International Automotive Media Awards in 2008, followed by a Bronze in 2009. Rick has attended TrackTime driving school and performs some of Consumer Guide's timed acceleration tests at a remote location yet to be discovered by the local authorities. He has been interviewed on TV, is a regular guest on GreenSense Radio, and holds a seat on the International Car of the Year jury.
A lifetime car nut, Dave Hall joined Consumer Guide Automotive in June 2008. He posts online articles and car reviews and writes articles for the CG Auto website. Dave joined Consumer Guide after an internship with the 2008 Chicago Auto Show. There, he got an inside look at the auto industry and the world of automotive journalism. Dave lives in Chicago and enjoys exploring the city with friends, learning about architecture and design, and collecting model cars. He has a special affinity for old Volvo 240s.
Harry Kapsalis has been involved with Consumer Guide since 1997. In late 2007, he assumed the role he currently possesses as the Art Director for Collectible Automobile magazine. Before coming to Consumer Guide, Harry studied design and earned a degree in photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Harry has had a passion for automobiles since childhood, and it continues to grow with every passing day. He is an avid collector of vintage automotive paraphernalia and is a proud owner of a 1966 Pontiac GTO and 1962 Pontiac Catalina.
Frank Peiler joined Consumer Guide in 1972 as the young company's first art director and only its eighth employee. Though responsible for the look of books and magazines on topics as varied as guns, golf, bicycles, and bridal fashions, Frank brought with him the special knowledge and experience of a lifelong car enthusiast, which quickly benefited Consumer Guide automotive titles. Within a few years, he was named a company vice president and headed a much-expanded art department necessitated by CG's steady growth. After spearheading the company's successful move into the "classic car" realm, Frank was named Publisher of a separate automotive division formed in 1979. Five years later, he conceived Collectible Automobile magazine as the kind of old-car periodical he himself wanted to read. Popular from the first, CA marked its 25th anniversary in 2012 as the recognized leader in its field and the winner of numerous awards. In recent years, Frank has lent his executive and creative talents to Consumer Guide's online operations. A member of the Society of Automotive Historians, he also serves as a permanent juror for the North American Car of the Year Award, presented at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Ed Piotrowski joined his fellow car enthusiasts at Consumer Guide Automotive in 2005 as an Auto Editor. During his time here, he has written and edited content for the Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test auto buying guide as well as for the Consumer Guide Automotive website. Ed is also part of Consumer Guide's "on air" crew, broadcasting a weekly car review on WRLR 98.3 FM, a station based in Round Lake, Illinois. His other experience in the auto industry includes a large collection of Matchbox and Hot Wheels toy cars (that are sitting at his parents' house somewhere), time as a public relations representative for General Motors, and an auto editor for Liberty Group Publishing. He has also served as a general assignment reporter for Pioneer Press newspapers. A lifelong resident of the Chicago area, Ed enjoys playing video games and watching hockey in his spare time.
Chris Poole joined Consumer Guide in 1979 as its first dedicated auto editor after careers in commercial radio and hospital-based educational media. He added the title of Editor-in-Chief for Collectible Automobile with the 1984 launch of that bimonthly auto-history magazine by Consumer Guide's parent company, Publications International, Ltd. In late 1986, he moved to Southern California as Consumer Guide's first West Coast Auto Editor and CA Editor-at-Large. He relocated to the Phoenix area in 2007. Another lifelong car enthusiast and a confirmed "telecommuter," Chris is a past Secretary and Vice President of the Los Angeles-based Motor Press Guild (MPG) auto-writers group. He now serves as President of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) and is a standing jury member for the annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards. Reflecting his broadcast experience, Chris continues to represent Consumer Guide Auto on various radio and TV programs. Examples include several years as substitute co-host for the weekly Car Show on L.A.'s KPFK-FM, commentary for the History's Channel's 2005 Full Throttle series, and panelist for the Speed Channel's World's Greatest Auto Shows coverage of the 2005 L.A. Auto Show.
|Don Sikora II
A car enthusiast since childhood, Don Sikora II joined Consumer Guide in 2007 as an Associate Editor for Consumer Guide Automotive and Collectible Automobile magazine. Don has also contributed to several Publications International hardcover books, including Corvette Classics and Muscle Car Classics. Prior to joining Consumer Guide, Don earned a degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. He worked in the Tool Engineering and Product Development departments of Revell-Monogram, a long-time maker of plastic model kits. A resident of Somers, Wisconsin, Don collects model cars and enjoys long road trips. He is the only member of the Consumer Guide staff who will admit he once owned a Renault Fuego.
Auto Editor, Prices
Jack Stewart realized his dream of a car-related job in 1996 when he joined Publications International's photo archive and was paid to look at car pictures. In 1998, he joined the Consumer Guide staff as New Car Price Editor. Jack has edited such Publications International hardcover books as The Complete Book of Collectible Cars, Encyclopedia of American Cars, and Cadillac Classics. He is also the Associate Editor of Collectible Automobile magazine. Jack has owned a 1967 Jaguar E-Type since 1972 and has managed to keep it on the road for most of those years—in spite of doing some of his own maintenance.