The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Five Decades of Automotive Fleet

Bobit Business Media (BBM), originally Bobit Publishing, was founded in 1961 with the launch of Automotive Fleet in Glenview, Ill.

January 2011, by Grace Suizo - Also by this author

Bobit Business Media (BBM), originally Bobit Publishing, was founded in 1961 with the launch of Automotive Fleet in Glenview, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. Prior to founding the company, Ed Bobit was working for McGraw-Hill’s Fleet Owner magazine, selling ad space in the Midwest. During a conversation with Al Fitzpatrick, Studebaker fleet sales director, Fitzpatrick mentioned they didn’t make heavy trucks and that he wanted to sell to car fleets. The light bulb lit.

Bobit researched the market that offered few available statistics and found some encouragement among advertisers. In 1961, he presented the idea for AF to McGraw-Hill, but the management team wasn’t convinced the market was viable.

“I kept researching this segment, convincing myself it was an opportunity to fill a need. I borrowed $5,000, left my job, rented a one-room office, and somehow got my family (the sixth kid was on her way) to believe we'd survive,” Bobit recalled.

Bobit resigned June 30, 1961 and prepared to launch his charter issue of AF within a matter of four months.

He recruited Roy Wiley, the automotive editor for the Chicago Sun-Times, and together the two would work until wee hours — supplying the copy, working on the imposition, proofing, sending in corrections, developing the layouts, and generating the final “dummy.”

“For months, I’d pick Roy up at the newspaper offices downtown on the night of closing. He’d bring his portable typewriter, get into the back seat and create copy from files I brought along or that he had. By the time we arrived in Pontiac, Ill., some 90 miles away, he had somehow nearly finished. We closed at the printer with the second shift,” Bobit said.

Operating on a meager budget and having to travel back and forth from Chicago to Detroit to generate business with the manufacturers, Bobit quickly learned some cost-cutting strategies. Scheduling appointments timed before or after lunch to avoid shelling out for expensive business lunches, to using lobby phones in agencies instead of pay phones, and skipping the motel charge by driving straight home after the last 5 p.m. appointment also helped save some cash.

With the timely assistance of Howard Cook, Ford’s fleet director, AF became a reality with its first issue in November 1961. Instead of placing Ford’s fall announcement in CCJ, a well-established trucking magazine, Cook decided to give the insert to Bobit for the charter issue.

“Remembering now, I must have been just short of begging Ford to appear in this first issue,” Bobit said. “[Cook’s] decision 'made' the issue. Chrysler and Plymouth followed, and the rest is history.”

Seeking warmer weather, the company moved to Southern California in 1977 and established an office in Redondo Beach. Today, BBM publishes 19 magazines and has developed 12 conferences and expositions, along with 40 websites and 29 eNewsletters that meet specific market needs. The company occupies over 50,000-square feet in Torrance, Calif., with 15 regional offices throughout the U.S.

BBM Milestones and Achievements


  • Automotive Fleet and Bobit Publishing are born in Glenview, Ill.



  • First field office is opened in Detroit with Bob Brown Sr.


  • Bobit celebrates 10-year anniversary.


  • Ty Bobit, Ed's son, joins the company as regional advertising sales manager.


  • Bobit Publishing moves to Redondo Beach, Calif.


  • Bobit celebrates its 20-year anniversary. A field office is established in Marlton, N.J.


  • Bobit expands into Canada with Canadian Automotive Fleet, operating out of offices in Toronto.


  • Editor Mike Antich joins company.
  • Fleet Manager of the Year award established.


  • Ty Bobit becomes president and CEO.
  • Fleet Financials established to target executive fleet management.


  • Bobit moves to new headquarters building in Redondo Beach, Calif.


  • Bobit celebrates 30 years.
  • Annual Fleet Association Directory is launched.


  • Bobit celebrates 30 years.
  • Annual Fleet Association Directory is launched.


  • First operating cost benchmarking survey published by AF.


  • Conference of Automotive Remarketing (CAR) is established.


  • Bobit moves to new corporate headquarters in Torrance, Calif.


  • Business Fleet magazine established to target commercial fleets with 10-50 vehicles.
  • First order-to-delivery survey published by AF.



  • Fleet Car & Truck of the Year awards established. Government Fleet magazine established for public sector fleets.


  • Work Truck established to target needs of fleets with Class 3-7 trucks.




  • Environmental Leadership Awards established to recognize green fleet leaders.


Fleet Manager of the Year Winners (1985-2010)

  • 1985: Jack Lamb, Exxon
  • 1986: E. Pierce Walsh, IC Industries
  • 1987: Richard Catino, Digital Equip.Corp.
  • 1988: George Weimer, Contel
  • 1989: Ron Pink, Xerox
  • 1990: Tim Hoffmann, 3M
  • 1991: Patsy Mance, Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • 1992: Richard Prettyman, DuPont
  • 1993: Charles Bowen, Georgia Pacific
  • 1994: Larry Giddens, RJR Tobacco
  • 1995: Debbie Mize, Hallmark
  • 1996: Sal Giacchi, Lorillard
  • 1997: Greg Tarring, Phillip Morris
  • 1998: Sue Miller, McDonald's
  • 1999: Stephen Levine, Pfizer
  • 2000: Shirley Collins, Glaxo-Wellcome
  • 2001: Patsy Brownson, Cox Enterprises
  • 2002: Jim Anselmi, Lorillard
  • 2003: Josie Sharp, Aventis
  • 2004: Henry Paetzel, General Mills
  • 2005: Jim McCarthy, Siemens
  • 2006: Scott Mayo, Wendy’s
  • 2007: Lynda Dinwiddie, LabCorp
  • 2008: Joe LaRosa, Bristol-Myers Squibb (now with Merck)
  • 2009: Christy Coyte, Johnson Controls
  • 2010: Mike Sims, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Writing the Editorial Content

Over the past decades, Automotive Fleet has been fortunate enough to have some of the most talented and hardworking members on its editorial staff.

  • Ed Bobit
  • Roy Wiley. Served as part of a two-man team with Ed Bobit for AF's charter issue.
  • Ron Offen
  • Bob Lewis
  • Joseph Longmeyer
  • Evelyn McMahon
  • Matt DeLorenzo. DeLorenzo followed the Bobits from Chicago to Redondo Beach, Calif., and become AF’s first editor in the new headquarters.
  • Jeffrey Osman
  • W. Thomas Bezzi
  • David Knoles
  • Glenn Hunter
  • Frances B. Gove
  • Mike Antich. Since 1985, Antich has helped guide the editorial content as AF’s longest editorial staff member.
  • Dan Rubin
  • David L. Burkhart
  • Wink Dulles
  • Gary Rubin
  • Laura Mueller
  • Catherine G. Bruhn
  • Michelle Card
  • Tim Chauran
  • Jon LeSage
  • Michelle Miller
  • Cheryl Knight
  • Martin Schneggenburger
  • Daryl Lubinsky
  • Jeff Hansen
  • Gene Allen
  • Paul Dexler
  • Al Cavalli
  • Bob Cavalli
  • Gregory Cavalli
  • Terry Flesia
  • Frank Fraser
  • John Moore
  • Jose Tingson
  • Rosalind Brice
  • Cindy Brauer
  • Chad Simon
  • Christine Erice
  • Lauren Fletcher
  • Lisajoyce Vergara
  • Grace L. Suizo
  • Thi Dao
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