The Tire Industry Association (TIA) is adding four industry leaders to its Hall of Fame in 2016.
This year’s honorees are: Dan Brown, retired executive vice president and president of Tire Pros at American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD); Richard “Dick” Gust, president of national account sales and director of government affairs for Liberty Tire Recycling; Fredrick Kovac, the late vice president of tire technology at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.; Charles “Husky” Sherkin, the late president of United Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd.
The Hall of Fame inductions will take place at the Tire Industry Honors Awards Ceremony from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, at the Tropicana Las Vegas. The event, sponsored by Michelin North America, is open to all and complimentary tickets may be reserved at www.tireindustry.org/global-tire-expo.
Dan Brown retired June 30, 2016, as executive vice president and president of Tire Pros at ATD. In his 41 years with the company, he held many managerial positions and leadership roles that helped ATD grow from a small, regional supplier, to what now encompasses the largest independent wholesale distribution footprint in the U.S.
Brown started his career in 1975 when he joined Heafner Tire upon graduation from college. He worked his way up from route salesman through various marketing roles and in 1990, Brown became director of marketing and sales. He also served important roles following Heafner acquisitions, including president of CPW and Winston Tire Co. Brown assumed the role of ATD’s senior vice president of sales and marketing in 1997 and remained in that position until 2001.
He became president of Tire Pros in December 2010. Since assuming that role, the Tire Pros network of retail locations has more than tripled to exceed 725 stores, and has become the nation’s largest network of independent tire dealers.
Richard “Dick” Gust has nearly 40 years experience in the tire and rubber industry. With a degree in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, he began his career as a tire design engineer for Uniroyal and eventually moved into managerial positions. He then joined Sears as a product manager.
He subsequently became president of Lakin Environmental Industries, overseeing operations involving tire retreading, remanufacturing, and scrap tire processing. In this role, along with Lewis Lakin, he introduced bead-to-bead retread technology into the U.S. market. Liberty Tire Recycling acquired Lakin in 2008 and today, Gust serves as president of national account sales and director of government affairs.
Gust has devoted considerable time pursuing solutions to the nation’s scrap tire problem. When scrap tire piles became an environmental concern, he expanded scrap tire collections and began serving the collection and recycling needs of major accounts in all 50 states.
He is recognized as an authority on scrap tire environmental issues and is frequently called upon by state regulators to assist in drafting rules and regulations for managing the flow of scrap tires. Gust worked with companies to develop tire derived fuel and the use of tire derived rubber as mulch and equestrian material.
Fredrick Kovac, the late vice president of tire technology for Goodyear, worked at Goodyear from 1956 to 1995 and was responsible for a number of significant tire successes including the belted-bias tire construction process and an all-season tire.
In the early 1980s Goodyear engineers worked with the concept of twin tires to improve hydroplaning resistance. However, the concept was not commercialized. Kovac wondered if such hydroplaning attributes could be combined in one tire and the result was Goodyear’s Aquatred.
In 1978, Kovac transformed an old Akron tire plant into Goodyear’s technical center, which continues to operate today as one of the company's key global innovation centers.
Kovac earned degrees in law and rubber chemistry from The University of Akron and held 13 patents dealing primarily with fabric reinforcement of tires. Kovac died in 1996.
Charles “Husky” Sherkin began his career in the tire industry at age 15 working for his brother’s tire company, United Tire. As the business progressed he joined as part owner. Mining was booming in northern Ontario and Sherkin saw a need for improved tires and invented the concept and developed underground mining tires and forestry tires. United established a retread plant in Toronto in the 1950s and was Canada’s largest retreader of off-the-road tires.
In 1958, United became the exclusive Canadian distributor for Bridgestone, an arrangement they had for 13 years. In the 1960s and '70s, Sherkin created private brand OTR production with BF Goodrich, MDG, and General Tire in what was a pioneering move at the time.
In 1972, he established an independently owned Canadian tire manufacturing plant, and in 1985 that factory migrated to China and was one of the first Chinese-Canadian joint ventures signed that year. In 1995, United Tire merged its OTR business with Denman Tire. Sherkin stayed on for a few years before retiring in 2000. By that time he had transformed United from a small used tire trader in Toronto to a respected global player in OTR tires.
Sherkin was inducted into the Ontario Tire Dealers Association Hall of Fame in 2010. He died in 2011.
For more information about TIA, visit www.tireindustry.org.