MotoIQ Staff
   

Mike Kojima, President

Hometown: Gardena, CA  Cars: Classified  Favorite Nerd: Michio Kaku

Mike Kojima has been working hard at blowing up and crashing stuff throughout his 27-year professional automotive career. He has always had a passion for things mechanical from an early age. As a small child Mike was adept at taking expensive things apart and not always being able to put them back together, much to his parent's dismay. Some things never change, as an adult the things are now bigger and even more expensive.  Mike's professional automotive and motorsports engineering carrier has been wide and varied with stints as an engineer at Toyota Racing Development (TRD), Nissan North America and Nismo North America as well as Pep Boys. Mike has also served as an engineering consultant for many performance parts manufactures. A prolific author Mike's writing can be found regularly in the pages of Sport Compact Car Magazine, Turbo Magazine where he was Engineering Editor, Honda Tuner, Import Tuner, Project Car and Grass Roots Motorsports magazine as well as several books for HP publications.  Mike holds or has held NASA, SCCA and IMSA racing licenses and has participated in just about every form of racing from BMX to autocross and has broken nearly every bone in his body. Mike is also old, old enough to be one of the pioneers of the import performance scene at its birth in the 70's to the popularity it's enjoying now.  Mike is perhaps best known for his famous quote, "Do you want to go fast or do you want to suck?"

The Real Mike Kojima

Jeff Naeyaert, Vice President

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan  Cars: Project Golf TDi, Project V8 RX-7, 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure R, 2013 KTM 350 EXC  Favorite Nerd: Carl Sagan

Avoiding the torture of creative writing, Jeff fills the roles of strategy/biz dev guy, accountant and photographer. He brings considerable knowledge in online media from business development positions held at Fastclick, an online ad network acquired by ValueClick Media and Homestore.com (now Move, Inc.). Prior to that Jeff was an investment banking analyst at Southwest Securities in Dallas, Texas. Jeff's various "corporate" positions provided enough resources for him to build what was once considered the "Fastest Track Sentra in Existence" and more recently an LS powered FD RX-7. Jeff knows just enough about fabrication and auto mechanics to be dangerous, scoffs at the idea of paying someone else to wrench on his car and insists on doing most of his own work—for better or often times worse. Jeff holds a BS in Finance and Real Estate Finance from Southern Methodist University.  His favorite food is corn and his favorite color is green.

Jeff Naeyaert

Martin Gonzales, VP of Sales & Marketing 

Hometown: Lima, Peru  Cars: 92 Sentra SE-R daily, 99 Sentra SE-L never ending project, Project BMW E39 M5, Project Infiniti G20 Racecar  Favorite Nerd: David Neevel

Martin Gonzales' unique balance of automotive experience and business smarts have led him to our MotoIQ team. His automotive roots were cultivated on the roads and race tracks of Southern California. Not only as a licensed racer with NASA and pilot in the 24 Hours of Lemons, but also as a test driver for various rental car companies...unofficially. Knowing motorsports don't finance themselves, he has spent the better part of the last decade managing teams for marketing firms and financial institutions.
Since the first day he hit the tarmac he's known his true calling – to build and drive his creations at their limits. His dual-purpose street cars, dedicated race machines, writings and photography have made their way to web pages and motorsport magazines alike. We are lucky and excited to have a talent like Martin on our side as we strive to turn up the signal and quiet the noise. And yes, ours will go to 11!

Martin Gonzales

Aaron LaBeau, Director - IT  

Hometown: Phoenix, AZ  Cars: 2009 Infiniti G37s, 2007 Honda Civic Si (Project Civic Si)  Favorite Nerd: Nerd James May (Captain Slow) The King of Ad Nauseam

Aaron is the site administrator, database guru and janitor.  Claims have been made that his first actual words were turbo-charger.  In his early years he read every new car magazine he could get his hands on.  John Phillips and Tony Swan of Car & Driver always entertain with their combination of humor and intelligent words and continue to serve as inspiration to this day.  The path of automotive insanity started back in April of 1994 when Aaron purchased a 1993 Nissan Sentra SE-R and like his fellow colleagues here turbo-charged the bejeasus out of it thanks to Mike Kojima's over-persuasive suggestion of "do you want to go fast or suck?"  He has a degree in Communication with a secondary focus of High Technology Management from California State University San Marcos.  Although most of his time is spent sorting through programming languages, every once-in-awhile the boss lets Aaron take a break from the keyboard.  If you've read this far hit Alt-Tab for some relief, apple-Tab for you Mac users and you Linux hackers already know everything (wink).


Rathyna Gomer, Sales & Marketing Manager 

Hometown: Colton, CA  Cars:  2004 Nissan 350z (LS3), 1993 Nissan 240sx (SR20DET), 2012 Nissan Cube daily, 2007 VW Beetle daily #2  Favorite Nerd: Walter White

Rathyna first fell in love with cars while playing Gran Turismo 3 on my Playstation 2 during middle school. When she was 16 she realized she couldn't afford an MKIV Supra, so she "settled" for a Nissan 350z (I'm now on Z number four). That same year, Rathyna attended a D1GP event at Irwindale Speedway and saw drifting for the first time. On that day she made a promise to herself that she too, would drive on that track as a professional driver. When Rathyna is not eating or sleeping, she is normally drifting so you’ll likely catch her on a track somewhere shredding tires, with the intention of making a career out of this crazy, fun sport. She's also seemingly a career student. Rathyna is currently earning an MBA in Marketing, so it is fitting that she is MotoIQ’s Sales & Marketing Manager. She will be wearing multiple hats around here - from social media management, to maintaining relationships with our partners and advertisers, to working on our project cars. With that being said, if there is anything you have questions about or if you want to get involved with us, she's your gal!

Rathyna Gomer
MotoIQ Editors
   

Billy Johnson

Hometown: Redondo Beach, CA  Cars: BMW E92, Viper Favorite Nerd: Mike Kojima

Billy is an American professional race car driver competing in the Grand-Am Sports Car Series for Horsepower Ranch/Roush Racing's Ford Mustang GT, as well as Time Attack events (Global Time Attack, Super Lap Battle, etc.) in an assortment of cars - Turbo NSX, Twin Turbo 350Z, R34 GTR and many more.


Cheston Chiu

Hometown: Redondo Beach, CA  Cars: 2003 Nissan 350z, 2008 Mitsubishi Evo X MR, 1989 Nissan 240sx, Power Wheels 18V Lightning McQueen  Favorite Nerd(s): Giovanni Venturi, James Maxwell, Daniel Bernoulli

Cheston brings a "unique" perspective with his experiences in aeronautical flight test and evaluation, to the MotoIQ staff.  Captivated with jets as a kid, and then starting his interests in cars in college, it was only a matter of time before both worlds collided.  He is totally obsessed with anything related to vehicle aerodynamics and has the JDM parts to prove it!  His backyard looks like a used car parts lot which drives his wife crazy, and she threatens regularly to sell everything for $1 OBO on Craigslist.   Cheston has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from UCLA. It was at UCLA where he helped design and build an off-road vehicle for the SAE Mini-Baja competition as well as assisting with composite parts fabrication for the SAE Human-powered vehicle project.  Cheston leveled up his nerdom by obtaining his M.S. in Systems Architecture and Engineering from cross-town rival USC.  When not flying at Mach-2 with his hair on fire, Cheston assists with project builds and media/public relations at TechnoSquare Inc. Cheston is also an avid collector (or hoarder) of Star Wars, GI Joes, Transformers and LEGO toys.  Instead of sharing with his kids, he keeps them mint in box and in various hiding places around the house and chooses to imagine what it would be like to play with them if he were to actually open the packaging and thus de-valuing his collection.  Despite all these interests, he still manages to find time to be Super Dad to his two kids and Doting Husband to his wife of almost 10 years.

Cheston Chiu

Chuck Johnson

Hometown: Noneya, CA  Cars: 1988 Nissan Sentra; 1992 Nissan 240SX; 2006 Nissan Titan; 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R, Super Mario Spec  Favorite Nerd: Data from Goonies

Somewhere in the thousands of hours Chuck Johnson has spent wrenching on cars, he came to the conclusion that a gear head’s automotive experiences should extend beyond that of the garage floor. Since then, Chuck has turned each of his projects into a means of experiencing some kind of new gear head adventure. Fortunately for us, we can live vicariously through Chuck’s builds instead of blowing our own life savings on constructing a land speed record breaking 240SX or building a 400 plus horsepower Sentra to race the Silver State Classic Challenge. Chuck’s approach towards college and his career remained consistent with his perhaps skewed, gear head philosophy. Chuck completed his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology at CSULA with an emphasis in Power, Energy, and Transportation. During his time at CSULA, Chuck was heavily involved in leading nerds, specifically the SAE student chapter and their competition Super Mileage team. After graduation, Chuck abruptly, and perhaps irresponsibly, quit his job in aerospace to seek out his place in the automotive industry. In the long run this would pay off. He currently spends his days as a manager of engineering, leading some of the most talented technical teams and innovative product development projects in motorsports today. Right or wrong, to Chuck, his passion for everything automotive is a way of life.

Chuck Johnson

Colin Holte

Hometown: Canada  Cars: Project Audi Quatro Favorite Nerd: Mike Kojima

Colin spent his late teens and early 20’s reading and re-reading Sport Compact Car magazine. At one point he subscribed to the magazine but because it took longer for the issues to arrive by mail than he could get them at the news stand there is a 1 year period where he has duplicate issues of SCC. He stopped reading the magazine a few years prior to its demise as the magic was gone… perhaps not coincidentally so were Mike and Dave. Fast forward a few years and MotoIQ went live. From just about the beginning Colin pestered the editors with spelling and grammar corrections. Eventually they relented and named him copy editor. He is enjoying this opportunity to contribute to MotoIQ’s success. Colin is currently completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Cellular, Molecular and Microbiology at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia.


Dave Coleman

Hometown: Seattle, WA  Cars: Project Miatabusa, Project Silvia, Project Frankenmiata Lemons Racer, Favorite Nerd: Mike Kojima

Dave Coleman was Engineering Editor for Sport Compact Car magazine from 1997 to 2005 where he wrote hundreds of fascinating, informative, in-depth technical articles, often containing facts, some of which are true. Dave Coleman barely graduated from Harvey Mudd College with an engineering degree that involved a lot of math… all of which he has forgotten. Dave Coleman has a PhD in Kicking Your Ass. Dave Coleman is currently a vehicle development engineer at Mazda, where he does secret things he can't tell you about. Dave Coleman won the California Rally Series 2WD championship in 2003. Dave Coleman has won almost 50% of the rallies he has entered. Dave Coleman has DNF'd almost 50% of the rallies he has entered. Dave Coleman is watching you. Dave Coleman considers himself personally responsible for bringing the WRX and EVO to the U.S., but nobody ever believes him. Dave Coleman singlehandedly ruined the 240SX for all the cool kids who had them before he did. Mike Kojima thinks Dave Coleman is pretty smart. Dave Coleman vandalized an El Camino. Dave Coleman has a clean driving record. (In Bucharest.)


David Zipf

Hometown: Wilmington, Delaware Cars: 1986 Acura Integra LS, 1990 Nissan 240SX “Sileighty”, 2001 Isuzu Vehicross Ironman Favorite Nerd: Colin Chapman, Dave Coleman

Some people like to say they were car lovers from birth: David attended his first Indy 500 in utero and knew the names of Andretti, Unser, and Foyt before he was out of diapers.  He always wanted to be a driver, but has turned his attentions to engineering with desires of becoming a crew chief instead.  In college, he joined the Formula SAE team where he became known as “Curly” (some say this is his actual name).  David began racing R/C cars in 2004 and has been autocrossing since 2007 in both SAE cars and his 240SX.  While working at a convenience store in high school, he stumbled on an issue of Sport Compact Car and was instantly hooked, following Mike, Dave, and Eric to MotoIQ later on.  He has always enjoyed writing and MotoIQ gives him the opportunity of combining his hobbies of wrenching and writing.  David graduated the University of Delaware in 2014 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and was hired by Hitachi Automotive shortly thereafter to design ECUs and sensors.  He has many harebrained project ideas, most of them involving British cars with Japanese engines, old trucks, or engine/drivetrain swaps way over his skill level.  Seems growing up in a house with a 1953 Morgan has permanently warped his sense of what makes a car cool.  When he’s not wrenching, David can be found playing guitar, or playing video games. 

David Zipf

Eric Hsu

Hometown: Redondo Beach, CA  Cars: Merk Something-or-other Favorite Nerd: Mike Kojima

Eric Hsu needs no introduction but we'll try to do one anyway. One of the founders of XS Engineering, Eric is one of the greatest tuners in the industry. Eric is behind the scenes for many of the fastest cars in the Time Attack, Road Race, Drift and even Street world. I have known Eric since he was probably 18 years old or something (he had hair then) but what struck me immediately was how smart he was, even at that young age. Within minutes of meeting him, I somehow knew that he was going to be one of the best in the field. Eric spent his early years as a pro at Apexi in Japan. After his stint at Apexi, Eric returned to the US to build XS Engineering into a performance powerhouse. Eric is currently an Engineer with Cosworth pushing the state of art even further. Follow Eric's adventures in the world of racing performance and other things besides racing!


Khiem Dinh

Hometown: Redondo Beach, CA  Cars: Project Honda S2000 Favorite Nerd: Mike Kojima

Khiem started riding and crashing bicycles when he was four. Because his father is a mad scientist, Khiem spent his elementary school years taking apart his toys and reading Popular Science and Popular Mechanics instead of comic books. The middle school years were spent crashing bicycles even more, wrenching R/C cars together and getting burned with a soldering iron. R/C cars taught him about vehicle dynamics, suspension, gearing, electronics, and led to an interest into real cars and reading Road & Track and Sport Compact Car. Eventually, he came into possession of a 1996 Nissan 200SX SE-R leading down the same trail as much of the MotoIQ crew. While studying Mechanical Engineering at the U. of Texas at Austin, he spent two summers interning with Ford Motor Company, dabbling in Formula SAE, and spending his excess income modifying his SE-R and tracking it. He considers the money spent on the SE-R as his second bachelor’s degree in practical engineering. At least that’s how he tries to rationalize all the money he spent on SE-R as he is still paying off the student loan money used on the car. After the BS, he wanted more punishment and went to the U. of Florida for a Masters. Here, he started crashing motorcycles instead of bicycles. Seriously though, he’s not that bad of a rider and occasionally serves as a driving instructor for Speed Ventures. His day job now consists of working with parts that spin really really fast at Honeywell Turbo Technologies - which comes with the following legal babble: "All statements expressed by Khiem Dinh are solely those of Khiem Dinh and not reflective of Honeywell Turbo Technologies."


Mike Bonanni

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV  Cars: Nissan 370Z  Favorite Nerd: Either Mike Kojima or Booger from Revenge of the Nerds

Mike has been into cars since he was born. Growing up in a family of car enthusiasts, family folklore states that Mike could name all the car manufacturers by emblem at the age of two. Even with all of that, Mike didn’t find his way into racing until he was 18 years old. Starting at the drag strip with a home-built '70 Chevelle, Mike eventually found his way to autocross once he got his first sports car, a Nissan 350Z. From autocross came track days which led him into time attack where he’s found the most success. Starting out campaigning his own team with that same 350Z now turned track car Mike eventually found his way into the driver's seat of cars for other teams. Mike has also done some traditional wheel-to-wheel racing and was actually our first ever MotoIQ MPTCC Tuner Over class champion in 2011. Looking toward the future, Mike is knee deep in a BMW M3 racecar build for grassroots endurance racing in 2014. To support this bank account robbing super hobby known as motorsports, Mike is a full-time driving instructor out at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas where he teaches tourists how to drive high dollar exotic supercars around a 1.2-mile road course. He also does private coaching, car setup, build consulting, and writes articles for PASMAG on the side. Mike's dreams are to be sponsored by a bourbon company and teach Oprah Winfrey how to drive race cars.

Mike Bonanni

Pablo Mazlumian

Hometown: Shawnee, KS  Cars: Project MKIV Supra, Project E46 M3, 04 Mazda MPV, 01 Opel Omega (fine, some call it the "Cadillac Catera")  Favorite Nerd: Christophe Des Rosiers

In 1976, Pablo’s family immigrated from Buenos Aires, Argentina to southern California, where he grew up in the Inland Empire (yeah, one of those 909’ers). In 2002 he reluctantly married a Kansas girl and moved to the Midwest. Today, he’s there, loving the large basement for all of his spare car parts (in CA, he filled an entire guest room), and happily married with three daughters. While most of his life revolved around tennis, his passion was always cars. His first three were Alfa Romeos until the BMW M3 bug bit him in late 1996, with BMW’s release of the sedan. In 2000, Pablo started freelancing for european car Magazine under the tutelage of Greg Brown and Les Bidrawn. His timely loss of his already-modified M3 at Willow Springs meant a fresh start with a 95 BMW M3, and EC’s turbocharged “Project M3” (aka Vader M3) was born. With 29 articles and the open-class winners of both the 1st Annual Hotchkis Media Challenge and 1st Annual Eurotuner Fest events, the car made a name for itself, opening doors for other projects for Pablo to manage, including projects Mini Cooper S, Audi S4, 997 Turbo, as well as his own Porsche 951. In 2003, Pablo started Project Supra for Turbo Magazine and 3 years later another Project E36 M3 with eurotuner (under the pseudo name, Paul Piola) before the magazines were discontinued. Moving to the Midwest, Pablo kept his Supra and connected with Mike Kojima through MotoIQ’s own Chuck Johnson. After that, Pablo got the green light to start with MotoIQ by revisiting his Supra project, as well as introducing Project BMW E46 M3 to expand the Euro focus. Since then, Pablo’s been able to write lots of articles for us when he’s not working his full-time Director-of-Tennis job at Clayview Country Club in Liberty, MO.


Steve Rockwood, aka HopSing

Hometown: Whale's Vagina, aka San Diego  Cars: Project G20 Racecar, Project Hypermiler, 2008 Nissan Xterra 4x4, 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 (with Cummins power), 2003 SR20DET-powered Dune Buggy, 1998 Nissan 200SX SE-R (462whp garage ornament)  Favorite Nerd: Cameron Frye

Baptized in oil at the ripe age of 18 months when he pulled a pan of used motor oil over his head, Steve has been nuts about cars since the first spark of memory showed up in his somewhat-self-aware brain.  Incapable of leaving anything alone for long, and firmly believing that all auto manufacturers make cars the way they are just to irritate him, Steve has spent the better part of the last 20 years in a car nerd’s version of Sisyphus and his ginormous rock.  Car-related hobbies include wheel to wheel racing the never fast enough MPTCC #73 G20, drag racing his over-powered-beer-can-turned-garage-ornament SE-R, taking his Nissan-powered dune buggy off of some sweet jumps, and exploring the few back woods trails of Southern California that haven’t been cordoned off by enviro-nazis.  With his pedantic vocabulary, abrasive personality, and inclination towards vehicular self-torture (who else buys an SE-R on purpose?), Steve has little choice but to be a car nerd and hopes to remain a contributor to the MotoIQ Nerd Alliance for at least the next 20 or 30 minutes.

Steve Rockwood

Tatsu Tsuchida

Hometown: Placentia, CA  Cars: AP86 in the works  Favorite Nerd: Soichiro Honda, basic rags to riches story

Aimless teen-ager with a mechanic for a father. I grew up around a garage all my life, but didn't really take an interest in cars until the Honda rage of the mid-nineties. Dad had bought me a '94 Accord, which I started to modify extensively. A family friend, Ryotaro Oku, owner of Racing Beat, then importer of RSR springs had given me my first mod: Lowering springs. A few more years would transpire, but a chance meeting at a coffee house with Jared Holstein, former Sport Compact Car staffer would prove a life altering friendship. A few months later Jared would scout me for my Japanese Language ability in a press trip to Yokohama, Japan with Tein suspension. Post college years I enrolled in the JET Program, available through the Japanese Embassy, where native English speakers team with Japanese teachers of English. Certainly was a good way to explore the country that birthed my parents. It was also a good way to explore tuning garages and write about them. That was the start actually of me writing. If James Tate (then SCC staffer) hadn't mentioned to me in an email being well written, I probably wouldn't have had the confidence to even begin to write.

Tatsu Tsuchida
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