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TANA/ITRA sets 12-issue agenda for unified association

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The Tire Association of North America (TANA) and the International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA) will focus on 12 areas while and after the groups merge into one organization on July 1.

They include:

1. Training and education. TANA/ITRA is developing two training initiatives, including an industry certification program, that will be unveiled during late 2002.

2. Trade shows and conferences. The association is planning four major events during the coming year, including a scrap tire conference in Ocean City, Md., Sept. 26-28; the 2002 International Tire Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., Nov. 5-8; the OTR Tire Conference, Feb. 20-22, 2003; and the World Tire Expo in Louisville, Ky., March 27-29, 2003.

3. Government affairs. "The joint organization is responding aggressively to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) requests for comments, and, most recently, standing up for retreaders," says ITRA President Tom Raben. (NHTSA recently announced it will start testing medium truck tire retreads this spring.)

4. Public advocacy. "Our industry must continue to educate consumers about proper tire maintenance and the performance capabilities of tires," says TANA President Steve Disney.

5. Work with other associations. The joint group has vowed to work closely with state, regional and provincial tire dealer associations, plus industry organizations like The Tire Retread Information Bureau, the Tread Rubber and Tire Repair Materials Manufacturers Group and others.

6. Information services. Eight TANA/ITRA publications will be available to members before July 1 and a joint Web site is under construction.

7. Membership. TANA/ITRA officials are finishing the combined association's dues structure and membership plans.

8. Strategic planning. The joint association's first-ever strategic plan that will chart its goals will be completed before summer's end.

9. Internal operations. The merger of internal operations at TANA's Reston, Va., office and ITRA's Louisville, Ky., office has been finished. "Publications, graphic design, fulfillment training and many other services will be done in Louisville," says Ross Kogel, TANA and ITRA acting director. "Finance, administration, government affairs and trade shows are being executed from the Reston office."

10. Governance. Bylaws for the new association have been written and will be submitted to the joint board of directors at their June meeting for approval.

11. Foundations. TANA/ITRA's charitable foundation dedicated to raising funds for training efforts will continue.

12. Naming. "The next big question is the (combined association's) name," says Disney. "We plan to have that announced very soon." The new name will reflect the joint group's inclusive nature and will represent the whole industry, Disney says.

"We are absolutely committed" to TANA and ITRA's merger, says Raben. "We have made this merger our top priority. The presidents and board members have pledged their full time and energy to make this work. We are doing precisely that, and it's going very well."

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