The Tire Industry Association announced the names of the 2015 Tire Industry Hall of Fame recipients. This year’s honorees are Ross Fischer, the late owner of McCord Auto Supply; Herman “Hy” Freeman, technical services and training manager for Rema Tip Top North America (retired); Paul Hyatt, chairman of Superior Tire & Auto; Bucky Stein, founder of Target Tire; and Dr. Raghupati Singhania, chairman and managing director of JK Tyre & Industries Ltd.
Receiving the Ed Wagner Leadership Award are Tom Klinge, managing director and co-founder of the Klinge Group, and Kevin Rohlwing, senior vice president of training for TIA. The award is named in honor of the late Ed Wagner, who was a strong voice in the tire industry for the entirety of his career.
Hall of Fame inductions and presentation of the Ed Wagner awards will take place at the Tire Industry Honors Awards Ceremony on Monday, Nov. 2 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Tropicana Las Vegas. The event, sponsored by Michelin North America, is open to all and complimentary tickets may be reserved by clicking here.
Hall of Fame Award Winners:
Ross Fischer went to work for McCord Auto in Watseka, Ill., in the 1950s. At that time, the business was owned by Verlon McCord. Fischer eventually became McCord’s partner in the business, moving in 1959 to Monticello, where he opened his own McCord Auto shop. He became sole owner of the company in 1964 and went on to expand the operation to 14 locations in Indiana, Illinois, Kansas and Minnesota. He sold the business to Pomp’s Tire Service Inc. in 2010. Fischer was best-known in the tire industry for his role in developing a wheel application for Goodyear’s flotation tires, allowing them to be adapted for use in agriculture. He passed away in 2013.
Herman “Hy” Freeman retired from Rema Tip Top North America, where he was the technical services and training manager. He was a pioneer in the early stages of tire service and repair. In the 1960s, he helped to establish the industry recognized standards for permanent tire repair, which are known today as the RMA Recommended Repair Procedures. Freeman was personally involved in developing, testing and providing the radial patch and the vulcanizing insert. He was honored by the industry and his peers with the Industry Pioneer Award at the American Retreaders Conference in 1984.
Paul Hyatt began his career with Superior Tire & Auto when he was 17, working part-time sweeping floors and changing tires. By the age of 21, he was working as a teacher while continuing to work part-time at Superior Tire as a retreader. Five years later, he was offered the opportunity to purchase a small share of the company from his father-in-law, the company founder. He took the offer, left his teaching position, and began his full-time career in the tire business. Hyatt became a partner and vice president of the dealership. He became owner and president in 1981. In 2012, he sold the dealership to two partners who were Superior’s first franchisees. He has remained with the company as chairman. Under his leadership, Superior Tire grew to 16 locations. Hyatt is a past president of TIA, the Tire Dealers Association of Canada and the Ontario Tire Dealers Association. In 1990, he was inducted into the OTDA Hall of Fame.
Dr. Raghupati Singhania is chairman and managing director of JK Tyre & Industries Ltd. in New Delhi, India. The company has a presence in 100 countries, operates nine plants and produces 20 million tires annually. Under Singhania’s leadership, JK Tyre pioneered radial technology in India in 1977. He also has established six state-of-the-art research and development centers, five in India and one in Mexico, to develop technologically advanced products. He played a key role in establishing The Hari Shankar Singhania Elastomer and Tyre Research Institute. Singhania has held leadership roles for numerous industry organizations including the Indian Rubber Manufacturers Association, the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association, the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Auto Tyres & Tubes Panel for the Government of India. In 2011, he received the “Inspirational Leader of New India” award.
Bucky Stein, founder of Target Tire, was born in 1925 to a father who had a one-man tire repair shop. Bucky went into business with his dad after World War II. He founded Target Tire in 1963 in Jacksonville, N.C., and started his own tire brand, Avalon, in 1970. He sold Target Tire in 2004 and the last of the company’s retail stores was sold in 2011.
Ed Wagner Leadership Award Winners:
Tom Klinge is the managing director and co-founder of the Klinge Group, an international leader in quality tire management control software and maintenance system services, located in Queensland, Australia. The company services global mining, construction and transport companies on more than 1,200 sites in 29 countries. Klinge has been an innovator and active visionary within the tire industry with a passion for safety. He is recognized as a pioneer and key innovator in electronic tire management. He is co-creator of the Total Tyre Control software. The technology is now recognized as the standard practice within the industry. Klinge has served as president of the Queensland Tyre Dealers & Retreading Divisions and the Australian Tyre Dealers & Retreaders Association. He has received numerous industry recognitions throughout his career and is a frequent presenter at industry events.
Kevin Rohlwing serves as TIA’s senior vice president of training. He began his career in the tire industry working as a technician at his family’s tire dealership at the age of 15. In 1996, he joined the International Tire & Rubber Association (which preceded the creation of TIA in 2001) to create a training and certification program for truck tire technicians. Since then, he has developed award-winning training programs for automotive, commercial, earthmover, farm and industrial tires. Rohlwing is a recognized industry expert when it comes to the technical issues involving all types of tire/wheel assemblies. In 2011, he was awarded a Silver Spark Plug by the Technology and Maintenance Council for his contributions to fleet maintenance. He also serves as Editor of TIA’s quarterly magazine, Today’s Tire Industry, and serves on a number of industry councils and committees. In total, Rohlwing has more than 30 years of experience in the tire industry, encompassing everything from tire service to developing training videos and workbooks that have reached more than 98,000 tire service professionals since 1997.