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TIA Celebrates Industry Accomplishments of 2020

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The Tire Industry Association’s centennial gala may have been postponed, but the organization’s leaders continued their best efforts to recognize the industry’s accomplishments of 2020 during a virtual event.

Brian Rigney, outgoing president of the TIA board of directors, led the virtual honors event Nov. 2. Rigney talked about some of his own work during the year that has been headlined by COVID-19 and its effect on the industry and world economy.

He wanted TIA to continue its training programs online, and even expand the offerings with leadership training and tire sessions offered in Spanish. He appointed Russ Devens, director of safety and risk management at McCarthy Tire Service Co. Inc., to chair the training committee and lead planning of how TIA could offer its training seminars safely.

Despite the disruptions to the industry, Rigney says TIA membership “has remained steady” throughout the year as “tire dealers, retreaders and suppliers have recognized the many benefits of being a TIA member.”

Modern Tire Dealer Editor Mike Manges thanked Rigney for his work as president during the unsettling year and presented him with a portrait in appreciation.

Dan Nothdurft is taking Rigney’s place as president, and he talked about how he's been living the dream of life as a tire dealer since 1986. He and his brother own four Tires Tires Tires locations in Iowa and South Dakota.

Nothdurft mentioned others who have lived a similar dream of starting a small business and working to make it grow: Ken Langhals, the founder of K&M Tire Inc.; Bruce Halle, the late founder of Discount Tire and America’s Tire; and Billy Eordekian, president of 1-800EveryRim.

“Here’s to another 100 years in the tire industry of living the dream.”

TIA presented the Industry Achievement Award to Steve Akridge, executive director of the Virginia Automotive Association, for the group’s work to successfully ward off the elimination of the state’s annual vehicle inspection program.

Michelin North America Inc.’s Cara Cornelius announced the three college students who were presented with 2020 Michelin/TIA scholarships. The awards are given to children or grandchildren of those working in tire dealerships. The winners for 2020 are:

  • Kate Burnett, from Tire Rack Inc. in South Bend, Ind., received a $1,625 scholarship to study environmental sustainability at Indiana University. Her father, Bruce Burnett, works for Tire Rack.
  • Brendan McLernan from McCarthy Tire Service received a $1,625 scholarship to study engineering at Penn State University. His father works for the tire dealership in Philadelphia.
  • Charles-Trey Weltens of Pilger’s Tire & Auto Center in College Station, Texas received a $3,000 scholarship to study mechanical engineering at Rice University. His father works for Pilger's Tire.

Roy Littlefield, CEO of TIA, outlined some of the key issues the association has focused on and will continue to focus on next year: tire registration, infrastructure spending, the estate tax, right to repair laws, and tire recycling/crumb rubber.

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