TANA and ITRA agree to merge into one group

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The Tire Association of North America (TANA) and The International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA) have agreed to merge into a single national association "representing all sectors of the tire industry," effective July 1, 2002.

ITRA's board of directors unanimously accepted the merger plan at their Oct. 11 meeting; TANA's board of directors followed suit at their meeting yesterday.

Both TANA and ITRA will conduct membership votes this December, and -- as mandated by non-profit law -- if two-thirds of the groups' respective memberships approve the merger plan, it will go through.

"The merger allows the combined Association to eliminate the duplication of services between TANA and ITRA, and to streamline the financial structure of the tire industry's non-profit efforts," says ITRA President Tom Raben.

TANA and ITRA board members approved the following points as part of the merger plan for the new organization, which has not been named yet:

* The joint association's initial board of directors will consist of all current TANA and ITRA board members. It will eventually consist of 36 members, who will be elected by the new organization's membership;

* TANA and ITRA's executive committees will be combined into a new joint executive committee with equal representation from both associations. Incoming TANA President Steve Disney will be the new organization's first president from July 1, 2002, to Nov. 4, 2002, followed by Raben, whose term will last one year. The next president of the new group will be current TANA Vice President Larry Morgan, followed by current ITRA Vice President Dick Gust. Current TANA Executive Vice President Ross Kogel Jr. will serve as executive vice president of the combined association;

* The new group's locations will be Reston, Va., TANA's current headquarters, and Louisville, Ky., the site of ITRA's home office;

* The new organization will continue The International Tire Expo in late October or early November each year, when executive committee and board of directors meetings will take place;

* The organization also will continue to offer the current World ITRA Expo which focuses on the commercial tire, retread and recycling segments of the industry. The event will be held in the spring on an every-other-year basis, as previously announced, with the next show March 27-29, 2003, in Louisville;

* The organization will continue to offer an OTR Tire Conference each February, as well as regional tire and rubber recycling conferences, plus regional tire service technician training and certification programs throughout the year;

* TANA and ITRA's respective Hall of Fame industry awards and other traditions will be preserved at the appropriate association events under the banner of the combined association.

TANA and ITRA officials are launching a marketing and public relations campaign to encourage their members to vote for the merger.

The merger plan has been specifically crafted to maintain the "cultures" of each group, they add.

"This is simply a great development for the tire industry," says TANA President Nick Hodel.

The announcement was made late this morning at The International Tire Expo in Las Vegas, Nev.

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