Keeping Up with Change

new staffers at car and driver
Keeping Up with ChangeMichael Simari - Car and Driver

If you are anything like my mother, you keep tabs on our masthead. Unfamiliar with the term "masthead"? It is print speak for the list of people who work at a publication and their accompanying responsibilities. Take a look, and you may notice some new names. Allow me to update you on what we’ve been up to since February.

One of the best vehicle evaluators I’ve ever known and the staffer who annually volunteers to drive the hairiest and quickest cars at our annual track event, Lightning Lap, 18-year C/D vet K.C. Colwell shifts from being deputy testing director to executive editor. You’ve seen his influence in his new role in the past few issues, as he loves big comparisons and instrumented tests of the latest cars. Colwell excels at staying cool even when receiving a last-minute phone call about the Pagazzini Fasterossa that is stuck in customs, leaving a six-page hole in the magazine. This sort of nightmare is a monthly occurrence, which is something I didn’t share with K.C. until he accepted the position.

Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver
Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver

Colwell's move left a vacancy in the role of senior testing editor. Enter David Beard, whose byline is known by devotees of our testing content. In addition to having tested 800-plus cars over nearly 10 years with C/D, Beard is a natural problem solver who is always prepared for anything. On a comparison test to Death Valley, the Alfa Romeo Giulia threw a check-engine light—big surprise—and went into a limp mode after we used the remote-start feature on the key fob. As we tried to find the nearest Alfa dealer on our phones, Beard pulled an OBD-II scanner from his satchel, plugged it in, diagnosed the code, and reset the Alfa. In addition to curing Italian-car hiccups, there's no problem C/D has thrown at him that he couldn’t solve. He also holds our records for quickest to 60 mph and the most skidpad g's. We are counting on Beard to carry on the testing team's pursuit of technical perfection.


Joining Beard is Mike Sutton in his new role of technical editor. One of the most experienced and conscientious C/D staffers, Sutton brings many years of editing and writing experience to the testing team. A lover of performance cars and off-road trucks and SUVs in near-equal measure, Sutton owns an '05 Pontiac GTO but is always quick to sign out our long-term Ram TRX and any Ford Raptor that passes through our office. In his 15 years at C/D, he's learned how to strap the test gear to cars and finesse them to get the best possible times. Now he'll be doing it like his job depends on it, because it does.

In the past three years, Austin Irwin has done stints in the art department, the features department, and most recently the online buyer's guide department. Yup, he's our utility infielder, or maybe he's going for a Car and Driver EGOT. An Upper Peninsula native who is impervious to Southeast Michigan winters, Irwin is blessed with a wit and smart attitude that spill over into his writing. A fan of '80s Nissan 300ZXs—the squared-off ones with pop-up headlights—Irwin is resurrecting his own 1986 300ZX Turbo. Godspeed.

Earlier this year, Eric Stafford joined the news department as a senior associate editor to help them stay on top of everything from new-car introductions to Ford's swollen-lug-nut problem. Perpetually game to jump headfirst into tough assignments, Stafford appears to enjoy tackling major projects, which explains the '97 Chevrolet Camaro SS parked behind the office. Few assignments are tougher or more important than helping new C/D staffers get up to speed on our particular ways, and we rely on his experience for just that.

Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver
Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver

Speaking of new people, Jack Fitzgerald is fresh from earning his sheepskin at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in political science and journalism. As an associate news editor, he keeps up with the daily churn of the automotive world. His love of racing and Formula 1 is infectious, and that passion for all things automotive has fast-tracked his education in the ins and outs of testing and reviewing cars. First car? A tired 1997 Jeep Cherokee that is probably the dynamic opposite of Fitzgerald's current favorite car, the Porsche Cayman GTS.

To help our existing copy team keep our prose sparkling and free of mistakes, we added copy editor Meredith Conrow. She's new to dissecting automotive writing but an avowed manual-transmission driver and advocate since cutting her teeth on a 1986 Mazda 323. Meredith's dream car garage includes a Ford Mustang GT convertible, a Mini Cooper, and a Mazda Miata. Her biggest copy-editing annoyances? Split infinitives, a series without Oxford commas, and when people add apostrophes for plurals. I'd have to agree that all those things constitute gross misconduct, and I can't wait to see her red pen all over the place.

Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver
Photo credit: Michael Simari - Car and Driver

Few things delight our C/D readers more than uncovering an error. Our last line of defense is our research editor, known colloquially as a fact checker. Matthew Skwarczek is our search engine minus the sponsored ads, false leads from Russia, and WebMD diagnoses—my itchy arm is cancer? Skwarczek is diligent, patient, willing to fix other people's mistakes, and remarkably cool for someone occupying one of the most stressful positions on staff. All of these qualities make him the perfect Fiat 500 Abarth owner.

If the magazine and website look cleaner and easier to read, you might thank deputy design director Nicole Lazarus (pictured at top, far right). After seven years working in the art department at Automobile Magazine, Lazarus spent 14 years making National Geographic beautiful, but we managed to lure her back since Nat Geo doesn't use nearly enough spider graphs. If you really want to get to Lazarus, be sure to email your complaints about fonts, photos, and layouts in italicized Comic Sans.

Which brings us to Frankie Cruz, our newest buyer's guide editor. When Cruz pulled up to his interview dinner in a new Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing, I donned a poker face, but I couldn't contain my jaw when I learned that the Cadillac had replaced a 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. He's a C/D reader since childhood, and the other 10 cars Cruz has owned—multiple Chevy Cobalt SSs, a Subaru WRX STI S209—shows he absorbed what he read. We made him an immediate offer. His love of great driver's cars will undoubtedly lead to more and more enthusiast-oriented assignments.

Please congratulate K.C., Dave, Mike, Eric, and Austin and give a warm welcome to Jack, Meredith, Matthew, Nicole, and Frankie. We're looking to hire a few more experienced and talented people in the coming months. If you think you've got the right stuff, check out for the latest opportunities.

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