TIA selects Bajer, Tornel Murillo as 2006 Hall of Famers

Aug. 7, 2006

Jacques Bajer, president of Tire Systems Engineering Inc., and Armando Tornel Murillo, executive president of Empresas Tornel, have been elected to the Tire Industry Hall of Fame.

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) Hall of Fame Committee also selected four "historical contributors" to the Hall. The "historical contributors" category, which was added last year, recognizes those individuals who have made significant industry contributions and have been out of the industry for at least 20 years or more.

The four historical contributors are: Giovanni Pirelli, founder of Pirelli Tyre; Jerry Shaw, editor of Tires (now Modern Tire Dealer); Charles and John Gates of International Rubber (Gates Rubber), manufacturers of the Half-Sole, a type of rubber tread cemented over worn tires that paved the way for modern day retreading; and Phil Lansdale and Don Carr, founders of 4dayTire Stores.

TIA's 2006 Friend of the Industry Award recipient is Ira Feldman, manager of the Vehicles Category Management Center with the United States Postal Service in Philadelphia, Pa. This award recognizes well-known individuals who are allies and proven supporters of the tire industry. These individuals are not part of the tire industry, but have affected it positively in some manner.

Feldman has been a strong supporter of the United States Postal Service's use of retreaded tires and continues to be instrumental in their usage.

Jacques Bajer

Bajer is president of Tire Systems Engineering in Grosse Pointe, Mich. He specializes in the design of advanced manufacturing systems for the economical mass production of tires, power transmission belts, lathe-cut seals and air springs.

The French-born engineer was an active participant in the evolution of the automotive and tire industry. His work at Ford Motor Co. from 1955 to 1970 led to the development of the tire uniformity grading machine (1962) and the low-profile tire (1964). Bajer also was a key figure in the radialization of America.

Bajer has many patents on tire production and design. He realized that American automobiles would have to have both dramatic and subtle modifications to chassis, suspension, drive train, and body panels to fully utilize and appreciate all of the advantages of radial construction. To this end, he developed the idea of power train presence, the acoustical tuning machine technique, and the virtues of suspension compliance.

His development and insistence upon true uniformity standards for tires, wheels, and manufacturing consistency have resulted in original equipment specifications that have been unchanged for nearly 40 years.

Not content to rest upon his laurels, Bajer is still advising many in the automobile and tire industry worldwide for the problems they encounter. Even now, he is at work on the development for a tire pressure monitoring system for motorcycles.

Armando Tornel Murillo

Tornel Murillo is the executive president of Empresas Tornel in Mexico. He has had a long and very successful career in the tire industry. It began in 1930 when he was sent by his father to the U.S. to study tire engineering at the former Smithers laboratory in Akron, Ohio, and rubber technology at the Vanderbuilt laboratory.

In 1933, Tornel Murillo and his father founded "Hulera El Centernario," where the first "America" and "All State" tires were produced. In 1951, Hulera Tornel started making retreading materials.

In 1970, the company started manufacturing passenger car inner tubes, and in 1972 began to produce truck, light truck and bus tires. In 1982, after a comprehensive research and development process, it launched its line of passenger radial tires.

Over the years, several of the Tornel factories were taken over by tire manufacturers, including U.S. Rubber Co., Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., and Bridgestone Corp., but after each takeover, Tornel opened another factory. At present, Hulera Tornel has five production plants and has grown from 36 workers in 1933 to a workforce of 2080 employees.

Tornel Murillo has received countless awards and commendations from various officials and organizations, including the Gold Medal "Angel Urraza" from the National Chamber of the Rubber Industry; Distinction Award from ANDELLAC (National Association of the Tire Manufacturers, Retreaders, and Retailers A.C.) for his more than 40 years of contributions to the rubber industry; medal from the Mexican Red Cross; recognition from the Mexican Rubber Group for his 60 years of uninterrupted labor into the Mexican rubber industry; and recognition from Mark Emkes, chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. for being the founder of that company in Mexico and for his outstanding work in the tire industry. His company also earned the International Diamond Star for Quality in 2004.

At the age of 97, Tornel Murillo still remains involved in the family business and is focused on the welfare of his workers and their families.

The Hall of Fame Inductions will take place on Oct. 31, 2006, in Las Vegas, Nev. They will be held during TIA's Breakfast with the President, which is scheduled from 6:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Caesars Palace Hotel Roman Ballroom.

Tickets for the event are $35 and are available online at www.tireindustry.org.

TIA's Breakfast with the President is part of the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show, which features TIA's Performance Tires & Wheels section on the trade show floor.