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Ohio Tire Dealers Honor Ulrich With Bill Floyd Award

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Former MTD Editor Bob Ulrich recently received the William Floyd Distinguished Service Award.

As we approach the start of a new year, I would be remiss if I failed to mention a very special honor that was recently bestowed on a member of the extended MTD family.

The Ohio Tire & Automotive Association (OTAA) recently recognized former MTD Editor Bob Ulrich for his 30-plus years of service to our industry with the William Floyd Distinguished Service Award.

Bob, who retired from MTD in January 2020, was characteristically modest when he informed me that he had received the award. When I mentioned that I wanted to write about it in this blog, he said, "You don't have to."

But I think it's important to celebrate moments and things like this - and more importantly, to celebrate those people who helped pave the way for what we, as an industry, enjoy today.

Many of our readers know Bob, but I would guess that probably fewer are aware of Bill Floyd, who was the longtime executive director of the Northeast Ohio Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (NEOTDRA), which was a subsidiary - I guess you could say  - of the old Ohio Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (OTDRA), now known as the OTAA. (He also served in leadership positions with the OTDRA.) 

Bill, whose long career in the tire industry began with positions at Seiberling Rubber Co. and Polson Rubber Co., was the driving force behind the NEOTDRA, along with his wife of nearly 60 years, Joan Floyd. (Joan passed away in 2009. Bill passed away five years later.)

I remember first meeting Bill and Joan in December 1997 during the NEOTDRA's annual holiday banquet, which took place inside a mammoth restaurant near downtown Akron called Tangier, a place someone once described as "The Rubber City's" answer to The Sands or The Dunes of Rat Pack-era Vegas.

I had started at MTD a few weeks earlier. Bob, MTD's senior editor at the time, let me tag along to the event, which was attended by a "who's who" of the Akron/Cleveland/Canton tire market. There were representatives from downtown Cleveland's Safeway Tire, Akron's Allied Auto, Canton Bandag, North Gateway Tire, Ziegler Tire and other dealerships.

It was quite a scene, and Bill and Joan kept it running smoothly in their usual classy - yet down-to-earth - manner. They were truly a team and the association's foundation. More importantly, they were great people. And I know they held Bob in the highest esteem.

I think it's super that the OTAA continues to honor Bill - really, both Bill and Joan - with the Distinguished Service Award. And I also think it's great that the OTAA chose Bob for this neat accolade.

On behalf of the MTD team, congrats, Bob - you deserve it!

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