You would think handing over the reins of the presidency of the Tire Industry Association (TIA) would be accompanied with a sigh of relief and a sensation that the weight of the responsibility has now been lifted from your shoulders. You can now sit back and relax.
Glen Nicholson doesn’t see it that way.
“Working with TIA certainly required plenty of overtime, but it was well worth every minute and I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve as TIA president,” he says. “It was truly a pleasure spending the extra hours working with fellow board members, the TIA staff and others in the industry to help better our industry.
“I don’t anticipate any extra free time in the year ahead and am looking forward to continuing to serve as past president of the association.”
As Tom Formanek, regional sales manager for Stellar Industries Inc., takes over the top TIA job (see article on page 84), we asked Nicholson for his thoughts on the past year.
MTD: As TIA president, you planned to “show the industry how effectively tire dealers and tire manufacturers can work together for a common goal.” What are some instances where that philosophy proved successful?
On many issues, tire dealers and manufacturers are in agreement and this has been seen with used tire legislation introduced and passed on the state level. TIA and the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) both recognize the need to regulate unsafe used tires. In working together, tire dealers and manufacturers were able to support legislation on used tires that passed in Colorado in 2014 and since then we have partnered on supported legislation introduced in a variety of other states. We have active bills now in New Jersey and in Ohio. We expected committee action, at least, on both in September 2016. On both of these bills, tire dealers and manufacturers testified in support. Speaking in one voice is a powerful tool when our industry is able to do so.
MTD: As incoming TIA president, you were looking forward to working with TIA’s training personnel. What advances to TIA’s training came about during your year?
We started off the year by releasing the updated Certified Commercial Tire Service (CTS) Program. This was a huge undertaking from the production of the new information last year to the printing and distribution of the materials this year. It’s a major investment in our most popular program and the response from our members has been outstanding. At the same time, we are updating our Certified Automotive Tire Service (ATS) Program this year for release in 2017. We are also in the final stages of development for Certified Earthmover Tire Service (ETS) and expect to release it before the end of the year. Our certification programs represent the highest level of education in the tire service industry so it’s important that we keep the content up-to-date. It’s been a busy year for our training department and we are fortunate to have a great team of industry experts and professionals guiding our training efforts.
MTD: How did your experience in retail training help you in your year as TIA’s president?
My experience in organizational management definitely helped me in my role as president. The skills used in my professional life certainly translate to effectively leading an international trade association. Time management was also a critical skill needed in this role in order to manage my responsibilities with TBC Corp. simultaneously with the duties of serving the industry as TIA president.
MTD: What advance in TIA’s government affairs are you most proud of now that your term is ending?
One of the things I am most proud of is the tremendous grassroots efforts support we received from the membership over the course of my term. The membership was quick to act and when called upon they would write letters to their elected officials, make phone calls, and many even traveled to Washington for meetings on the Hill. At the beginning of my term, we launched a petition to combat pending legislation and, within a matter of weeks, thousands of signatures had been generated from within the membership. TIA now has a more established database that better tracks which members have personal contacts with elected officials. This has helped strengthen lobbying efforts for the association on the grassroots and local levels. In a political system where money dominates, TIA has relied on strength in numbers, and a persistent membership. I am most proud of how the membership responded to challenges we faced in the last year and I am optimistic they will continue to remain involved politically moving forward.
MTD: What assistance did outgoing president Freda Pratt-Boyer give you as incoming president? And how are her “Women in the Industry” programs doing?
I think what I got most from Freda did not come directly in the form of advice, but from observing her character and passion for the job during her tenure on the board. She never let her personal agenda come in front of what was best for the industry and for TIA during her service to the board.
She selflessly gave an incredible amount of her time and efforts to help TIA achieve new levels of greatness and I have tried to remember and embody that in every effort I made as president of TIA. Freda did an outstanding job as TIA president and really made her mark with promoting retreading and women in the industry.
Her Women in the Industry program is continuing with another women’s-only Automotive Tire Service (ATS) class that was held in October in Denver. The class was a tremendous success last year and we received excellent feedback from the attendees and we are confident that this year will be the same.
MTD: When your year is over, what do you hope to have accomplished? What will your legacy be?
During my presidency, we worked to try and get some of the larger independent dealers and large chains more into the fold of TIA and our government affairs efforts and formed the TIA Advisory Council.
MTD: What advice do you have for incoming President Tom Formanek?
I have had the pleasure of working with Tom on the TIA board for the past few years and know that he is 100% prepared to take on the responsibility of his role as president. Tom is unique in his experience as he has had an extremely long tenure on the board, having served on the board of TIA’s predecessors. In total, he has over 20 years of board experience so he will know exactly what needs to be done and I look forward to supporting him in any way that I can.