The late Robert J. Sullivan, founder of Sullivan Tire Co. Inc., and Roland Lesieur, co-owner of Maynard & Lesieur Inc., will be the first two inductees into the New England Tire & Service Association (NETSA) Hall of Fame.
The ceremony will be held Saturday, April 12, at the NETSA Trade Show and Convention at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.
Beginning in 1955, Sullivan built Sullivan Tire & Auto Service from the ground up with a simple motto: Treat everyone -- customers and fellow employees -- as you would a member of your family.
More than fifty years later, family-owned Sullivan Tire has grown to become a successful, large-scale automotive business with 75 wholesale, commercial, and retail outlets and 830 employees throughout New England.
"It's been a long and rewarding journey for our family, and it's an honor to see my father recognized as an industry leader by NETSA," says Paul Sullivan, vice president of marketing and one of Bob Sullivan's 10 children.
"His business model was built on people, and for this reason we have thrived through the emergence of mass merchandisers, the computerization of the automobile, and, sadly, the passing of Bob Sullivan himself in 1992. Despite these challenges, Sullivan Tire has continued to prosper without ever losing the down-home ethics my father embodied."
Lesieur, 79, began working part-time for his father, Leo, as a ninth grader in 1942. He joined the family business full-time in 1953.
This year, Maynard & Lesieur will celebrate its 80th birthday. In addition to Roland, sons Steve, Larry and Mark work in the business full-time, while daughter Cheryl works part-time.
Other family members, including grandchildren, also work in the business, which includes a subsidiary, Wholesale Tires Inc.
"I love the tire business," says Lesieur, who has worked with the New England and national tire dealer associations for 40 years. "I've enjoyed the people I've worked with over the years. I'm 79 and I'm working... I'd be lost at home!"
NETSA Hall of Fame nominees must have been active in the tire and/or vehicle service industry in New England for at least 20 years. They also must have distinguished themselves as reputable and honored leaders in the industry and the community.