Article

Remembering Ed Bobit (1927–2014)

Friends and colleagues pay tribute to a titan of the automotive press.

August 2014, Auto Dealer Today - Feature

by ADM Staff

As many of you know, Ed Bobit was truly an industry changer for the F&I and administrator arena. Being a visionary to bring many companies together in one place, with events such as Industry Summit and so many others, with topics geared specifically toward helping F&I departments along with the administrators, agents and vendors that support them, made us all better. Ed had a heart of gold and will be missed. May we all help to support his legacy. May God bless the team members of the Bobit organization as they carry on his dreams and aspirations. 
— Kelly Price, National Automotive Experts (NAE)

As our company grew, Ed helped us afford our first ad in F&I and Showroom. I always felt Ed was more concerned with our company’s success than he was about selling us an ad in his magazine or booth space at Industry Summit. Nothing made Ed happier than to hear how many people had come up to me after a workshop, or who had read one of my articles and expressed an interest in doing business with our company. At Reahard & Associates, we will be forever indebted to Ed Bobit for his commitment to helping our industry, and our company, be successful. He was a true friend who went out of his way to help others. I, for one, will miss him greatly.
— Ron Reahard, Reahard & Associates

I first met Ed about 17 years ago, when he was just beginning a publication that focused on F&I’s role in the automobile industry. As important as the finance department was to dealers, it was not front and center in the publication arena. Ed’s vision, passion and commitment were vital to the development and awareness of how to properly sell finance and insurance products.

On a personal note, I will miss Ed very much. He would light up a room and would always make you feel like the most important person in that room. He cared about our industry and always looked for people and ways to make things better. Clearly he was a giant in the F&I world.
— Steve Amos, GSFSGroup

Ed Bobit will always be remembered with tremendous admiration for his accomplishments and the positive energy he would convey to all those he would encounter. He was a pioneer in his field and, through the years, assembled an outstanding team of professionals that assisted him in building a unique publishing empire that touched many business interests and no doubt thousands of lives. Ed, always with a smile and a warm greeting, was visible at so many industry events.

It is difficult to recall them all but he so enjoyed offering his hand and interacting with those people who were so important in that aspect of his life that by all appearances were like an extended family. Ed’s 86 years is cause for great celebration by all of those he inspired. Personally, I will miss him and no doubt think with fondness that he is no longer present in the hallways of future industry events. His legacy lives on.

— Randy Crisorio, United Development Systems (UDS)

Always a smile; that’s what I remember when I think of Ed Bobit. I know for a fact that he faced hardships in his life, as we all do, but every time I saw him, he had a smile and nothing but positive things to say.

I first met Ed way back in 1998, when he contacted us at CNA National about an idea of his: a new trade publication that would be devoted entirely to F&I. As a company that specialized in vehicle service contracts, we were intrigued, so we agreed to meet at our headquarters in Scottsdale. We’ve moved our offices since then to a nearby complex, but I can still picture that day with Ed. He quickly won us over with his insights, enthusiasm, persuasion and personality. Naturally, he came prepared, and I still have the pitch book he brought to prove it!

Ed Bobit stands with his son, Ty Bobit, president and CEO of Bobit Business Media, and grandson Blake Bobit, who joined the company in 2010. 
Ed Bobit stands with his son, Ty Bobit, president and CEO of Bobit Business Media, and grandson Blake Bobit, who joined the company in 2010. 
He asked us to take a chance on his fledgling magazine, and he gave us all the reasons why it was the right decision. How could we say no? We signed up then and there as the first advertiser for F&I Management & Technology — and, of course, he talked us into a contract for a full page!

Over the years, I knew I could look forward to seeing Ed at various trade events, starting with the NADA Convention and later including Bobit’s F&I Conference, which evolved into Industry Summit. In fact, the last time we met in person was at that event in September 2013. He had been through surgery and hadn’t fully recovered, but the smile and the enthusiasm were undimmed.

That’s how I will remember Ed.
— Julie Fosgate, CNA National

In any industry, there are always certain people that stand out largely from how the people in the industry view and know the person. I remember meeting Ed Bobit back in the mid-1990s as somewhat of a youngster in the industry while working in remarketing for Mercedes-Benz Credit. At a conference and not knowing a lot of people at the time, Ed came up to me and befriended me while enjoying a cocktail. He introduced himself to me and asked me real questions to get to know me.

Over the years I would run into Ed at various industry conferences and he always acted like I was a longtime friend of his. So it is easy to talk about Ed being an icon in the automotive industry but I will always remember Ed as one of the friendliest people I have ever known. I think that, as many people think back on Ed Bobit, they will always remember what he did for the industry. I agree, but I know that, when I think about him, I will first think of Ed as one of the nicest people I have ever had the privilege to meet.
— Brian Reed, Intersection Technologies

I had met Ed Bobit a number of years ago and always remembered his enthusiasm and smile that he shared with everyone. Early in the history of the F&I Conference, he asked me to do a workshop and I was happy to do it. I’ll never forget how much appreciation he showed me for doing so when I actually felt that I had gotten the great opportunity. That is just Ed. Anyone who knew him was better for it. I know I am. Thank you, Ed!
— Jimmy Atkinson, AUL Corp.

Having known Ed for over 30 years, I’ve been witness to his substantial contributions and continued efforts to improve the view of our industry. More importantly he chose to lead life with an attitude we should all strive to attain. Ed was truly one of the good guys and will be sorely missed by us all.
— Charlie Robinson, Resource Automotive at The Warranty Group

Ed Bobit with his great-granddaughter, Alice Bobit. 
Ed Bobit with his great-granddaughter, Alice Bobit. 
I met Ed when I was 20 years old and working for American Warranty Corp. He had founded Automotive Fleet years earlier and had already earned his reputation as a successful, hardworking publisher and an all-around nice guy. Years later, he would launch F&I and Showroom and the F&I Conference, now Industry Summit, both of which invigorated and, to a degree, defined the F&I products segment in which we have all prospered. He was a friend to the industry and a great friend to me personally. He will be missed.
— Bob Corbin, IAS

While it is always sad to hear of the passing of a friend, it is also a time to remember and celebrate their lives and the impact they had on us and others — and, in Ed’s case, our industry as well. It is not often that you meet someone like Ed, who truly cared about people, our industry and, more than anything, his family. To me, Ed was someone who was always positive, excited and dedicated to everything he did. I know that while we will miss his physical presence, his memory and spirit will always remain a part of me and everyone he met. I thank you, Ed, for the time we had and the positive things you left us all with.
— Tony Wanderon, National Auto Care

I last saw Ed Bobit at the NADA Convention in New Orleans this past January. He looked tired. And why wouldn’t he? He lived 86 years on this good Earth with his pedal to the floor. Yet even at that age, he still had that perpetual twinkle in his eye, as if he was up to something and hadn’t yet let you in on the joke.

That afternoon on the exhibit floor I was privileged to thank Ed, for the memories and for the opportunities. His magazines gave my words a home; his conferences gave me a place to speak. He helped my career and I am grateful.

But Ed was about more than encouraging aspiring writers — he will be remembered more for helping the markets he touched. By coordinating magazines and shows with industry associations, he was able to shape and define how those markets perceived themselves. In the F&I space, he created channels of commerce that facilitated business between dealers, agents and providers. Sure he made money at it, but I will remember him not for the fortune he built but for the fun he so obviously had while doing it.
— Jim Ganther, Mosaic Interactive

We encounter few true forces of nature in the business world. Ed Bobit was one. I didn’t realize how formidable he was until, early in our relationship, I wrote an article for a competing publication. Per Ed, I had to be punished for my lapse in good judgment. Essentially, I was given a “time out,” but from what I can’t recall. Had this rebuke come from anyone other than Ed, the business relationship would have come to an abrupt end. But there was something about him that compelled people to always look to the greater good. They knew that Ed, by force of nature, would always deliver on his part of the bargain. Which, in my case, he did. AFIP has benefitted greatly in the years hence from its relationship with Bobit Business Media.
— David Robertson, AFIP

Have you ever met a man and immediately liked him? Well, that’s the way it was when I met Ed Bobit. I didn’t even know who he was at first, but when he came to our cocktail party at NADA in Las Vegas. I went over and introduced myself and we started talking. From that moment on, I intuitively knew that I really wanted to know this man. Fortunately, from that meeting I did get to know Ed. And the best part is, I knew I liked him before I knew what he did (or owned) for a living and what a successful person he was.

The bottom line is that, from that moment on, I have considered myself a friend of Ed Bobit, always hoping that he felt the same about me. When David Gesualdo informed me of Ed’s passing, he told me how much Ed valued our friendship over the years, and that meant a lot to me.  I subsequently went to Ed’s funeral, and I have never seen such an outpouring of affection and admiration. I can only hope that when it is my time, I will receive just a part of what was obviously felt for Ed that day.

From knowing Ed, I have been fortunate enough to meet the people that he was associated with at F&I and Showroom magazine, and can only hope that strong relationship continues.

I will miss Ed Bobit, but I am confident his business heritage will live on.
— Jim Smith, SouthwestRe
and Dealers Assurance Co.

He touched my life all too briefly and then he was gone. Of course everyone in the industry knew who Ed Bobit was. He was one of those larger-than-life success stories, but, somehow, we had never met personally. Then, in 2009; shortly after I left another publication I’d written for as lead columnist for 14 years, I got a call from Ed. Totally unexpected, he introduced himself and asked me to write for F&I and Showroom magazine. What I remember most about that conversation was how I was impressed by his sincerity and humility. The man was genuine and I knew immediately he was the kind of person I’d love to be associated with.

Our friendship was strong from the beginning and even though we only met face-to-face three times; our frequent telephone conversations always left me feeling welcome and an important member of the Bobit team. When he and I spent quality time at brunch in New Orleans during this year’s NADA Convention, I knew he was fading but he never mentioned that; it was still all about me and the business and what he wanted to achieve. He always made others feel that way.
When I received the call, even though it was sort of expected, it was a great sadness. We are genuinely blessed to have known Ed Bobit.
— Jim Ziegler, Ziegler SuperSystems

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