This October, prior to the Global Tire Expo and SEMA event in Las Vegas, I will begin my one-year term as president of the Tire Industry Association (TIA). I am honored to serve the tire industry and continue the important work of this association. I want to thank Tom Formanek and all the other past presidents, as well as current and past board members, for setting this association on a positive path. During my time on TIA’s board, I have seen how hard this dedicated group has worked to better the tire industry and I’m excited to continue serving in my new capacity as president of TIA.
In my position as director of sales with ATD, I have witnessed the important role TIA fills in the industry with the training and education programs provided to the tire industry. TIA has trained more than 125,000 tire technicians around the U.S. and abroad. This training saves lives and protects the technicians in their daily activities as well as keeping the motoring public safe.
During my time on the TIA board of directors, I have had the good fortune to work with Kevin Rohlwing, the senior vice president of training for TIA, and his team of professional trainers as chairman of the training and education committee. We have created several new programs including the Industrial Tire Service (ITS) and Farm Tire Service (FTS) programs. The committee has also over seen updates to the Certified Commercial Tire Service (CTS) program and Certified Automotive Tire Service programs as well as successfully completing the five year business plan. During the summer of 2017, the new Certified Earthmover Tire Service (ETS) program was launched taking the ETS program to the next level. Now the committee is developing a new five-year plan and looking into the future training needs for TIA, the tire industry and automotive service technicians for whom we provide training.
Safety is a top priority for TIA. I encourage any of you that are installing or servicing tires to ensure your professional service providers have access to the quality TIA training programs. TIA is the expert for training and education in the tire industry. There are several training options to select from including an online training program and the premier certified training programs.
Government affairs and the tire industry is a critical area for TIA to continue its industry changing work. TIA serves as an advocate for its members ensuring their voice is heard. The involvement of TIA in Washington, D.C., and on Capitol Hill as well as in the legislative chambers on the state level is crucial to the health and safety of the industry and the motoring public that it serves. This team is led by Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield and works to represent the best interest of the TIA membership. Some of the crucial legislation that TIA is currently involved with includes tire registration, the estate tax, last in first out (LIFO), tire aging, the RPM Act and tax reform.
Another area where TIA is working to improve the industry involves facilitating annual meetings with various tire manufacturers and the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA). These meetings serve to keep the communication lines open. The discussions revolve around areas of common interest and alignment, including legislative issues, and look for ways to further enhance and improve all areas of the tire industry.
Member benefits is another area where TIA is working to help tire dealers improve their cost of operation by building a variety of programs. These programs include, but are not limited to: business and workers compensation insurance; health insurance; human resources and management consulting programs; website and digital marketing solutions; credit and collections options; credit card processing, and consumer credit card programs.
TIA is fortunate to have a talented and experienced staff, coupled with a board of directors that brings a passion and commitment to further the development of member programs, training and education, along with the involvement in government affairs which is unparalleled in the industry. The association is positioned for continued membership growth beyond the current record level of 10,000 plus members and is well positioned for the future.
The upcoming year will present new challenges and opportunities for the industry. I believe TIA is poised and ready to lead the industry forward to a higher level of standards in the bay while continuing its efforts at all levels with government affairs. I encourage you to become more involved in TIA. Together our efforts will propel the industry forward to a higher level of excellence and professionalism.