Purcell Tire's Chicago to retire at end of month

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OTR tire and Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. veteran Al Chicago will retire on Feb. 29 after a 45-year career. Chicago, long-time president of Purcell Tire's Western States division, tells "it's good to go out on top."

Chicago, age 66, started his career with Phoenix, Ariz.-based Western States Tire as an OTR tire changer. From there, he was promoted to an OTR sales position, then to store manager. In the 1970s, he was named vice president of Western States Tire, and in 1983, when Purcell Tire acquired the dealership, he was promoted to senior vice president. In 2001, he was named president of Purcell Tire's Western States division, a position he held until one year ago, when he decided to retire. "I wanted to give (Purcell Tire owners) Bob and Juanita (Purcell) a year's notice."

Chicago took another position with Purcell Tire, directing special projects, while Sam Ungricht moved into the president slot in January 2007.

During retirement, Chicago plans to spend time with his family, while golfing and fishing.

"My heart has always been in OTR," he says. "It's still a people industry -- people talking to people. The customer doesn't come to you. You go out to the mines and quarries and build (relationships) with your customers. It's been a good run."

Chicago adds he plans to stay busy right up until Feb. 29. He will moderate two tire manufacturer panel discussions later this month at the Tire Industry Association's 2008 OTR Tire Conference in Hawaii.

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