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Training, Recruitment Are Hot Topics at TIA OTR Tire Conference

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"The OTR Tire Conference is unique," Tire Industry Association President Mason Hess told attendees. "It's been a must-attend event for many years." Around 500 OTR tire segment professionals are attending this week's OTR Tire Conference in Miramar Beach. Fla.

Employee training, recruitment and economic issues were hot topics of discussion at this year’s Tire Industry Association (TIA) OTR Tire Conference in Miramar Beach, Fla.

“This conference has become a must-attend event for the global OTR tire industry,” TIA CEO Dick Gust told attendees yesterday.

Nearly 500 attendees representing 10 countries and 37 states are attending the event, which runs through Feb. 26.

TIA President Mason Hess told attendees that the association has approved funding to update its popular Earthmover Tire Service (ETS)  training program “so we can make sure (dealers) have access to the best training in the world. 

“The ETS program is very important. For many years, it’s been the standard.”

TIA also is implementing “micro-learning” programs that will appeal to younger employees in the OTR segment. “People don’t learn like our grandfathers did,” Hess noted.

He urged OTR tire dealers to not allow the current labor shortage to pull resources and focus away from employee training. “Make sure you’re looking at your people and making sure you’re not bypassing training.”

Economic snapshot

Kevin Rohlwing, TIA’s senior vice president of training, provided an economic forecast for the United States as conference attendees look ahead to the rest of 2022 and beyond.

Drilling down into projections for various commodities, he noted that coal “is still a big driver of industries in mining.”

However, “there are a lot of coal-powered electricity plants going off-line over the next five to 10 years” in the U.S.

Gold and silver prices are expected to decrease “moderately” over the next five years.

“There are projections for some revenue growth in iron ore,” he said.

Addressing recently passed infrastructure legislation, Rohlwing cautioned that “we’re not really going to see new (infrastructure projects) until 2024. There’s a big time gap between approving the money and moving stone and dirt.”

And if the labor shortage extends into 2023, 2024 and even 2025, “we may have all these roads and bridges to build, but nobody to build them.”

Addressing attendees from her office in Toronto, Ontario, Carol Hochu, president and CEO of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, provided an overview of Canada’s expected economy in 2022.

“Supply chain issues and returning demand are leading to inflation issues,” she said.

However, demand for large OTR tires is “trending at a compound annual growth rate of 5.3%.”

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