Thanks to his monthly editorials for nearly 50 years in Automotive Fleet, my father, Ed Bobit, has become arguably the leading icon of the fleet industry. Month-in and month-out you see his photo, quotes, and opinions appear on the last page of each and every issue of AF.
I was nine when my father started AF and I have now worked with him for the past 35 years, so I have the unique perspective of knowing Ed Bobit the publisher, and Ed Bobit the person. From the little one-room office in Glenview, Ill., where AF got its start, to the sprawling 50,000-square foot building in Torrance, Calif., where we now reside, one thing hasn’t changed — my father.
My father has been a jock all his life and “bleeds green” for Michigan State University (MSU). It’s been his close relationship with the MSU football team that got him his nickname, “Coach.” Ever since I can remember, people who know my father have called him Coach. And I have probably called him Coach more often than I’ve called him Dad.
As I look back at my father’s 50 years of publishing Automotive Fleet and leading Bobit Business Media, the nickname “Coach” seems apropos. Coaches lead, teach, compete, inspire, and mentor. That is certainly my father, the Coach.
There’s no doubt that my father has led our company into national prominence. Bobit Business Media, now with 19 industry magazines, 40 industry websites, and 12 trade shows and conferences, is one of the leading family-owned media companies in the U.S. It didn’t come easy as the company was started on a shoestring, with my father making sure every penny was spent efficiently. An indefatigable worker who is in the office by 7:30 every morning, he continues to lead by example.
And what a teacher he is. On the business front he’s like a John Wooden, making sure we are adept at the fundamentals. Coach has always stressed quality circulation, sound research, good journalism, and savvy marketing. One area in particular that stands out to me is that he has taught us that it is our responsibility to challenge the establishment in op/ed columns even if it means having to take some heat. No one has stood up for the fleet manager like my father, and he has had his sword out for NAFA Fleet Management Association at times when he’s felt that the Association wasn’t doing enough for its members.
On the personal front, his zest for life — sports, Marsh Wheeling cigars, gin (now vodka), jokes, and the opposite sex — has taught us to enjoy life. He has shown us that you can have fun with work and be successful at the same time. He inspires us with his love of the business.
Coach, thank you for the opportunity to learn from you, and congratulations on 50 great years.
About the Author
Ty Bobit is president and CEO of Bobit Business Media, headquartered in Torrance, Calif.