The Tire Industry Association has named three inductees to its Hall of Fame in 2014 and three recipients of the Ed Wagner Industry Leadership Award.
This year’s Hall of Fame honorees are Harold Coker, founder of Coker Tire Co., Charles Cornell, the late founder of Tech International, and Juanita Purcell, executive vice president of Purcell Tire & Rubber Co.
The recipients of the Ed Wagner Industry Leadership Award are Jim Smith, editor of Tire Review, Mary Sikora, publisher/editor of Scrap Tire News, and Tom Wright Sr., owner of Wright Tire Service.
Here are the TIA Hall of Fame inductees for 2014.
Harold Coker graduated from Tennessee Tech in 1951 with a degree in chemistry. He began his career in the tire industry with B.F. Goodrich, started Coker Tire Co. in 1958 in Athens, Tenn., and moved to Chattanooga in 1961. The company is now the largest supplier for collector car tires in the world. Harold retired from active participation in Coker Tire in 2004 but serves as chairman of the board emeritus.
In 1985, he served as president of the National Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association (NTDRA) where he led the effort to get NTDRA into the government affairs arena and lobbied for bills like voluntary tire registration. He was instrumental in starting and raising money for the association’s political action committee and spoke about the importance of government affairs to state associations nationwide. Harold was chairman of the committee to establish Money Express, a credit card exclusively for tire dealers nationwide. He also ran for Congress in 1988.
Charles Cornell was working in the rubber industry when he recognized the need for better tire and tube repairs. In 1939, he began Technical Rubber Company in Johnstown, Ohio. Cornell developed a self-vulcanizing process that repaired tire and tubes in hot or cold applications, revolutionizing the tire repair industry. Cornell’s innovation led to a complete line of tire and tube repair products and set the stage for product breakthroughs that included self-vulcanizing inserts, centering radial repairs and Uni-Seal repair units.
The vision Cornell had not only launched a business, but created a legacy of generations to come. Now, 75 years after Cornell began creating tire repairs, Tech International is directed by the fourth-generation of family leaders. Still headquartered in Johnstown, Ohio, Tech has grown to become an international manufacturer and distributor of more than 10,000 tire repair, wheel service and industrial rubber products with 14 international offices and customers in 95 countries. Lauded for its export efforts, Tech International is one of only two companies to have been twice awarded the President’s “E-Star” Award for outstanding export success. He passed away in 1952.
Juanita Purcell serves as executive vice president of Purcell Tire, which was founded by her father-in-law Robert M. Purcell in 1935. In 1964, he invited his son Bob and his wife, Juanita, to help him run the three locations of Purcell Tire. In 1970, after the death of Robert Purcell, Sr., Bob and Juanita took over the company, which consisted of a retread plant in DeSoto, Mo., and three stores.
Today, the company has three corporate office locations, four retread plants, two wholesale centers, 21 commercial centers, 25 retail and nine mine locations. While Bob spent much of his time on the road, Juanita ran the operations of the company from the headquarters in Potosi. Juanita continues to lead operations. She is a mentor and leader to the female workforce in the tire industry. In 2004, Juanita and Bob were named Tire Dealer of the Year by Modern Tire Dealer.
Here are the winners recipients of the Ed Wagner Leadership Award:
Jim Smith has 30 years in the tire and automotive industries. Jim’s communications experience includes stints as a public relations manager and a variety of creative and management roles with a B2B marketing agency, and as a tire industry journalist. He edited several community newspapers in Northeast Ohio before joining Modern Tire Dealer in 1984. He also worked in brand and corporate public relations roles with Bridgestone Americas before joining Nashville’s Stumpf Bartels Advertising in 1992 as an account supervisor and later as vice president. He became editor of Tire Review in October 1999.
Mary Sikora is the founder and publisher of Scrap Tire News, a monthly publication covering the news and developments in the scrap tire recycling industry. She is also the founder and director of the Scrap Tire & Rubber Users Directory, an internationally acclaimed business reference book for the scrap tire recycling industry
Mary has been providing leadership in identifying industry trends, setting direction and facilitating solutions in the public and private tire recycling sectors for thirty years. As a principal of Recycling Research Institute, an environmental and tire recycling consulting firm, Ms. Sikora develops and leads strategic partnerships with other industry organizations and firms to represent and promote tire recycling across all segments of the industry.
Tom Wright has a career spanning over 50 years in the tire industry. After graduating from Penn State University with a degree in business administration, he moved to Minnesota and began his Firestone career. Tom became store manager and then sales manager for about 400 stores. In 1975, he opened Wright Tire Service in Anoka, Minn., a company that he still owns and operates today. Over the years, Wright Tire Service has received numerous awards including Anoka’s Top Business Award.
Tom has 38 years of continued services as a board member for NTDRA, TANA and now TIA. As an executive officer of TANA, Tom was instrumental in the merger of TANA and ITRA to form TIA. In 1979, he served as president of the North Central Tire Dealers and Suppliers Association where he worked with the legislature to help get a scrap tire resolution which helped many tire dealers survive. He still serves on their board today. Tom has been very active in strengthening the relationship between state/provincial associations and TIA.