The 58th Tire Industry Association (TIA) Off-The-Road (OTR) Tire Conference held in Puerto Rico on Feb. 20-23, 2013, exceeded 500 attendees, which included dozens of first-time registrants, with representation from 33 states and 18 countries. The number of international attendees was the highest in conference history.
"It was great to see delegates from as far away as Australia, Russia and China. The global networking opportunities at the OTR Conference continue to grow each year," says TIA executive vice president Roy Littlefield.
On the first day of the conference, Amit Agarwal with Bridgestone Commercial Solutions reported 2012 industry numbers and discussed his views on the state of the industry.
His presentation was followed by the Tire Manufacturers Panel which included senior executives from Michelin, Bridgestone, Yokohama and Double Coin, moderated by Tire Review Editor, Jim Smith. The morning wrapped up with a motivational and entertaining talk by Professional Golfer Juan Antonio "Chi Chi" Rodriquez.
Day two included a session on the use of tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) in the mining industry presented by Trevor Potter with Schrader International Inc. and the Keynote Presentation given by Bruce Besancon with Michelin North America Inc., who presented 10 key trends for the industry in 2013.
Attendees also heard from seven of the largest OTR retreaders who provided a brief look at their companies and how they are using new technology to improve the quality and performance of their products.
The conference wrapped up on day three with a legislative update from Littlefield, who gave his prospective on how the political turmoil of the last few years might affect the tire industry and a presentation from Tire Stewardship Manitoba Executive Director, Brett Eckstein, on how the Canadian province of Manitoba solved the tire recycling problem.
Additionally, TIA conducted political action committee (TirePAC) fundraisers at the OTR Conference including selling squares on the PAC Board and mulligans at the golf tournament. Two winners, TIA President Randy Groh with U.S. Autoforce and TIA board member Reece Hester with North Carolina Tire Dealers Association, donated back their winnings. Net proceeds from the fundraising activities were $3,380.
"I am happy to see that support for TirePAC fundraisers continues to grow,” said Littlefield. “TirePAC helps to ensure that the tire industry is well-represented in the halls of power."
The 2014 OTR Conference will take place Feb. 19-22 at the Marco Island Marriott Resort & Golf Club in Marco Island, Fla. Interested attendees can download a registration form at www.tireindustry.org.
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.