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  • Judging Panel

    Active Lifestyle Vehicle Jurors

    Nina Russin

    Nina Russin


    Nina Russin has been writing about and photographing automobiles for twenty years, including ten years as a weekly columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Her work has appeared in numerous enthusiast magazines, including AutoWeek, Automobile Quarterly, Collectible Automobile, Corvette Quarterly, Cycle World, European Car, Car Craft and more. Her car reviews have also appeared on and two web sites geared towards active lifestyles.

    She has done editorial photography for Jaguar, General Motors, Toyota,  Porsche and other manufacturers. An alumnus of Triton College’s automotive technology program, she received her ASE certification as an automotive technician in 1988. She also holds a master’s degree in fine arts from Indiana University.

    Russin is also an avid distance runner, having completed ten marathons, including a Boston qualifier. She was a torch bearer for the 2002 Olympic torch relay, and continues to train about sixty miles per week.

    Jim Woodman



    Jim Woodman is a visionary entrepreneur who brings over 25 years experience as event organizer, magazine publisher and founder/senior executive at The Active Network. As chief executive officer of Miami-based, Woodman handled all aspects of managing the business, raising venture capital and hiring personnel. By late 1999, Woodman negotiated a 50% merger with and the two companies became The Active Network ( As senior vice president of the merged entity, Woodman led every major acquisition that forms the foundation of The Active Network’s product offerings. Today the Active Network employs over 2,500 and is projected to reach over $300M in annual revenue for 2011. Woodman’s love of automobiles and sports got him reviewing vehicles for his magazine, Florida Sports, and other publications from 1992 to 1999. After a few years in San Diego, Woodman, along with Nina Russin and Bob Babbitt of Competitor Publishing, created the Active Lifestyle Vehicle program and Jim’s been contributing reviews and judging annual ALV winners for the past five years.

    Becky Antioco


    Becky Antioco is an auto enthusiast, writer, and former editor for AAA who has been driving and writing about cars for more than 10 years. Her reviews have appeared on AAA websites and magazines nationwide, and she has been a contributor to the annual ‘AAA’s Top Picks’ awards. Currently, Becky is a freelancer and the Luxury Auto Writer for Arizona Foothills Magazine and its online Vroom blog, as well as a contributor to

    Her passion for driving, travel and writing has taken her across the country, around the world and extensively throughout Arizona. When she’s not writing or traveling, you can find her on the tennis courts or on the hiking trails around her home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

    Jill Ciminillo


    After nearly a decade of writing car reviews, Jill is still considered a relative newcomer to the auto review scene. But with her fresh perspective, she represents the female point of view among her predominantly male colleagues. And since 80 percent of all car buying decisions are made or influenced by women, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

    Formerly the online editor for the Chicago sun-Times and the print auto editor for Pioneer Press Newspapers, Ciminillo tells it like it is from the fun to the functional. Jill currently writes weekly car reviews for The North Star National syndicate, manages an automotive blog for ChicagoNow called “Drive, She Said,” and has ocassional guest appearances on WGN radio. She also freelances for a fuel economy-focused web site called

    Jol Dantzig



    A native of Evanston, Illinois, Jolyon (Jol) Dantzig studied photography and film at the Art Institute of Chicago.

    While in his early twenties, Dantzig became a touring musician, supplementing his income buying and selling used guitars and running his band equipment rental company.

    In 1970, Dantzig opened Northern Prairie Music, one of the first shops selling “vintage” instruments to professional musicians and collectors. In 1973 Dantzig was co-founder of the first “boutique” elecric guitar company, Hamer Guitars.

    1993 saw the formation of the Dantzig Design Group, a design company that specializes in the music and motorsports industries.

    Dantzig has written for numerous music and automotive publications including Amplitudes and AutoStar. His workshop blog can be found at

    Dantzig’s hobby is collecting, working on and racing vintage sports cars and is active in HSR, SVRA, NASA and PCA racing. His recorded work includes performing with R&B legend Wilson Pickett and Handy Award winning producer Jon Tiven.

    Dantzig currently resides in Connecticut.

    Cathy Droz

    Cathy Droz


    Cathy Droz is an automotive lifestyle journalist, and has been working in the automotive field for over 20 years. This New York native loves all aspects of the automobile industry. Best known for her auto reviews from a woman’s perspective, she has test driven over 500 manufacturer’s cars and had her reviews published in newspapers, magazines, and on the internet, as well as on local television and her own radio show. Auto dealer marketing is her specialty, honed from years spent working her own automotive ad agency. She maintains business relationships with both manufacturers here and abroad. From her unique ‘insider’ window on the car business, she can provide expert advice on both purchasing a vehicle, training sales staffs, and consulting automotive groups about how women in particular deserve to be treated when they are buying a car. Her lifestyle reviews and knowledge on virtually every make and model on the market allows her to speak from a position of authority when it comes to the car buying experience. Her goal is bridging the gap between auto dealers and women to make a difference in the dealership-level car experience.

    Cathy’s book, ‘Do These High Heels Make Me Look Stupid’ A Woman’s Guide to Buying a Car Without a Guy’ was born of her desire to prepare women car buyers with the information and confidence to negotiate for their next car on their own. Thus the ‘High Heels Certified’ dealer sales training and certification program was conceived. While the automotive industry makes up a huge part of her life in the workforce, it is just one facet of a manifold career that spans 44 years.

    The sum of this varied experience has prepared her for her newest adventure ‘ making women feel confident when purchasing their next cars.

    Cathy resides in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband Manny. She is the proud parent of 3 children and 8 grandchildren. She is the founder of

    Sam Haymart



    Raised in Northern California and now a resident of Phoenix, Sam Haymart has published both video and written automotive content across various channels through his company Steed Publications since 2006.
    His main focus is hosting and producing automotive test drive reviews and news with his YouTube video channel TestDrivenTV, in addition to niche automotive news websites focused on trucks, SUV’s and high performance cars.
    When not working he enjoys running, strength-training, and finding new natural foods to obsess on.

    Tyson Hugie


    Tyson Hugie has worked in healthcare for 5 years with CVS Caremark as a Senior Analyst.  He currently works as a project manager in the IT department of the Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) arm of the company, but Tyson’s passion centers around his love for the automotive industry and for travel in general.  For the last decade, Tyson has driven on average between 40 and 50,000 miles per year discovering destinations across the country and even internationally.  Since early 2011, he’s authored the automotive blog “Drive to Five” in which he’s shared these adventures with followers.  Tyson is also an awarded long-distance runner, having completed over a dozen races of half- or full-marathon length.

    Cathy Luebke


    Cathy Luebke grew up in the Chicago area and is a journalism graduate of Southern Illinois University. She began her newspaper career in 1974, later specializing in business.

    She is semi-retired after working more than 20 years for the Phoenix Business Journal as a reporter and editor. She still freelances and writes her weekly auto column, which she started in 1992.


    Roman Mica



    Roman Mica is a columnist, journalist, and author, who spent his early years driving fast on the German autobahn. When he’s not reviewing cars or producing videos, you can find him training for triathlons and writing about endurance sports for as the site’s publisher. Mica is a former broadcast reporter with his Master’s Degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He is also a presenter for TFLcar’s very popular video review channel on YouTube .



    Linda Water Nelson

    Linda Water Nelson


    Linda Water Nelson has been writing about vehicles for more than 25 years. As sport vehicle editor of Texas Fish & Game magazine and for its website at, she drives the newest trucks and SUVs regularly. As a current member and former board member for the Texas Auto Writers Association, she is a judge for the Truck of Texas and SUV of Texas competitions. She is also an active member of the Texas Outdoor Writers Association and the Outdoor Writers of America Association. Her work focuses on the relationships between trucks, SUVs and other passenger vehicles and the quality of life of their owners and users. She will launch the website, this year with an emphasis on vehicles, adventures and ideas about the outdoor life.

    Eric Noble


    Eric Noble is the president and founder of CARLAB Development, LLC, a firm which does engineering, design and prototyping for OEMs and Tier Ones, including General Motors, Toyota, Volvo, Bentley, Subaru, Chrysler, Yamaha, Honda and Daimler Benz. Among the show cars the company has produced are the 2008 Suzuki pickup introduction model for the Chicago Auto Show, 2007 Kia Spectra5 SX concept for SEMA, and the 2007 Kia Rondo SX concept for the Chicago Auto Show.

    Noble is also a Professor of Vehicle Technology at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He currently teaches upper level automotive design courses, and previously taught vehicle product planning. A former chair of the school?s budget committee, he is the director of the marine design program and an independent study advisor.

    Noble and his family live in Orange County, California, and are all avid surfers.

    April Ockerman



    April Ockerman is a born and bred Texas girl. She started her lifestyle blog, Insights by April, 5 years ago where she writes about her two kids, running, recipes, and now car reviews. She entered the automotive space about two years ago and her love for the industry has grown and grown. Now as as member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, she is bringing her PTA, soccer mom point of view about vehicles that fit into an everyday lifestyle of kids and activities.


    Nic Phillips

    Nic Phillips


    Nic Phillips is a Houston, Texas based automotive correspondent and evangelist for – an essential source for real-time, digital coverage of culturally relevant breaking news and information, analysis and opinion on the arts, fashion, dining, music, events, politics, sports and society in Texas. A serial entrepreneur, Mr. Phillips co-founded the digital media venture with newsrooms in Dallas, Austin and Houston and has interests in creative entertainment, high performance lighting and control technologies and his latest venture, wattsON Power, focuses on the supply of specialty rotary electric machines and critical power systems for industrial, oil and gas, conventional and renewable power generation and electric vehicle traction applications. He is a Vice President of the Texas Auto Writers Association, a Founding Director of the United Council of Automotive Media and he is a Director of the non-partisan public policy forum The Texas Lyceum. Follow him on Twitter @nicphillips

    Jim Prueter



    Jim Prueter is a Sr. Vice President at AAA (American Automobile Association) an organization with over 50 million members in North America.

    He is also an automotive and travel journalist where his new product auto reviews, automotive and travel articles regularly appear in AAA publications throughout the U.S. and Canada and is a contributor for “AAA Top Picks,” an annual award for the best new vehicles.

    He has regular automotive segments and appears on KTVK TV 3 in Phoenix and KGUN TV 9 in Tucson.

    Jim and his wife Claudia live in Phoenix, AZ.

    Kimatni Rawlins


    Kimatni D. Rawlins is the founder of Automotive Rhythms Communications, LLC, a lifestyle automotive media and marketing portal consisting of Internet, network television, online video, print, radio and event properties. In the ten years of its existence, Automotive Rhythms has positively educated millions of automotive buyers on how they view and purchase new and used vehicles. Kimatni established the company in 2002 to serve as the communications liaison between automotive companies and the urban car-buying market and travels the globe assessing new automobiles and motorcycles and their corresponding technologies for his readers and viewers. Recently, Kimatni launched Fit Fathers to encourage dads to mobilize their families towards healthier eating and engaging in active lifestyles.

    Nicole Wakelin



    Nicole Wakelin is an automotive journalist who contributes a female perspective to the male-dominated automotive scene. She currently covers the industry with both written and video reviews for a variety outlets.

    She is a contributor to The Boston Globe, CarGurus, and BestRide along with numerous websites and blogs. Nicole is also Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA).