And the TIA Hall of Fame inductees are...
There will be four inductees into the Tire Industry Association (TIA) Hall of Fame in 2012. In addition, there are two Ed Wagner Industry Leadership Award recipients.
They will be honored at TIA's Tire Industry Honors event, which will take place on Oct. 29, one day prior to the Global Tire Expo and Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, Nev.
The Tire Industry Association says the Hall of Fame recognizes the achievements of innovators and leaders who have shaped the tire industry over the last two centuries. "By honoring the individual accomplishments of manufacturers, dealers, retreaders and suppliers, TIA celebrates the diversity and rich history of the tire industry."
Here are the TIA Hall of Fame inductees in 2012.
1. Randy Clark (pictured) has represented the tire industry on many levels throughout his long and prestigious career. A thorough businessman, Clark has been an integral leader in a multitude of successful companies such as a regional healthcare company, two publicly traded companies, and AAA of WNY.
He was chairman at Dunlop Tire North America, but his most notable accomplishment is as the current chairman and president of Dunn Tire LLC. Clark has helped the business grow to one of the largest independent tire dealerships in the country.
Dunn Tire has made strides in philanthropy as well. With Clark at the helm, Dunn Tire has led annual "Breast Cancer Awareness" campaigns, yearly holiday food drives, and notable donations to disaster relief efforts.
Clark was named “Niagara Frontier Executive of the Year” by the University at Buffalo (N.Y.) School of Management.
2. Bruce Halle opened his first tire shop 52 years ago, and Discount Tire Co. has become a shining example of success as one of the largest independent tire and wheel retailers in the world, with more than 840 locations in 23 states.
The book "Six Tires, No Plan: The Impossible Journey of the Most Inspirational Leader that (Almost) Nobody Knows," gives a thorough account of Halle’s success story.
The company is well represented outside the industry as well. Discount Tire’s No. 22 car, driven by Brad Keselowski won the Nationwide Series Championship in 2010, and its “Thank You” commercial currently holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest consecutively running commercial.
The Bruce T. Halle Scholarship has provided more than 1,300 scholarships to dependents of Discount Tire employees. The Bruce T. Halle Family Foundation has given its support to a number of organizations, including the Children First Academy, the largest school for homeless children in the country.
3. Paul Kruder got his start in the tire industry in 1953 with Firestone Tire and Rubber Co., where he represented the organization in Liberia, West Africa. In 1971, Kruder decided to fully devote himself to bettering the tire industry by establishing his own company, Computerized Information and Management Services Inc. (CIMS).
His efforts in this new enterprise soon revolutionized the tire industry by creating an easy and efficient method to register highway tires. (His company represents 80% of the manufacturers that sell tires in the United States.) He remained an active president and CEO of CIMS until his death on Jan. 2, 2009.
In addition, he also worked to actively promote and support tire dealers and manufacturers. He communicated closely with multiple industry officials to improve tire safety, training, and understanding.
4. Pete Veldman was skeptical when first approached with the idea of creating a mail-order tire company. After entering the business, he quickly saw the need for customers to acquire specialty tires easily and efficiently.
The resulting company, The Tire Rack, has remained the leader in the mail-order tire business to this day. It tests, sells and ships tires from more than 17 major manufacturers with a focus on providing the optimum in customer service and convenience.
He also was ahead of the game in implementing new marketing plans, making sure that Tire Rack was one of the first tire companies to have an online presence in 1996. Today, the website has more than 50 million viewers annually -- more than any other tire company and more than most automakers.
Veldman has taken a hands-on approach to the safety of his customers by supporting such initiatives as the "Tire Rack Street Survival" program, a national, hands-on driver education course for teens founded by the BMW CCA.
Two state executive directors are recipients of the Ed Wagner Industry Leadership Award this year.
1. Steve Akridge began his career in the tire industry at the early age of 16, working after school and Saturdays as a tire changer at a Goodyear company-owned store in Richmond, Va. Upon his graduation in 1976 from the University of Richmond, he held various positions, first with Goodyear, and then with a family owned tire and automotive shop.
Through these experiences, he learned first hand the day-to-day issues everyone in the industry faces. He also became involved with the Virginia Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (now known as the Virginia Automotive Association) as a member of its board of directors; in 1990, he became its executive director.
Under his leadership, the VAA has developed numerous beneficial membership programs. Akridge also has served as president of the Virginia Society of Association Executives, on the TIA board of directors, and as president of his local youth athletic association.
2. Reece Hester lives and works in the capitol city of Raleigh, N.C. He is a former second generation tire dealer, who co-owned Tire Supply Inc., the family’s commercial/retail/retreading dealership of 38 years before being sold.
Afterward, Hester became the executive director of the North Carolina Tire Dealers Association (NCTDA). He served on the NCTDA board of directors and as its president. He is currently on the TIA board of directors and is the liaison to the States/Provincial Group. He is a past chairman of the TIA Executives group.
Hester's responsibilities with the NCTDA include being a registered legislative lobbyist, growing the State Expo/Trade Show, and providing benefits and services supporting industry related businesses. Hester is a past president and member of the Exchange Club and serves on the Board of Human Rights at Murdoch Developmental Center.