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Live at SEMA: TIA Sees Membership and GTE Growth

TIA reported increases in membership, a strengthened financial base, and significant rises in GTE show attendance and exhibitors.

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In the face of a struggling economy, it appears TIA and its Global Tire Expo are on a strong upswing as the association reported increases in membership, a strengthened financial base, and significant rises in show attendance and exhibitors.Incoming TIA president Larry Brandt

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During yesterday’s annual general membership meeting, TIA officials reported that association membership rose 620 over the last 12 months, pushing membership above 6,000, a group that sports more than 15,000 individual points of sale in the U.S.

According to TIA sources, 2011 SEMA Show pre-registration reached 134,900 up considerably from 2010’s year-over-year mark of 117,500. Of the 2011 pre-registrants, 51,470 indicated they were interested in tires and tire-related products.

At show’s opening, there were 2,163 registered SEMA exhibitors, up more than 200 from 2010’s mark of 1,946, according to sources.

TIA treasurer Tom Formanek reported to members that the association ended its most recent fiscal year “in the black,” and that current cash reserves remained level with last year “despite the ups and downs of the stock market.” He said TIA’s financial condition is solid.

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Much of TIA’s revenue continues to come from its already extensive training programs. Both outgoing president Mike Berra and incoming president Larry Brandt stressed the importance of TIA’s training efforts in their respective speeches yesterday during the general meeting and later at the Tire Industry Honors event.

Brandt spotlighted new initiatives for 2012, starting with the creation of TIA’s Learning Management System, which will take online its current Automotive Training Service, Commercial Training Service, Earthmover Training Service and TPMS training. That addition will occur in the first quarter of 2012, he said.

Spanish-language versions of the ATS and ETS training programs will also be launched next year, Brandt said, and by 2013 an all new farm tire training program will be launched.

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Also in 2012, Brandt said, TIA will take its ATS training effort on the road, with a 28-city blitz.

On another front, Brandt said one of his goals in 2012 is to improve TIA’s relationship with the RMA, and to continue strengthening the bond between the tire group and SEMA.

During the annual meeting, held at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, outgoing president Berra passed the ceremonial gavel to Brandt, and welcomed seven new and returning board members, all elected to three-year terms.

Returning to the board are Gary Albright of Becker Tire & Treading Inc., Great Bend, Kan.; Robert Hendry of 31 Inc., Newcomerstown, Ohio; Brett Matschke of Richlonn’s Tire & Service Centers, Muskego, Wis.; and Steve Zimmerman of Tuffy Mfg. Industries Inc., Akron, Ohio.

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Brand new three-year-term board members include John Derringer of Driven Products, Kent, Wash., and Robert Frick of Schrader International, Columbia, S.C.; and Lyssa da Costa of Hercules Tire International, Mississauga, Ont., will fill the two-year board vacancy left by the election of Randy Groh, USAutoForce, to treasurer.

Michelin North America honored three high school seniors with scholarships as part of the Michelin/TIA Scholarship program.

Winning a $2,500 renewable four-year scholarship was Vivian McBride of Gurnee, Ill., who plans to attend Vanderbilt University in the fall.

Winning a $1,250 renewable four-year scholarship were Taylor Allen of Granite City, Ill., and plans to attend the University of Missouri; Aaron Baldwin from Amarillo, Texas, who plans to attend Austin College.

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Also during the general meeting, TIA members passed three resolutions, one in support of the U.S. government maintaining the long-standing use of “last in, first out” as the accepted means for inventory accounting; a second calling on Congress to tackle lawsuit abuse; and a third supporting HR2082, the “Returning Heroes Tax Credit.”

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