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Tire associations agree to merge: TANA, ITRA settle on succession plan first

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Tire associations agree to merge: TANA, ITRA settle on succession plan first

"TANA and ITRA are coming together, finally," said Nick Hodel, the Tire Association of North America's outgoing president, at a press conference held during the International Tire Expo last month. "We've been trying to do this for years and years and years. I want to thank you for your patience.

"It's not a TANA thing or an ITRA thing," said Hodel, flanked by Tom Raben, president of the International Tire & Rubber Association. "It's a 'we' thing."

Steve Disney, on right in photo, vice president of Disney Tire & Rubber Co. in Louisville, Ky., will be the new organization's first president from July 1, 2002, to Nov. 4, 2002. Raben (on the left) will take over for one year after that, followed by current TANA Vice President Larry Morgan, CEO of Morgan Tire & Auto Inc. in Clearwater, Fla. Current ITRA Vice President Dick Gust, executive vice president of Lakin General Corp., will follow in November 2004.

Raben said ITRA wanted to make sure its members would be represented in the new organization before merging. "It's just a great day for our industry."

The new association will begin operating on July 1, 2002. ITRA's board of directors unanimously accepted the merger plan at its Oct. 11 meeting; TANA's board followed suit at the International Tire Expo in Las Vegas.

The combined membership totals approximately 5,000. An estimated 300 of those overlap.

Two-thirds of the voting members from both organizations still have to approve the merger. TANA Executive Vice President Ross Kogel says he sent out a "plan of consolidation" along with ballots to his members. ITRA's members will vote by proxy at the December membership meeting.

TANA and ITRA board members approved the following points as part of the merger plan for the new organization:

* The joint association's initial board of directors will consist of all current TANA and ITRA board members. It eventually will consist of 36 members who will be elected by the new organization's membership.

* TANA and ITRA's executive committees will be combined into a new joint executive committee with equal representation from both associations.

* Kogel will serve as executive vice president of the combined association. Last May, Marvin Bozarth, executive director of ITRA, announced his retirement, effective at the end of the year.

* The organization will continue to offer an OTR Tire Conference each February, as well as regional tire and rubber recycling conferences and regional tire service technician training and certification programs throughout the year.

* The new group will have two locations: Reston, Va., TANA's current headquarters, and Louisville, Ky., the site of ITRA's home office. Whether that eventually changes or not will be up to the new board of directors.

* ITRA's and TANA's respective Halls of Fame will be preserved, as will other traditions.

The organization is expected to be renamed, although that is a moot point to Hodel, CEO of Northwest Tire Factory based in Portland, Ore. "Whether it's called TANA/ITRA, ITRA/TANA, a new name, we don't care. We're going to be together."

One organization, two shows: Board ultimately will decide how many

At the press conference announcing the merger TANA and ITRA, Joe Kilcoyne, vice president of sales and marketing for Bandamatic System Inc., said suppliers were interested in a combined show, and asked if this was on the agenda.

"We've discussed that and will discuss that further, but for now I would have to say no," said Hodel, citing contractual obligations as one obstacle. It will be board-member driven, he added.

Raben said ITRA's World Tire Expo, which is held on an every-other-year basis, serves a purpose. "As it stands right now, we're planning to preserve that show."

The Specialty Equipment Market Association, which runs TANA's International Tire Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., also will run ITRA's convention and trade show.

The next World Tire Expo will be held at the Kentucky Convention Bureau in downtown Louisville, Ky., March 27-29, 2003. ITRA is contractually obligated to hold the show only through 2003.

The original Retreaders & Vulcanizers Conference, hosted by ITRA's forerunner, the Central States Retreaders Association, was first held in Louisville in 1958. TANA's first trade show, hosted by the National Tire Dealers' Association, was held in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1921.

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