SAMA announces judges for auto show awards

By Paul Borden


The Southern Automotive Media Association will award trophies again in 2010 to three auto manufacturers who enter vehicles in the South Florida International Auto Show that are judged Star of the Show, Best Green Technology Vehicle in the Show and Best Concept Vehicle in the

This is the fourth consecutive year that SAMA has given the awards at the SFIAS, which marks its 40th anniversary this year. A prestigious panel of nine SAMA members has been selected to walk the floor of the show and review the vehicles just prior to the opening and determine which vehicles will receive the coveted SAMA awards.

Those judges are SAMA founding president and automotive editor for Miamiís Community Newspapers Ron Beasley, former Automundo Magazine publisher and SAMA founding member Jorge Koechlin, auto writer/photographer and SAMA founding member Pepe Forte, prominent international auto journalist Howard Walker, auto writer/photographer and SAMA founding member Angelica Willard, nationally known automotive radio personality Joe Castello, veteran automotive writer and track announcer Ric Green, bilingual automotive journalist Juan Robbin, and auto writer and sports car racer Dr. Ray Mummery.


The awards will be announced and presented at an annual luncheon hosted by SAMA for members of the auto industry on the opening day of the Miami auto show. The SFIAS gets underway at the Miami Beach Convention Center on Nov. 5 and continues through Nov. 15.

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Ron Beasley is a veteran television and newspaper journalist. He is the founding president of the Southern Automotive Media Association. Ron is the editor of the Pinecrest Tribune and is the automotive editor for Miamiís Community Newspapers. For the last 10 years, he has written a popular new car review column entitled Letís Talk Cars that is published weekly.


Jorge Koechlin is a popular television broadcaster/host who has covered the major autosports events around the world and is the former publisher of Automundo Magazine. Jorge is well known for his autosports work on television and he has hosted programs for the Univision Network USA, ESPN, Telemundo, TV Azteca, the Speed Channel, Canal 4 America TV, America TV Peru and Television Nacional Chile. Jorge is also a race car
driver and auto event promoter.


One of the worldís most widely published auto journalists, Howard Walker has been covering the auto industry since 1978. The former editor of the influential British auto weekly Motor, he went on to launch Auto Express in the UK and become editor-in-chief of Britainís top-selling auto consumer magazine What Car? Moving to the U.S. in 1991, Howard began covering the North American market for a variety of worldwide auto publications, including Autocar in the UK, AutoVisie in Holland, Car South Africa, Vi Menn in Holland and Unique Cars in Australia. Here in the U.S., he is currently the auto editor for Palm Beach Illustrated and Naples Illustrated, the Sarasota Cafť website, and writes bi-weekly reviews for the Tampa Tribune. Based in Tampa, Howard has also served on the European Car of the Year jury and North American Car and Truck of the Year jury.


Pepe Forte is a founding member of the Southern Automotive Media Association (SAMA) and has been an automotive journalist since 1995. Over the years, his automotive stories and reviews have appeared on various Internet sites and in South Florida-based local and national Spanish-language print media. For three years, Pepe was one of the hosts of Sobre Ruedas Radio, a weekly two-hour coast-to-coast radio program about cars that aired on ESPN Sports Radio en Espanol. Currently, Pepe is the host and director of Automania, a talk show about the automobiles that airs live from Miami every Sunday from 12-1:30 p.m. and Saturday from 2-3 p.m. on Univision Radio WQBA AM 1140. Pepe is also the editor and publisher of his own website,, which is also about cars.


From 1969 to 1983, Angelica Willard was the public relations representative for the Fiat Motor Co. auto and truck assembly plant in Chile, representing the company at expo events. After moving to the United States in 1991, Angelica became a writer and later editor of the San Jose, California Spanish-language newspaper El Observador and began covering auto races at Laguna Seca in Monterrey in 1999. She has had a love for auto racing ever since and has covered races at Long Beach, Infineon, Las Vegas, Miami and many others. Angelica began photo coverage of new cars in 2003 and has tested and written about hundreds of different cars since then. Angelica currently writes for several lifestyle magazines, including Gente of Miami, Eventos, and Cancunissimo in Cancun, Mexico and Miami.


Joe Castello is a nationally-known radio personality whose network focuses on the motorsports and the automotive industry. His background behind the microphone extends over 20 years. Joe's passion for the automobile has driven his career from the start. In addition to his radio shows, Joe co-authors the Automotive Insiders column that appears in South Florida-based newspapers and online magazines, including the Deerfield Beach Observer.


Ric Green has been covering the automotive scene for 12 years for the publications New Times, The Pelican, Eastside Magazine and The Observer, where he was also the editor.  Ric has been the public address announcer at numerous automotive events, including Homestead/Miami Speedway for the past 10 years, calling the auto racing action of NASCAR, Rolex Grand-AM, Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, Indy Car, Historic Sportscar Racing and the Ferrari Challenge. He has also been the announcer at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama and Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah, covering Grand Am racing events at those venues as well. He is also the President/CEO of the Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce.


Juan Robbin was born in Colombia and came to the United States when he was just seven years old. He grew up in South Florida. A lifelong car enthusiast and aficionado, Juan has raced, bought, sold and collected cars since he was 16 years old.  For the last seven years, Juan has been active as a bilingual automotive journalist, writing for several web sites, magazines and community newspapers. Juanís writing focus is a lifestyle angle, incorporating a style that he calls: ďHow does the car make me feel?Ē


Dr. Ray Mummery is an aviation medical examiner, but his passion is cars, with an emphasis on sports cars. He is an automotive writer for SCCA, IMSA and Motoring Style. Ray is a competitive racer and has been a member of the Sports Car Club of America since 1963. He has had 17 starts in the Sebring 12 Hour endurance race, with a first place finish in the FIA 2 liter class. He has started 12 times in the Daytona 24 Hour race and notched a Camel Light GT win. He raced IMSA from 1972 to 1996 and he has raced in SCCA events since 1965. Ray is the owner of Miami Auto Racing, Inc., a motorsports consulting, car building and race track support operation. He especially enjoys racing vintage sports cars and currently owns a 1996 Porsche 993, a 1990 Mazda Miata, a 1957 Lotus 17, a 1950 Jaguar XK 120 and a 2000 Ford Expedition.