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Inspiration and Empowerment

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Inspiration and Empowerment

Now that her year is over as president of the Tire Industry Association (TIA), Freda Pratt-Boyer tells MTD, “I have had many great memories and it has been an incredible experience. I really enjoyed meeting people from all segments of our industry and the respect given to me as a female president was wonderful.”

High on Pratt-Boyer’s agenda as president was promoting women in the industry. As a result, TIA recently held its first Automotive Tire Service (ATS) training course specifically for female tire professionals.

“Although TIA holds tire technician training classes throughout the year, they have never held one for women only and I felt it was important to do so,” Pratt-Boyer says. “The more we can make women in the industry aware of the opportunities and help them to advance their careers, the stronger the industry will be. “

There also will be seminars and panel discussions at this year’s Global Tire Expo presented by and geared toward female industry professionals. “We are thrilled to be working with the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Businesswomen’s Network on a joint education session for the SEMA Show/Global Tire Expo,” says Pratt-Boyer. She will be one of the panelists for the session “Women Driven: Women in Business – Shattering the Glass Ceiling.” The pre-registration numbers for the session have been very strong, Pratt-Boyer notes, “and we hope that attendees will leave feeling inspired and empowered.”

Also during her year as president, the first TIA Federal Lobby Day was held. “TIA’s Federal Lobby Day was a very successful event. TIA members gathered in Washington, D.C., to discuss transportation funding proposals with members of Congress and their staffs. The timing could not have been better with the President proposing his budget and highway funding scheduled to run out in a few months.

“We heard from a number of speakers throughout the day including former Congressman Al Wynn (D-Md.), Congressman John Delaney (D-Md.) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)

“Attendees also took part in one-on-one robin educational and introductory sessions with key Hill staffers from the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee,” she reports. “In total, TIA members collectively made contact with 22 Congressional offices, sharing our views, positions and concerns. At the end of the day, we joined other automotive-related groups in hosting a reception for members of the 114th Congress and their staff.

“With so many small business issues on the table for 2015, it was important to share our positions with members of Congress. We saw the event as a great success and hope to build off its momentum for the future. We plan to hold the next lobby day in early 2017 for the 115th Congress.”

Pratt-Boyer also wanted to put increased emphasis on retreading. Her work has lead to the first Global Retread Symposium to be held during this year’s Global Tire Expo.

“We are excited to partner with the Tire Retread and Repair Information Bureau (TRIB) on the symposium,” she says. “We have lined up speakers including David Stevens, TRIB; Brian Hayes, Purcell Tire & Rubber Co.; Ruud Spuijbroek, BIPAVER; Salvador Pérez Lucena, Grupo Soledad; and Aldo Bastos, ALARNEU. Marvin Bozath, TIA senior technical consultant, will act as moderator.

“We will be hearing about the current state of the retread markets in the U.S., Europe and Latin America and sharing technological advancements, best practices, and operational efficiencies.”

Legislative issues

Here are Pratt-Boyer’s thoughts on key legislative issues that ranked highest on the association’s radar when she became president of TIA last November.

The federal highway bill

“The federal highway bill remains a top priority for the association. Even more so with tire registration language being added to highway bills.

“In my presidency, I saw the highway trust fund receive two short term extensions without a viable solution offered for long-term funding.

“After 34 short-term extensions, we are still far from a solution. This issue will remain one until a long-term bill is passed.

“We continue to support proposals that do not directly influence our industry and that can viably fund transportation for years to come.”

Repeal of the estate tax

“I was so pleased that during my presidency we were able to get a House vote on full estate tax repeal. This was the first time in 10 years that a vote was held and we were thrilled that it overwhelmingly passed 240-179.

“The estate tax remains a big issue for family-owned businesses in the tire industry and we will continue to make this a legislative priority.

“TIA will continue to push the Senate to vote on the bill.”

Elimination of the last in, first out (LIFO) inventory method

“As president I helped to inform members of Congress on the importance of the LIFO system. TIA remains active in the Save LIFO coalition.

Congressman Roger Williams (TX-R-25) introduced a concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 69) which aims at expressing that any reform or repeal of the LIFO method for accounting for inventories would cause damage to U.S. businesses. TIA supports the resolution and we will continue to educate members of Congress on its importance.”

The Affordable Care Act

“TIA supports the ‘American Job Protection Act’ (S. 305).’” notes Pratt-Boyer. (See incoming President Glen Nicholson’s update here.)

As Nicholson takes the reins, Pratt-Boyer advises him to “feel comfortable calling upon TIA’s strong board of directors and staff for support and advice. He should be ready to learn and absorb more than he ever imagined about the industry.”

She now will have more time to concentrate on her job as senior auditor for Potosi, Mo.-based Purcell Tire & Rubber Co., although she plans to “remain very active in TIA for the next year, supporting Glen in his presidency and keeping the ‘Women in the Industry’ work alive.”   ■

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