The Tire Industry Association (TIA) began its biggest week of the year with some pre-event mingling at its annual awards ceremony on Oct. 30 in Las Vegas. TIA then paid tribute to its newest hall of famers.
Norm Gaither told TIA members at the 2017 Tire Industry Honors ceremony he “enjoyed working with retailer tire dealers for over 35 years and I’ve loved every minute of it.” Gaither is the founder of Dealer Strategic Planning Inc. (DSP), the industry's only tire-focused 20 Group. Gaither sold DSP to Bobit Business Media, the owner of Modern Tire Dealer, when he retired.
Gaither credited the support of his wife Rosemary for his success. “She deserves it more than I do” he said of the award.
The late Godfrey Cabot founded a company to produce carbon black in 1892. Today it is known as Cabot Corp., a global specialty chemicals and performance materials company serving the transportation, infrastructure, environment and consumer industries. Bart Kalkstein, senior vice president and president, reinforcement materials segment for Cabot, accepted the award on behalf of his company’s founder. He said Cabot “was a frontiersman when it was still possible to be one.”
The late William Conklin III was a president of Schenuit Tire and Rubber Group. As the first chairman of the Private Brand Tire Group, he helped to promote and expand the presence of private brand tires in the aftermarket. He also supported the efforts of TIA’s predecessor, the National Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association, to create a full-time, staffed government affairs program in the 1980s and lobbied extensively for the industry on Capitol Hill. TIA presented the award to his daughter, Cindy Conklin, and granddaughter, Casey Merbler.
TIA's Roy Littlefield IV said Conklin “worked really hard to make this private brand group work.” Among his legislative credits was the elimination of federal excise tax on passenger tires, as well as tire registration.
TIA also presented the Ed Wagner Leadership Award to Anthony Blackman and David Zielasko. Blackman is owner of Atlantic Tire and Service Inc., and Zielasko is vice president of communications for Crain Communications Inc. and publisher and editorial director of Tire Business.
Blackman also gave credit to Gaither for his guidance. “We owe you so much.” Blackman’s company will open a fourth store in Wake Forest in the next year.
Zielasko’s boss, Brennan Lafferty, from Crain Communications, offered a message via a video recording. He congratulated Zielasko on his 30-plus year career, and said, “thank you for showing us that good guys can finish first.”
The industry gathered on the eve of the 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show and Global Tire Expo, which runs Oct. 31 - Nov. 3.