In My Opinion

Updated Apr 28, 2016

Many of you will recognize those words as the ones that headed the column written every month by Jim Moss, president of Kona Communications, one-time publisher of Truck Parts & Service and Successful Dealer magazines.

There are lot of things I could say about Jim, but probably high on the list would be the fact that Jim has strong opinions and was not shy about sharing them. I remember him telling me a story about how his boss at Chilton often said, “Old Buster [that is what he called Jim] is sometimes wrong, but never doubtful.”

Jim passed away last week at his home in Kona, Hawaii, surrounded by his family, and I have to believe I am not the only one who is going to miss hearing Jim’s opinions.

Whether you liked Jim or found his insistence on sharing his opinions bothersome, you can’t deny the impact he had on the truck parts and service business nor his undying love for it.

Jim started Fleet Distribution magazine in 1966 as a voice for heavy-duty parts distributors. He steered it through its change to Heavy Duty Distribution and through its metamorphosis to Truck Parts & Service. I say metamorphosis because Jim was one of the first people in the trucking industry to recognize the important role service was going to play in the parts business.

In addition to running the magazines, Jim was co-founder of the Council of Fleet Specialists, which joined forces with the National Wheel & Rim Association to form what today is known as the Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network. He was also very active in many other industry associations and initiatives.

Jim started the Truck Parts Distributor of the Year award following a conversation with someone who asked him if he thought parts distribution was still viable. Jim sure thought it was and he set out to prove it by interviewing and recognizing the best of the best in parts distribution. The award has been going strong for 14 years proving that Jim was right — parts distribution is alive and well.

Probably most telling about Jim is the fact that he always referred to the truck parts and service market as “our business.” Those of us who worked for him would often remind him that we were actually in the publishing business. We never did convince him of that. His love for the parts and service business ran deep and he was more aligned with the problems of his readers than that of other publishers.

One place his love of the industry manifested itself was in the amount of time he spent mentoring young people who were just starting out in the industry. I have very vivid memories of Jim spending hours explaining the nuances of the business to someone who was just getting started. He was hell bent on infusing them with the passion he had for the industry. And in many cases he succeeded. I think that is the real legacy he leaves: his impact on people who today are shaping the truck parts and service business.

When I shared the news of Jim’s passing with them, I heard lots of comments like the following:

  • He left a great mark on the industry
  • This marks the end of an era
  • It is a great loss
  • Jim was a mentor in the industry
  • He will be greatly missed
  • What a loss and a legend in the industry
  • Jim was a wonderful man, I really enjoyed working with him
  • It is very sad. I have a lot of great memories of Jim
  • A sad day for trucking
  • Such a good and wonderful man
  • Jim was truly a pioneer

So while Jim is indeed gone, his influence and passion live on in the people who he took time to nurture and infuse with his love for this very dynamic industry.

I, like many others, will miss Jim’s influence but am grateful for the time I had with him. Rest in peace Jim, and know that when your pals in the truck parts and service biz get together we will toast you with some Bombay Sapphire. And oh the stories we will share!

Denise Rondini, president of Rondini Communications, is the former editor of Truck Parts & Service and vice president of operations at Kona Communications. In these capacities she worked with Jim Moss for 25 years beginning in 1982.

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