Tom Formanek: Keeping the Course for Success

March 6, 2018

At the Tire Industry Association’s Global Tire Expo in Las Vegas, Tom Formanek ended his turn as TIA president, handing the reins to David Martin, category director of tools and supply for American Tire Distributors Inc.

When he took over the top spot at TIA, Formanek, regional sales manager for Stellar Industries Inc., told MTD he planned to “keep the course” at the association.

Formanek feels he has accomplished that goal while helping to strengthen the bond between TIA and the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), increasing membership numbers and making TIA stronger financially.

He has a long history with the association. He joined in 1991 and held numerous positions over the years. He was elected treasurer in 2008 and held that office for six years. He was TIA secretary in 2015 and vice president in 2016. Here he reflects on his year as president.

MTD: What assistance and advice did outgoing President Glen Nicholson give you once he handed over the gavel?

As a member of TIA executive committee for eight years prior to becoming president (six years as treasurer), I acquired the knowledge of what the role as president consisted of so there were few surprises upon receiving the gavel. For the past few years, all the incoming presidents agreed we need to keep the course of the association and not impose our personal agenda, thus keeping the same course for success.

‘I can proudly exit my role as president with an association that has 10,000 members and is in the best financial position of its existence.’

MTD: What advances in TIA’s government affairs are you most proud of now that your term has ended ended?

I feel the close working relationship with the USTMA is the best it’s ever been. Both associations have met numerous times this year and are working jointly on a couple of tire-related issues.

MTD: How did your experience as a sales manager for Stellar Industries help you in your presidency?

With any leader, you need to listen to what your customers’/members’ needs are and try to find solutions. This is no different in the business sector — you listen to your customers and help find solutions to their needs.MTD: As incoming president, you were planning on holding the course set by TIA’s previous President Glen Nicholson and others. Were you able to do that?

As with TIA Past President Glen Nicholson, myself, and soon to be President David Martin and then John Evankovich (vice president) and Treasurer Mike Wolfe, we are all in unison on where TIA needs to go.

We are elected by our peers to serve the interests of the members of the association — and not to impose our personal or professional beliefs on the association.

MTD: How much time did the role of president take up for you, and what is the most worthwhile project you worked on?

There is not a set time that the role of president takes up. A lot of it depends on the particular week and what responsibilities arise. You may have a speaking engagement for a meeting with tire manufacturers or conference calls with fellow board members.

The most memorable moments include the manufacturer meeting, which I personally enjoyed, along with meetings with members at state associations.

The TIA staff is second-to-none and I am fortunate to have had all their support and help.

MTD: Now that your year is over, what do you feel your legacy will be?

I hope my legacy is that I continued to hold the course of a very successful association. I was elected treasurer of TIA nine years ago. At that time we had approximately 3,000 members and we were not in a very good financial position. I can proudly exit my role as president with an association that has over 10,000 members and is in the best financial position of its existence.

MTD: What advice do you have for David Martin?

David will do a great job. As mentioned, we are all in unison and believe we need to do what is best for our members and for the association.

MTD: If you have any spare time now that your role as president has ended, what do you hope to do with it?

I always seem to find things to keep me busy. I enjoy charity work and working with nonprofit organizations, and I will continue to do this. When you own a farm, there are always things to do, and auctioneering opportunities always seem to find me.    ■

About the Author

Bob Ulrich

Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000 and retired in January 2020. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and had been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993. He won numerous awards for editorial and feature writing, including five gold medals from the International Automotive Media Association. Bob earned a B.A. in English literature from Ohio Northern University and has a law degree from the University of Akron.