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NAIAS to honor auto journalist with Urban Wheels Lifetime Achievement Award

Now in its 17th year, the North American International Auto Show’s Urban Wheels Lifetime Achievement Award is intended to insure the valuable contributions of women and people of color within the diverse industry are not overlooked or unsung.
Posted: December 31, 2012 - 10:58PM
Author: Don Bain

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This year, focusing on the contributions of women in the industry, NAIAS has selected Kathy Jackson, a native of Flint MI, to receive the award in recognition of her 21 years as an automotive journalist for Automotive Week.

“Our mission is to ensure efforts in all aspects of diversity are honored and rewarded with the Urban Wheel Awards,” said Randi Payton, UWA founder, according to a post by Jeremy Allen on the Michigan Live website.

“For 17 years, this has been the only event held during the NAIAS promoting and celebrating diversity and inclusion in the auto industry,” Payton added. “We are extremely honored to dedicate this year’s event to women in recognition of their significant accomplishments and success in the automotive industry.”

Now the owner and operator of the Healthy Dollar store in Flint, Jackson only left her post with Automotive News during 2010, opening her retail outlet just last year.

“The auto industry is the biggest and grandest industry in the world,” Jackson told Allen. “It’s so important to the world and I’m happy that I was able to be a part of it for as long as I was.”

During her news career, Jackson filed breaking news stories concerning foreign and domestic automakers from desks in Detroit, Los Angeles, Munich and London, among other assignments. The scope of her news beat was worldwide.

“They’ve given this award to several people in the past,” Jackson said. “It’s generally given to someone who’s spent a lot of time in the auto industry who’s done some unique things or who’s made a big difference or a positive impact on the industry.”

In Jackson’s case, a story she wrote about a Minnesota car dealers dirty deeds resulted in lawsuits totaling nearly $1 billion filed by the automakers concerned. Denny Hecker was ultimately sentenced to 10 years in prison for fraud and other misadventures.

At the ceremony to be held at MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit on Jan. 13, Peter Brown, her former editor at Automotive News, will present the award to Jackson.

“Peter was my editor when I started at Crain’s Detroit Business in 1984, and when he became the editor at Automotive News in 1989, he brought me along with him,” Jackson concluded.

To a journalist, few things are more meaningful than having a highly respected editor take you along when they change publications. That’s a form of approval highly valued and rarely seen in the industry.

Torque News salutes NAIAS and Kathy Jackson for their contributions to the industry!

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