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TIA: 'The economics of keeping the Louisville facility open didn’t add up'

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Here is the official press release from the Tire Industry Association (TIA) announcing the closing of its Louisville, Ky., training facility.

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) has announced that it will consolidate all of its offices in Bowie, Md., effective February 1, 2004. Operations in the Kentucky facility will be relocated and the building will be put up for sale. The decision comes after months of in-depth analysis into the cost-effectiveness of operating two offices in different states.

"Like any business, we are forced to take a serious look at our operating expenses, and the board felt that the economics of keeping the Louisville facility open didn’t add up," remarked Larry Morgan, TIA president and chairman emeritus of Tires Plus in Clearwater, Fla. "This decision had nothing to do with the quality of work from the employees in that office. They’ve performed admirably throughout the merger and a change in the top staff position. But we had to look at things from a business perspective, and the costs of operating a facility that size could no longer be justified."

Two members of the Louisville staff, Senior Vice President of Education and Technical Services Kevin Rohlwing and Director of Training Chris Marnett, will be moving to the Maryland office.

"We’re extremely happy that Kevin and Chris have decided to relocate and move to Maryland," commented Bob Malerba, TIA’s chairman of the Training and Education Committee and president of Malerba’s Tyre Man in Meriden, Conn. "While we will definitely miss the other talented people in that office, our training and certification programs will continue to lead the industry with Kevin and Chris at the helm. Our members will not experience any interruptions in the operation of our programs."

Instructor classes scheduled for the first half of 2004 will go on as scheduled in the Louisville training center. Fall classes for the Commercial Tire Service (CTS) Instructor Program will be rescheduled. As a result of the move, all future CTS and Automotive Tire Service (ATS) Instructor classes will be conducted regionally. A complete training schedule of dates and locations will be released this summer.

The soon-to-be-renamed World Tire Expo (WTE) will still be held in downtown Louisville in April of 2005. "We feel the Louisville retread and recycling convention is fulfilling a need for the tire industry," said Dick Gust, TIA vice president and executive vice president of Lakin General in Chicago, Ill. "The decision to close the Louisville office will not have any impact on the 2005 show and we are proceeding with our plans to continue the tradition of a spring show for the commercial truck tire, retreading and recycling industries."

With all of the operations consolidated in Bowie, Md., TIA’s government relations staff will gain additional resources when working with agencies that can impact the tire industry. "Having immediate access to our top technical and training people can definitely help us on Capitol Hill," added Dr. Roy Littlefield III, TIA executive vice president. "Our government relations philosophy has always been about plugging in the expertise of our staff and board of directors. By bringing our technical and training operations to Maryland, we’ll be in a much better position to represent the interests of our members."

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