President: Brian Douglas Twenty-two years ago, Douglas and a group of automotive writers founded the Western Automotive Journalist organization and since then Brian has helped guide its successful journey. Brian is the automotive editor for Gentry, SV and Ranch & Coast magazines, a former contributing editor for Autoweek, former automotive talk show host at KSFO and is currently an automotive contributor for Bay Area radio and TV stations. Brian is returning to the board after serving as interim president of WAJ in 2013-2014. Contact Brian at President@WAJ.ORG
Treasurer & Vice President: Michael Coates Michael has worked as the editor in charge of a monthly enthusiast magazine, 4Wheel Off Road Magazine, reporter/photographer for a weekly newsmagazine and a daily newspaper, assistant editor for automotive and motorycle trade magazines as well as freelance work for a variety of publications and broadcast outlets. Currently he isI an editor of the Clean Fleet Report, a consumer website covering the electric car and alternative fuel vehicle space, as well as contributing to magazines such as Innovation & Tech Today, and appearing as an automotive expert on television and radio. Michael has served WAJ as President and Media Day Chair & Co-Chair as well as having organized the Future Cars/Future Technology and Silicon Valley Reinvents the Automobile programs. Contact Michael at Treasurer@WAJ.ORG
Secretary: Larry Rinek Larry serves as a senior technology consultant for Frost & Sullivan in the Technical Insights (TI) Division. He has been with Frost & Sullivan over 15 years in various capacities. He has authored numerous studies concerning advanced technologies and markets for automotive, aerospace, advanced materials, and other industries. Larry authors the monthly Automotive & Transportation Technology Alert (a private newsletter) for TI. Larry has over 24 years of research and consulting experience with various industries and technologies at SRI International, including many automotive projects. He enjoys a broad strategic perspective on how engineered products (such as motor vehicles) are successfully conceived, produced, and marketed. Often engaged to examine market prospects/trends as well as product technology and manufacturing issues, Larry helps organizations improve their business position. As a trained engineer (B.S.) with hardware design and prototyping experience, Larry brings hands-on technical passion to his automotive work. He remains active in technical societies such as SAE International (24 year member), has authored more than 25 scholarly publications/tech papers, and is a frequently sought out speaker for industry conferences. Contact Larry at Secretary@WAJ.ORG
Executive VP Events: Alex Dykes Alex produces detailed automotive videos for the Alex on Autos YouTube channel and his own website. He is also a regular contributor to The Truth About Cars. As a working journalist covering automotive products and news. Larry joined WAJ in 2012 and this is his first time serving on the board. His background in technology and technical writing has proven extremely helpful in his career as an automotive journalist. As a result of his prior experience, he enjoys writing and filming pieces that explain modern automotive technology from new transmission designs to the latest infotainment gadgets. Alex says that his recent transition from the written word to video has been a rewarding (and sometimes trying) experience.
Outside of the journalism world his time is divided between IT consulting, fleet vehicle consulting and a project that will last a lifetime: building his own home in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Contact Alex at Events@WAJ.ORG
VP Membership: Akitomo Sugawara Aki is the Content Producer/Editor for Yahoo’s automotive portal Motoramic. He is an active member of WAJ and shares our vision to add accredited automotive journalists to our membership roster. Sugawara is well connected with automotive industry and plans on using those connections to recruit new members in his travels. Aki is a confirmed Gearhead, as a child he would help his dad repair his MG, but Aki always thought he’d follow in his dad’s footsteps as a doctor, and starting off as pre-med student in UC Berkeley, he never expected to make a career out his automotive passion, yet here he is. He has spent more than 10 years as a journalist and author, covering a variety of fields including tech, video games and automotive. Aki joined Yahoo in 2011 as an editor and content producer, where he manages partner content and occasionally sneaks off to press junkets to write ornery reviews. Previously Aki worked for companies including Fox Interactive Media and IDG Entertainment, He has also written brochures for Subaru Global and authored a Gran Turismo official strategy guide. Aki says: “I no longer mess with my dad’s MG, but have my own personal money pit with a 1991 BMW M5”. Contact Aki at Membership@WAJ.ORG
VP Publications: Jon Rosner Jon is a long time WAJ member who has served not only as membership VP, but has volunteered for extra tasks that have included putting phone banks together to build attendance for our bi-monthly meetings. Contact Jon at Publications@WAJ.ORG
VP Programs: Charlie Vogelheim Charlie is a thorough professional in our business, with a background that includes key positions at Kelly Blue Book, J.D. Power and Intellichoice. He’s currently the Editor and Host of Motor Trend Audio. Charlie recently relocated to his native Marin from Southern California where he was active in developing programs and guest speakers for Motor Press Guild. He has also performed the same tasks for WAJ and currently serves on our Future Cars Future Technology committee. Contact Charlie at Programs@WAJ.ORG