World ITRA Expo
Despite Smaller Numbers, Show Hailed as an All-Around Success
While overall attendance at the 2000 World International Tire and Rubber Association (ITRA) Expo was down almost 19% from 1999, quantity isn’t everything.
Held at Nashville’s Opryland Hotel, confident ITRA officials said the show met their expectations. Attendance at the educational workshops was higher than it had been since 1983, said Rita Shrouds, director of the ITRA Educational Foundation.
“We’re pleased and ecstatic,” Shrouds said about the workshops. Outgoing ITRA President Randy Drake added, ®we had a great show.®
The show opened with the third annual ITRA Educational Foundation Golf Tournament, sponsored by Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. More than 100 industry golfers took part, earning the Foundation $28,000.
The induction ceremony into the Tire and Rubber Industry Hall of Fame at the awards banquet drew over 300 people. Harvey Brodsky, managing director of the Tire Retread Information Bureau, and the late Winston “Bill” Marsh, who was executive vice president of the National Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association, were this year’s inductees.
Brodsky, known as the “Voice of Retreading” for his dedication to promoting the benefits of retreading, also received the ITRA Industry Leadership award in 1991. Marsh led the NTDRA for 28 years and was in the first class inducted into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame.
Other awards presented at the banquet:
®′ Michael Rouse, owner of Rouse Polymetrics International, received the Industry Leadership Award;
®′ Gene Beck of Beck Tire International was given the Pioneer Award;
®′ Gary Shaw, director of the Gray County Highway Department in Ontario, Canada, was recognized as a Friend of the Industry;
®′ Purcell Tire and Rubber Company of Potosi, Mo., won the Industry Leadership Award;
®′ John Olson of Olson Tire Service in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., was honored with the Pioneer Award.
Over the course of the three-day conference and trade show, 1,800 people attended daily workshops on various tire and rubber recycling and retreading topics. The most popular workshop, “Tire Failure Analysis,” had an audience of 180. The ®Mock Trial® workshop on the final day depicted a product liability court case with actual attorneys, expert witnesses and industry representatives as the plaintiff and the defendant.
Educational sessions were made available in Spanish and Portuguese as well as English. The conference’s international presence was well represented by attendees from 29 different countries.
In between workshops, 1,078 show-goers visited the 194 Expo booths 26% fewer than last year. Since 1998, when the show was held in Louisville, Ky., overall attendance has declined by 32%.
A highlight of the show was a keynote address by former NFL star Archie Manning, a record-setting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, at the general session on the final day. The 1978 NFL MVP spoke on characteristics that make people successful in business as well as life in general.
Four out of 50 entries into the ITRA Retread Appearance Contest emerged as the Best of Show tires retreaded by Hi-Mile Tire in Billings, Mont., Industrias Del Neumatico of Spain, Recauchutados Mesas, also of Spain, and McGriff Treading Co. of Hartselle, Ala.
Also at the convention, ITRA members elected new officers. Bob Sherwood of Tristani Retreading Corp. in Puerto Rico was named president. Tom Raben of Raben Tire in Evansville, Ind., vice president, and Dick Gust of Lakin General Corp. in Chicago, secretary/treasurer, were also inducted into office.
Next year’s World ITRA Expo will be Apr. 19-21, and will again be held at the Opryland Hotel Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn. ®′