TIA finds itself 'in good standing:' As host of the last(!) International Tire Expo, tire association adds partners, board members, oh, and two hall of famers

Dec. 1, 2003

The 2004 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show will include a new area called Performance Tires & Wheels sponsored by the Tire Industry Association (TIA), which replaces the International Tire Expo (ITE) name. The section had previously been called the ITE for a number of years.

"I'm not sure if ITE meant a lot to anybody," says TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield. "I'm not sure if anyone tied ITE to TIA."

TIA officials pushed for the name change and reached a compromise with SEMA to create the new moniker, according to Littlefield.

"Being sectionalized was hurting us. We were losing people out of our section (in the south hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center). "We agreed that it was in the best interests of everyone that the whole hall be sponsored by TIA."

Everybody who currently exhibits at the convention -- including non-performance tire companies -- "will still be in the show."

Littlefield adds that TIA officials are looking at changing the name of its World Tire Expo show in Louisville, Ky., to "better reflect the target markets of that show," namely commercial tires and retreading.

Annual meeting

At the association's annual meeting, TIA Treasurer Tom Wright said the association was "in good standing" financially. The consolidated financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2003 -- and for the first quarter ended Sept. 30 -- back him up.

TIA reported net assets of $2.26 million for the fiscal year, $728,169 less than the previous year. There were four reasons for the loss:

1. Development costs of the ATS (Automotive Tire Service) Training Program.

2. Legal and accounting consolidation expenses.

3. Rebranding expenses.

4. Overall increases in administrative and operational expenses.

For the most recent quarter, TIA posted net income of $496,305. According to Littlefield, that "doesn't reflect the money we get from the trade show until the spring."

Partners in training

All 1,100 locations in the American Car Care Centers (ACCC) distribution network are members of the Tire Industry Association (TIA).

In announcing the partnership at the ITE, ACCC President and COO Len Lewin said ACCC was focused on the same thing as TIA -- independent tire dealers. In particular, TIA's Basic ATS educational program will address the training needs of its members.

"We looked at numerous options and considered developing a training program of our own," said Lewin. "We came to the conclusion that TIA offered the best overall solution."

Lewin added that some 230 ACCC locations have committed to the ATS program.

As part of the deal, ACCC locations automatically received the complete TIA membership benefit package, which includes group discounts on training programs and reference materials.

"Their three-year commitment to collective TIA membership and active participation in our ATS program says a lot about their organization," said TIA President Larry Morgan.

The partnership increases TIA's membership by 25% to more than 4,700 members.

TIA also joined forces with the Motorist Assurance Program (MAP) to form a partnership that will help TIA members fulfill some of the basic requirements of MAP accreditation.

Under the plan, TIA will incorporate MAP's passenger tire and wheel Uniform Inspection Communications Standards (UICS) -- and accompanying inspection forms -- into its "Certified Store" concept, which tentatively will become a reality next year.

The "Certified Store" is a training program for tire dealers designed to help improve the way they do business. From a marketing standpoint, it helps inform consumers that the tire and automotive service performed in the facility meets some of the most stringent requirements in the industry.

"In many ways, the Certified Store concept is intended to add value to member businesses," says Morgan. "The motoring public needs to hear a positive message about our industry, so TIA is developing a program that communicates the importance of technician training and certification.

"With the first component of the ATS program up and running, we're confident we can make a positive impact on public perception by emphasizing our commitment to education and best practices."

MAP is preparing to release its UICS as a computer database program during the first quarter of 2004.

New board members

TIA elected eight new board members at its annual meeting. They are:

* Dan Beach, Tire Alliance Group Inc.

* Tom Formanek, Stellar Industries Inc.

* Garry Heintschel, Heintschel Tire & Service Centers Inc.

* Chip Huber, Q-Fix Truck Service

* Joe Kovac, Kovac Automotive

* Larry Mullins, Brandon Tire

* Anne Evans, Tyres 2000 Ltd.

* Dick Johnson, American Tire Distributors Inc.

Johnson is chairing a new committee that will act as a liaison between TIA and state and provincial associations.

Another eight board members were re-elected: Buck Blair, Tech International; Dean Bray Jr., Bray's Recapping Service Inc.; Jimmy Crews, Tire Treads Inc.; Brett Matschke, Richlonn's Tire & Service Centers; Jim Pangle, Fountain Tire; Larry Sehman, Sehman Tire Service; Bill Short, Leininger & Short Inc.; and Terry Sparks, Sparks Commercial Tire Inc.

Sparks and Formanek are co-chairmen of the 2005 World Tire Expo in Louisville, Ky. (TIA is exploring the viability of holding the first global tire summit in conjunction with the World Tire Expo).

"One of the challenges of our board is to try to get diversity in our association (so) we have representatives of all the different elements and factions... of our entire industry," said Morgan. "That will be one of (Past President) Tom Raben's responsibilities this year when he starts to put together a nominating committee for future elections so we have representation for everybody in our industry."

Hall of Fame

TIA inducted Tom Foord and Marvin Bozarth into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame. Both candidates were chosen by TIA's Hall of Fame Selection Committee "for their achievements and leadership that have helped shaped the tire and transportation industries."

Foord is founder and president of Kal Tire, a 113-store tire chain based in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. Kal Tire is the fifth largest independent tire dealer in North America, and the largest in Canada based on number of outlets.

Kal Tire also has 50 associate dealers, 15 retread plants, five distribution centers, a subsidiary operation in Chile and associated operations in Ontario. Sales exceeded $260 million last year.

Foord started the company in 1953. Kal Tire serves all tire market segments, including passenger and light truck, commercial truck, earthmover, agricultural, and underground and open pit mining.

Under Foord's leadership, Kal Tire was the first dealer in Western Canada to:

* use service trucks to make runs to customer sites;

* aggressively use credit as a means of gaining customers and increasing sales;

* invest in a distribution system to provide stores with a source for certain supplies of product at terms that allowed them to sell at solid margins;

* offer employees a defined training program and career path;

* offer employees 50% of store profits.

Foord also helped found the Western Canada Tire Dealers Association, and has been a dealer counsel member for various manufacturers.

"I've often been asked, 'What is it that makes Kal Tire so special?' Of course... first and foremost it's our people, but it's also a certain way of doing business and has not really changed over the past 50 years," said Foord.

"Our number one aim is to provide customers with the level of quality and value of both service and products that exceed their expectations and exceed what's available from the competition."

Bozarth, TIA's senior technical consultant, has been a part of the tire industry since 1958, when he began a seven-year stint as plant manager of the Missouri Farmers Association Oil Co. In 1965, he hired on with Community Tire Co. in St. Louis, Mo., where he served as general manager of the Retread Division.

In 1970 he joined Purcell Tire Co. in Potosi, Mo., where he served as plant manager for five years and vice president of manufacturing for 15 years.

In 1990, Bozarth accepted the position of technical director of the former American Retreaders Association (ARA) in Louisville, Ky. His first major assignment was overseeing the design and construction of the organization's state-of-the-art headquarters and training center. He was promoted to executive director in 1991.

During his tenure, he served as editor of the Tire Retreading/Repair Journal and managed the organization's name change transition from ARA to the International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA).

Bozarth resigned his position in 2002 when ITRA merged with the Tire Association of North America.

Bozarth served on the American Society for Testing and Materials F9 Committee and was a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers on the Off-the-Road Tire & Rim Committee. He was a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers J2014 Committee for Tactical Military Tires and a board member of the Tire Retread Information Bureau.

He is past chairman of the Retread Industry Government Advisory Council and a past member of the ITRA Advisory Council.

In 1991, he received the ITRA Industry Recognition Award.

In addition to serving as senior technical consultant for TIA, he operates Bozarth Tire Industry Consultants LLC. Its services include tire and wheel failure analysis, expert witness testimony, equipment evaluation, plant surveys, troubleshooting, plant analysis, fleet surveys and more.