Madeleine Winer is Editor of Tire Review magazine. She joined the Tire Review staff as a senior editor in 2017. Before joining the tire industry, she worked as a producer and reporter at the Louisville Courier Journal. She is a graduate of Kent State University with a bachelor's degree in journalism and speaks Spanish fluently.
The first in-person event for many since the pandemic, the Tire Industry Association‘s 2022 OTR Conference saw a year of record attendance at this year’s event in Destin, Florida. In its 67th year, the OTR Conference mixed educational sessions and fun with industry peers as attendees were able to gain a deeper understanding of the trends in the OTR tire market as well as enjoy each other’s company during various events.
Speakers from across the OTR tire industry presented on topics such as end-of-life OTR tires, OTR tire safety, the U.S. and Canadian economic outlooks, women in the industry, technology and employment trends. The conference also featured a vendor trade show where manufacturers and suppliers showcased their latest products and mingled with industry peers. In addition, a dolphin cruise, golf tournament and bingo added to the festivities.
“The atmosphere here is electric,” said Dick Gust, TIA’s CEO, remarking on the turnout and the excitement of conference attendees. “Isn’t it great to be face-to-face again and all in the same room?”
In kicking off the festivities, Gust said almost 500 people from 10 countries and 37 U.S. states attended this year’s conference. Mason Hess, current TIA president and area manager for Purcell Tire and Service Center in Phoenix, Ariz., remarked on the record attendance and the resiliency of the tire industry over the past few years as it has grappled with the pandemic.
“Attendance this year is almost as good pre-pandemic, and if you put that into perspective with what we’ve been through over the last two years, the speaks to the toughness of our industry.
As the OTR tire industry enjoyed reuniting, take a look at some of the on-stage moments and excitement from the conference in the photos below.
O2 Investment Partners revealed that Straightaway Tire & Auto, an independent, full-service aftermarket automotive repair and service platform, has retained John Wafler and Jason Servidio to drive platform-wide internal training initiatives.
Wafler will oversee all area manager and general manager training. Previously, he spent more than two decades with RLO Training as a BLIG facilitator. According to O2 Investment Partners, he has "helped hundreds of shop owners realize the full potential of their businesses through his hands-on coaching."