Ed Wagner was a man’s man at a time his industry needed him

Bob Ulrich
Posted on September 9, 2011
August 1959, Modern Tire Dealer

August 1959, Modern Tire Dealer

"We have lost a giant in our industry," says Harvey Brodsky, managing director of the Retread Tire Association.

"The Retread Industry lost one of its icons," adds David Stevens, managing director of the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau.

They couldn't be more right. The death of Ed Wagner, former managing director of the American Retreaders Association (ARA), hit a lot of us hard. It also, in my opinion, officially marks the end of an era, because he was still representing the industry with professionalism and loyalty well into the last decade.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, he was one of several strong personalities who worked in the public eye and behind the scenes to make our industry associations strong. Phil Friedlander, former executive vice president of the former National Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association (NTDRA), and the late Bernie Kovach, publisher and president of Modern Tire Dealer, also come to mind.

These "Mad Men" got things done, and were 100% behind the independent tire dealer and retreader. But as they always do, times change. The ARA is no more. It morphed into the International Tire & Rubber Association, then merged with what is now the Tire Industry Association. There were also financial difficulties along the way. The role of tire manufacturers and suppliers in association policy expanded as well.

None of this is necessarily good or bad. It’s just how associations and businesses evolve as times change.

That doesn’t mean I don’t miss the good old days. Godspeed, Ed.

Related Topics: David Stevens, Ed Wagner, Harvey Brodsky, obituary, retreading, RTA, TRIB

Bob Ulrich Editor
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