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Remembering Jim: A Mentor

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The day Jim died I was driving home and noticed the flags were at half-mast. I’m not exactly sure why the flags were in that position, but for me it was a sign of mourning and memorial to Jim Smith. A cliché he would have hated, but so true.kristen_jim

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While I only knew Jim for less than three years, I’d be lying if I said he didn’t have an impact on my life. I will be forever grateful to him for taking a chance on me and bringing me onto the Tire Review team.

Jim introduced me to the tire industry and B2B publishing. He was both a boss and mentor.

Sometimes Jim would give you guidance on a story or background on an issue – he was a tremendous reference on all things tires. Other times Jim would throw you into the deep end and see if you could figure it out yourself. It was an effective method, and I know more about the industry because of it.

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To many people Jim could come off as surly – he really enjoyed being at opposition—but he also had a softer, more caring side. His door was always open to discuss not only business, but life.

Among many things, Jim gave me advice about purchasing my first home and helpful homeowner tips thereafter. And while he always talked of the importance of getting work done, he was insistent that I took time for the important things in life, like family. He’d always say, “Get out of here kid,” when I’d work past quitting time.

I was always kid or K.C. to Jim. The first nickname annoyed me until I realized he meant it as a term of endearment.

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In fact, Jim always made me feel respected. He listened to my opinions and never held my age or inexperience against me. And while our opinions on a topic wouldn’t always be the same, Jim didn’t automatically rule out what I had to share.

I think our differences complimented each other and we had a strong relationship growing. I’ll miss that.

For me Jim’s death is another one of his tests to see if I can “swim.” I hope to make him proud.

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