Harvey Brodsky Made a Lasting Impression on Retreading, the Tire Industry and Me

Bob Ulrich
Posted on September 23, 2017
Harvey Brodsky spoke at the ARA Show in 1982.
Harvey Brodsky spoke at the ARA Show in 1982.

I first met Harvey Brodsky at the 1985 National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association convention in Atlanta. The introduction went like this.

“Hi, Mr. Brodsky. I’m Bob Ulrich, assistant editor of Modern Tire Dealer.”

“It’s Harvey, Bob. You are no less important than anyone else in this industry. You should call people by their first names.”

And with that, I not only started a 32-year friendship, but also learned a lesson I still follow to this day.

I write this upon hearing of the death of Harvey, who died of complications from lung cancer on Sept. 17 at the age of 81. With all the technology we have, news, at least bad news, does not always travel fast.

He was an industry icon, truly the “Voice of Retreading” for 28 years as managing director of the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau, or TRIB. He was a tireless conference speaker, exhibitor, promoter of retreading and refuter of negative publicity of the retreading industry. He received the American Retreaders Association Industry Leadership Award in 1991, only nine years into his role with TRIB.

At his induction into the International Tire & Rubber Association Hall of Fame in 2000, he once again shared a life lesson: “If you find something you love to do, you never have to work a day in your life.”

I’m sure that for most of his adult life, Harvey did not work.

He formed the Retread Tire Association in 2010. Because of severe back problems suffered in an accident, he passed the managing director’s position to Jeffrey Parks in December 2016. He was diagnosed with lung cancer last March.

“We lose… a champion of life itself, and of the world of business, a scholar on all topics regarding the tire, retread and rubber industries,” says Parks. “We lose a man who did business with good spirit, on a handshake, without remorse or greed. We lose a reliable ally, who asked for nothing in return but our friendship and commitment to the same causes that would help us all thrive.

“We lose a man who always looked for the best in people and himself. His energy, enthusiasm and integrity were unquestionable, and his accumulated knowledge of the industry was gleaned from the thousands of friends and associates he made during his life and career.”

I was lucky to be one of those friends. I say the same about his wife, Rona Halpern, the love of his life. She has been battling breast cancer for 15 years.

Rona set up a gofundme account to help pay for Harvey’s medical bills. That account can be reached at:

https://www.gofundme.com/harvey-brodskys-medical-fund.

I’ll leave you with this. In 1991, I met new Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Chairman and CEO Stan Gault at the company’s headquarters in Akron, Ohio, as we sat down to lunch.

“Hi, Stan. I’m Bob Ulrich, senior editor of Modern Tire Dealer magazine.” He followed up with the normal pleasantries.

After lunch and after Gault had left, one of the Goodyear executives at the table said, “I can’t believe you called him Stan! Even I have only referred to him as Mr. Gault!”

At the time, I thought of Harvey and smiled. I am doing the same thing right now, although the moment is bittersweet.

Related Topics: ARA, Hall of Fame, Harvey Brodsky, ITRA, obituary, RTA, Stan Gault, TRIB

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 5 )
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  • Dan Zielinski

     | about 12 months ago

    A very thoughtful tribute, Bob.

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