Melanie Batenchuk, Editor and Owner | @BeCarChic
Melanie Batenchuk is the founder and editor of Be Car Chic. In 2009, she combined her unbridled passion for cars and writing to launch the blog dedicated to sharing industry news and automotive advice through the lens of her experience. Melanie’s passion for cars began around age 10, when her father and older brother had a 1972 Porsche 911 S restored. She sponged up the household car talk and her love for the industry grew from there.
An emerging leader in her field, Melanie has worked at the dealership, trade association, and manufacturer levels, providing her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry. As Vice President at Beekeeper Group, a public affairs firm based in Washington, D.C., Melanie applies her knowledge and experience in effective strategic communications, public relations, writing, blogger relations and social media to help her clients achieve their goals.
Melanie is recognized as a subject matter expert within the auto community, particularly in the areas of consumer advice and distracted driving. Her work has been published by Autoweek magazine, Mashable.com, MSN Autos, Jalopnik and various other websites.
Melanie currently serves as president of the Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA), an organization that aims to connect automotive journalists in the Baltimore-Washington area to auto industry executives, regulators and Administration representatives.
Thanks to her distracted driving campaign (Distraction Free Fridays), launched during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April of 2011, Melanie has also become one of the country’s most outspoken safe-driving advocates.
In August 2011, Melanie founded DC Car Chat (#DCcarchat), a meetup that brings together the car community in the nation’s capital. Due to this program’s success in D.C., an identical program has officially launched in the Dallas/Ft. Worth region, called TX Car Chat (#TXcarchat).
Melanie resides in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area with her husband. Following the recent sale of her beloved 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee (“Jeepster”) and 2007 Civic Si sedan (“Spike”), she now shares the wheel of a 2013 BMW X3 and 2003 Honda Accord.
Owen Bergwall, Green Car & Tech Contributor | @OwenBergwall
One could say Owen Bergwall has been an automotive enthusiast from birth. Well, almost. At age three, he consulted with his mom on the purchase of her V8 Mercury Cougar. A Penn State graduate, Owen grew up loving anything that runs on wheels, rails or sails. He remains fascinated with the nitty gritty details. Owen never minds getting his hands dirty learning how things work and then taking the time to explain it all. By day, he manages litigation technology projects around the world for Fortune 500 companies, AmLaw 100 law firms and government agencies. Owen also enjoys writing about green cars and advanced technology, sailing and cycling, and is active in the DC area sailing, cycling and swing dance communities.
Liza Smith, Automotive Ads Contributor | @Homadge
Liza Smith is kind of obsessed with commercials. And ads in general. It all started with a visit to Japan at age 16. Japanese commercials rocked her world. They were wacky and outrageous and she set out on a mission to transform ads in the U.S. Combining her passion for writing and advertising, Liza chose copywriting as her career path. She has worked on B2C and B2B projects for brands like Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey® Circus, Alarm.com, USA TODAY, Target, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Subway, Toyota and Lexus. Her specialties include website overhauls, corporate brand refreshes, personal brand coaching and television script writing. You can find Liza over at CopySumo.com and her blog, Homadge.com, where she shares her favorite advertising inspirations.