Jack’s lesson: Learn to question
Michelle Krebs is editor-at-large of Edmunds.com.
I went to work at Automotive News in 1984 and soon after my arrival became the General Motors reporter. Jack Teahen was my editor. He scared the bejesus out of me. He’d grill me on details, especially related to numbers, and question whatever line GM execs fed me.
No one knew car pricing better than Jack. When GM insiders had a question about pricing, they wouldn’t call their finance guys; they’d call Jack. I learned much from Jack -- mostly, never believe anything until I proved it for myself. I’m proud to call him one of the most important mentors of my career.
But he also was a friend. While he was a tough, cynical journalist, Jack was a generous, kind-hearted soul who became my friend, joining my family for Christmas Eve brunch and watching college basketball games.
One game in particular stands out: the NCAA championship between my beloved Syracuse University and my spouse’s much-loved Indiana University. Jack politely said not a word about which team he favored. Hoosier Keith Smart hit a jump shot at the buzzer to win the game. Poor Jack sat there in the awkward silence, not knowing what to say. I felt as sorry for him as I did for myself for my team’s loss.