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Meet the Media: Erica Schueller, Editorial Director, Commercial Vehicle Group at Endeavor Business Media

I am the editorial director, Commercial Vehicle Group at Endeavor Business Media. The Endeavor Commercial Vehicle Group is comprised of six CV brands: FleetOwner, Fleet Maintenance, Trailer/Body Builders, Bulk Transporter, Refrigerated Transporter, and American Trucker.

In my current position, I have a mix of operational and strategic responsibilities. I work with the lead editors of each CVG brand to support implementation and continuation of consistent internal processes. I facilitate collaboration of content ideas across the CV editorial team and work as a liaison between our editorial brands to lead content projects.

Additionally, I still write, and will take on event coverage or feature assignments. I believe it is critical to keep a pulse of what’s going on in the industry, and nothing beats getting out in the field and having those conversations.

Can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?

Three key areas have been driving industry changes and discussion over the last several years: electrification, autonomous vehicles, and connected vehicles.

Examples include:

  • Current use cases and infrastructure challenges for battery-electric commercial vehicle adoption
  • Trends in advanced safety systems and more efficient equipment technology
  • How data collection and utilization are streamlining fleet communication between departments like drivers and maintenance, or drivers and dispatch
  • The impact of eCommerce – especially as it relates to parts ordering and delivery, or how it’s impacting the supply chain.

We also continually report on government regulations including things like hours of service (time limits on daily driving for commercial truck drivers) and continually changing greenhouse gas emissions mandates that impact fleets.

Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.

I really enjoy writing stories where people share their experiences or perspective.

Years ago, I was the editor of Professional Distributor, a publication which provides mobile tool and equipment dealers who sell to repair shops business insights and trends. Every issue featured a cover story highlighting a tool distributor’s business. For the interview, I would typically meet the distributor early in the morning and ride along on the truck for an entire day as s/he made customer stops. It was such an immersive experience, and allowed me to not only interview the subject, but get perspective and insight from his/her customers.

These men and women make their livelihood selling tools and equipment at repair shops. Their businesses are often all-consuming, back-breaking and require full family support. Family and friends often help with product inventory counts and stocking, cleaning and organizing the truck (which is also their storefront) and helping to deliver products. It’s such a unique and niche industry.

I enjoyed learning about their experiences and seeing the business first-hand, while also having the opportunity to recognize and share their challenges, accomplishments and success with the industry.

What story or stories are you most proud of?

In 2018, with the support of my publisher and corporate leadership, I enrolled in a 12-week professional truck driving course at Waukesha County Technical College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. This course provided great insight on all aspects surrounding the operation of a commercial truck – from tangential things professional drivers need to know like hours of service regulations and logbooks to track operational hours, varying driving and bridge laws across states, safety protocols, etc. to the actual preparation and driving of the vehicle itself. I learned how to conduct a thorough pre- and post-trip inspection on a tractor-trailer, how to properly upshift and downshift a manual 18-speed transmission, and how to accurately and safely back a tractor with a 53-foot trailer. 

Since I was in school 8 am to 4 pm during the week, during off hours I would put in time at my “day” job as EIC of Fleet Maintenance. I am forever grateful to the amazing editorial team that managed the day-to-day while I was out.

I created a blog, In the Driver’s Seat, to document my entire experience (https://www.fleetmaintenance.com/blogs/in-the-drivers-seat – scroll to the bottom for the beginning of the series). Since starting that blog, it has evolved into a platform providing readers perspective of real-world experience behind the wheel at other industry events.

What elements or characteristics do you look for in a story?

A human element can always capture the interest of a reader and make the content more relatable. When writing about business trends and best practices, though, that can sometimes be difficult.

When writing more about industry trends, especially for highly technical or niche topics, I find it’s best to ensure you’ve done the research to truly and thoroughly understand the subject. And, don’t be afraid to ask more questions to understand that subject.  I always relate it back to the concept of “explain it like I’m 5” or ELI5. If you can’t break down the elements of a topic to a level where someone who knows nothing on the subject could understand, it can show you don’t understand the subject yourself. Go back to the drawing board and get more information, ask more questions.

Once you have that foundational knowledge, you can better highlight the needs or choose the angle of what you’re reporting on.

How long have you been in journalism and how did you get started?

I started my professional career in 2007 as the assistant editor for a publication serving the recreational vehicle market. Besides a brief stint at a community bank in 2009 (thanks to the recession), I’ve always worked as a business-to-business editor reporting on some aspect of transportation.

Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am …

Cooking. Or, riding my bike.

What advice do you have for PR people that want to pitch you?

Evaluate and understand the audience to whom you are pitching.

Any pet peeves with PR people?

It irks me when I receive an email asking if I’m interested in receiving the press release. Limit the back and forth. Send the entire package – press release, contact for further questions and images (when applicable). It makes our lives so much easier and increases the chance we’ll pick up or pursue that story.

Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, some fact about you that few people know, etc.)

I live for summer in Wisconsin. Pandemic notwithstanding, you can find me at music festivals down by the Lake Michigan waterfront, or hiking and camping all across our great state. During our sometimes frigid and snowy winters, I’ll hunker down inside the kitchen testing out any and all recipes. I bike and practice yoga for my physical and mental well-being, year-round.

I love spending time with my husband, our five-year-old son, and our newest addition, Sunny the long dog (adopted in August 2020).

You can follow Erica on social media at:

Twitter – @cv_eschueller

Instagram – cv_eschueller

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