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GTE: ‘Your Voice Was Heard’


[Editor’s Note: This is an open letter to the tire industry by Roy Littlefield, executive vice president of TIA.]

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Over the years, one of the few times when those in the tire industry from around the world could come together has been at the Tires, Wheels & Equipment Section of the SEMA Show.

In fact, for many, going to the show has been like “coming home.” You can catch up with old friends and colleagues, see valued customers face to face and get in on a terrific opportunity to learn the latest developments in the tire industry.

However, unfortunately, between the drastic downturn in the global economy and some complacency on the part of TIA and SEMA, some of you may feel that the show might have lost its way.

For that, on behalf of TIA, I want to personally apologize. But, I am also taking this opportunity to tell you that both TIA and SEMA have listened, and we have made some major, substantive and exciting changes that we believe should give you cause to “come home” this year.

The old Tires, Wheels & Equipment Section of the SEMA Show has been eliminated. I’d like to introduce to you the new Global Tire Expo Powered by TIA. The Expo will be completely tire industry-focused. Only those in the tire industry will be permitted to exhibit. And, the Expo is open to all segments of the tire industry, from automotive and commercial tire dealers to retreaders and recyclers.

To reinforce this new focus, the Expo will have its own branding, entrance units and color scheme. Tire manufacturers’ booths will be placed in the center in order to provide a greater level of prominence, and TIA will work with them on a one-on-one basis to assist them with every aspect of exhibiting at the show. The Expo has one goal – to be THE tire industry event of the year – for everyone in the tire industry.

If you felt as though your voice was not heard by Show officials in the past, you can now rest assured that it will be heard from here on out. That’s because SEMA has agreed to seat a permanent TIA representative on their SEMA Show Committee, as well as on their Tire & Wheel Council. So, in essence, every tire industry professional now has “a seat at the table” and is a true partner in this event.


TIA is the undisputed, international leader in tire training. Our experts have trained thousands of tire service technicians all over the world on the latest technology and techniques. The GTE is rapidly building on that expertise to create the most comprehensive training seminar program at a tire industry event – ever. We are expanding on our successful “Tires at 2” educational session track by adding “TPMS at 10” and “Management at 4.” As the titles imply, attendees will get relevant, timely information on TPMS, tire service and business management topics from the best minds around. These will be education sessions you’ll definitely want to attend.

SEMA will work with you to find new, innovative ways you can reduce the cost of exhibiting at the GTE. All Expo exhibitors are eligible to receive a one-on-one audit of their show plans, which could help you save up to 20% on your show-related spending.

Whether you’re in Shanghai, Johannesburg, Munich, Sao Paulo or Peoria, it won’t take you long to find someone who has heard of Las Vegas. It’s a special place. This is also true for people in the tire industry. It’s one of the premiere destinations for tire industry professionals – people you can meet, learn from, and, most importantly, sell your products to.


You don’t have to worry about finding an appropriate space to hold side meetings. You have an unbelievably wide selection of hotel accommodations – everything from properties that keep it simple and cost-effective to five-star establishments that are on par with some of the best properties in the world. Want to discuss business over a meal? With world-renowned chefs such as Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud, and Nobu Matsuhisa choosing to open restaurants in Las Vegas, you will have plenty of memorable and appropriate spots from which to choose.

If you’ve been to our special events in Las Vegas – such as the Welcome Reception and Tire Industry Honors – you know that the word "special" does not seem to be enough to describe them. They’ll be back this year, better than ever.

The creation of the Global Tire Expo – Powered by TIA is the start of a new day in the tire industry.

But, we’re not finished yet. We are continuing to work with SEMA to find more exciting and compelling ideas to make the Global Tire Expo Powered by TIA an even greater event, and we’re going to work hard to keep you informed of the latest developments.


In closing, if you have already made plans to come to this year’s Global Tire Expo Powered by TIA, I want to say a heartfelt “thank you.” You are not only supporting the Expo; you are supporting our work, which in turn, benefits you and all of the tire industry.

For those of you who haven’t made plans, it’s not too late. “Come home,” and be a part of the new Global Tire Expo. There’s no place like it. Visit, or call us at 800-876-8372, and we’ll help you get started.

See you in Vegas!

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