TIA Will Honor 4 Tire Industry Leaders in 2018

July 25, 2018

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) will induct two members to the Hall of Fame, and present the Ed Wagner Leadership Award to a pair of honorees during the 2018 Tire Industry Honors Awards Ceremony. The 2018 Hall of Fame honorees are:

Bob Majewski, president of Sumerel Tire Service Inc. and Arvind Poddar, chairman and managing director of Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT).

This year's Ed Wagner Leadership Award honorees are:

Mike Baggett, who retired from Yokohama Tire Corp., and Freda Pratt-Boyer, senior auditor of Purcell Tire Co.

The winners will be honored at this year's ceremony, set for 6 p.m. on Oct. 29 at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel. There is no cost to attend the ceremony, but tickets need to be reserved here.

“We are pleased to introduce our new class of exceptional industry leaders as recipients for the Hall of Fame and Ed Wagner Leadership Award,” says Roy Littlefield, executive vice president of TIA. “We extend our congratulations and are honored to recognize these amazing individuals that have proven themselves as key industry influencers.”

TIA provided biographies of each of the honorees.  Majewski has been in the retread business for more than 50 years. He started in the retread plant at an independent, family-owned business, graduated from Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, and then made a name for himself nationally with Mohawk Rubber, Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. and the American Retreaders Association (ARA).

His efforts to establish retread training during his tenure at ARA set the stage for the next revolution in retreading. Without his contributions to the ARA, countless independent retreaders would have had a competitive disadvantage when going up against the major rubber companies. He played a major role in preserving independence of the independent retreader.

In late 1994, Majewski became part owner and vice president of Sumerel Tire Service Inc. in Newport, Ky., taking responsibility for manufacturing, operations, and marketing for their mold cure remanufactured tires called the Acutread Segmented Mold Cure Process, which he designed. In 2002, he became president of the company, a position he held for 13 years. He's formed a steering committee that runs Sumerel Tire, planning the next transition. His continued involvement on industry committees and organizations ensures that his wealth of knowledge and experience contributes to the overall image and success of retreading.  Poddar began his career at BKT in early 2000 and immediately sought to take the company forward and make it profitable. He saw that a complete change in the company’s model must happen. He decided to enter the off-the-road tire market with a vision to make BKT a global player.

With more than 93% of production being exported to sophisticated markets in 130+ countries, BKT experienced remarkable growth in terms of revenue and profits and became the star company for the investors and shareholders. After the shortage of the large OTR tires in 2011, Poddar ventured into expanding production into large OTR tires which required sizable investment of more than $500 million, which was equal to the total net worth of the company. With that, came the most sophisticated Bhuj plant with installed capacity of all three BKT plants combined.

BKT filled the needs of the market and sustained the OTR consumers with a quality product of value in terms of cost/hour or cost/mile. The BKT product became the quality product of choice and became the best sales rep for the company. BKT now enjoys 6% share of the world OTR market and with a turnover close to USA 1 billion. Under Poddar's leadership, demand for BKT tires has kept pace with the production increase.  Baggett began his career in the tire industry 46 years ago serving all facets of the OTR tire business. He has owned an OTR dealership and worked for three major tire manufacturers.

He was instrumental in the introduction of the giant radial tire to the mining industry, and worked on the development of one of the first OTR tracking systems, and worked on the development of a second one when he joined Yokohama.

He's lead from the top with executive positions with major corporations such as Bridgestone Firestone, Michelin (TCi), Cobre Tire, and Yokohama Tire Corp. He has also been involved in the OTR retread business both as owner of Southern Tire and later on with Bridgestone and Cobre Tire. Baggett retired from Yokomaha in April 2017.  Pratt-Boyer began her career in the tire industry more than 45 years ago with Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. Over the course of her career, she has worked in retail, commercial, retreading and wholesale distribution centers in managerial positions.

She has served as operations manager, region manager, and now as senior auditor for Purcell. These years of service have given her the opportunity to become a leader in the industry and are proof of her determination and ability to promote and advance the standards of the tire industry.

Pratt-Boyer is a former member of the TIA board of directors and is also the second woman to serve as board president. She is a decisive manager who vigorously promotes education, training, and customer service to all levels of the tire industry.