With rapid change in the tire industry, finding an energetic leader who embraces the future and stands up for the needs of independent tire dealers is key, according to past presidents of the Tire Industry Association when asked what they wanted to see in the organization’s next CEO.
“We’re looking for someone who has some insight into the future of the industry,” said Dan Nothdurft, current TIA president and president of Tires Tires Tires in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Sioux City, Iowa. “We can’t continue with the way we’ve done things in the past because our industry is changing so much. We need someone with fresh leadership and ideas.”
In a press release, TIA said it’s searching for “a dynamic leader… to head the organization’s work in tire technician training, government affairs and improving the overall environment for its tire dealer and tire industry members.”
Nothdurft said the association hired an executive search firm to find the organization’s next CEO. He said the association has interviewed internal candidates and is now looking at external candidates. TIA did not specify when Littlefield is expected to retire.
Littlefield has served in the role for three years and previously held the position of executive vice president, which he has held since 2003, according to Tire Review archives. He has also served as an adjunct professor for the Catholic University of America’s Metropolitan School of Professional Studies during his time with TIA.
In the search for its new CEO, the organization says it is looking for a leader to assume executive management responsibility for the 13,000-member organization who will report to its board of directors.
“This individual will lead a dedicated staff to carry out TIA’s mission of promoting tire safety through training and education, supporting the tire industry through government affairs advocacy, and enhancing the image and professionalism of the industry for the betterment of TIA’s members,” the release said. It also states that the CEO will serve as the director of the TIA Foundation Board and be responsible for the administration and management functions as well as the fiscal health and soundness of the association, in close partnership with the board.
Lastly, TIA says the new CEO will serve as the face of the organization and establish working relationships with federal, state and local legislators on industry-related issues, as well as meet with tire manufacturer executives and suppliers to keep TIA’s name prominent in the industry.
David Martin, chief operating officer for CEMB USA and TIA president from 2017-2018, said he is looking for someone who will bolster the growth of the association’s training programs and member services.
“In my time there and since I have left, I have seen a lot of training opportunities out there that are needed in the industry,” Martin said.
He also believes the next CEO must be an advocate for tire dealers at the federal, state and local level. He said as a founding member of the task force charged with working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on tire registration fees, he’s realized the need for a leader who can work with all parties affected by tire industry issues.
Tom Formanek, regional sales manager for Stellar Industries and TIA president from 2016-2017, said he’d like to see the organization’s new CEO oversee TIA’s training and how it can be better promoted across the industry.
“TIA is a leader in training, and we need to promote that more,” Formanek said. “A lot of tire dealers still don’t understand and know what TIA is, and it should be our goal to get our training out to those people.”
TIA said it is looking for candidates with “management experience, tire industry experience, demonstrated leadership in operations and program management, familiarity with government affairs on the state and federal levels, excellent writing, speaking and organizational skills, financial reporting experience, good problem-solving skills and a creative approach to new ideas,” the press release said.
The organization said those interested in applying can email their resume, cover letter and salary requirements to Richard Slayton, president and CEO of Slayton Search Partners, at [email protected] by Aug. 30.