Kogel plans to leave TIA

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Ross Kogel, executive vice president of the Tire Industry Association (TIA), will resign when his contract runs out on Feb. 1, 2003. He will accept a position with Tire Wholesalers Inc., his family's business based in Troy, Mich.

"TIA supports Ross' decision," says TIA President Tom Raben. "On behalf of the executive committee and the board of directors, we wish him the best."

Kogel helmed and helped the association through its evolution from the National Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association to, first, the Tire Association of North America (TANA) and, most recently, its latest incarnation following TANA's merger with the International Tire & Rubber Association.

Kogel says it is time to put family above "the big career." In a letter to Raben, he wrote,

"I have enjoyed my tenure with the association for the last five years, learned a great deal, made many wonderful friends, and tried to return as much in time and talent as the industry gave to my family and me....

"I am privileged to have been a part of the effort to get the association headed in a new direction. I have every confidence that under your leadership it will continue its upward trajectory."

Kogel said the move to Michigan "gives me the opportunity to fulfill what is now the most important goal in my life: spending more time with family. In southeast Michigan I have 20 family members, and the opportunity to spend more time with them -– and to have Ross, my son, grow up knowing family life -– is an opportunity that is impossible to pass."

Under Kogel's leadership, the association accomplished the following:

* brought a nearly insolvent organization back to a solid financial standing. It ran a balanced budget every year from 1997 to 2001 after losing $1 million in 1996.

In 2000, TANA realized a 27% gain in net assets, turning a $187,337 operating profit. The following year was one of the most successful in TANA’s history: The association turned a $739,838 profit, a whopping 84% gain in net assets in one year.

* re-established a government affairs department. The association has become a "spokesperson" for tire industry businesses on Capitol Hill, and in Oct. 2000, the department achieved a major victory in narrowing criminal tire legislation. Lobbying efforts also have helped shape the TREAD Act in favor of the industry.

* merged ITRA and TANA. After decades of discussion, in October 2001 the leaders of ITRA and TANA approved a plan of merger, resulting in a single international association representing all sectors of the tire industry.

* established a successful foundation. Through a series of successful and creative strategies, more than $800,000 was raised for the new TIA Foundation in the last 12 months. These funds will be used to create industry training and education programs that will assist all businesses in the tire industry.

Under Kogel's guidance, TIA also submitted critical positions to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding pending legislation; joined efforts with the Rubber Manufacturers Association to promote the group's National Tire Safety Week campaign; restructured and launched eight publications; streamlined internal operations; and finalized its membership and strategic plans.

"I am particularly grateful to the members of the board of directors, especially Tom Wright, who was president at the time I was appointed and -- later as treasurer -- helped lead the association to the significant financial gains noted above," wrote Kogel. "Also, Nick Hodel, Steve Disney, and you (Tom Raben) led the exhausting and gratifying work of making the merger a reality.

"Despite all of the achievements of the association and the board of directors, it is important to mention there were times when we (and specifically me) made mistakes, as is inevitable in any business situation, and the thoughtful and supportive nature of the volunteers involved with the association made success possible. For that I am most grateful."

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