Members of the tire industry gathered at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel Monday night to recognize the industry’s top tire dealers and honor the Tire Industry Association (TIA) 2018 Hall of Fame honorees and Ed Wagner Leadership Award recipients.
Arvind Poddar, chairman and managing director of Balkrishna Industries, Ltd. (BKT), and Bob Majewski, president of Sumerel Tire Service, Inc. were inducted into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame. Mike Baggett, formerly with the Yokohama Tire Corp., and Freda Pratt-Boyer, senior auditor for Purcell Tire & Rubber Co., were honored with the Ed Wagner Leadership Award.
Poddar’s son, Rajiv, accepted the Hall of Fame Award on his father’s behalf. Via a video message, Arvid Poddar dedicated the Hall of Fame honor to all of BKT’s stakeholders and his father, founding member of BKT. Poddar, through his son, also gifted the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation a $10,000 donation. In addition, he announced that BKT will build a plant in the U.S., a project which will be started in 2019.
Poddar, who began his career in early 2000 at BKT, made the decision for the company to enter the OTR market.
His vision, TIA says, was to make BKT a global player in the OTR market. With over 93% of its production exported to markets in over 130 countries, BKT has since grown in both revenue and profits now enjoying 6% share of the world OTR market with a turnover close to $1 billion.
In addition to industry leaders, top tire dealers were also honored at the event. This year, Tate Boys Tire & Service won Tire Review’s Top Shop Award, which recognizes the “best of the best” independent tire dealers in North America. John Quirk, chairman and CEO of VIP Tires & Service, was named Modern Tire Dealer’s 2018 Dealer of the Year and Mike Smith of Midas of Richmond, Virginia was honored with the Tire Business 2018 Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award.
Located in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area, Tate Boys Tire was founded in 1988 by Bob Tate and his sons Craig and Chuck. Since then, the shop has grown to six locations and will open its seventh in the fourth quarter of 2018. At Tate Boys, each tire transaction is supported by the “Tate 12,” tire services that include free lifetime rotations, wheel alignment checks, tire pressure checks and flat tire repairs. Each location is also ruled by the dealer’s “core values,” which include “make it about others” and “serve with passion.”
This year’s finalists in the Top Shop Award program include Eagle Tire Pros in Jacksonboro, Tennessee; Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma out of Tacoma, Washington; and Tire Source in Canton, Ohio.