TIA names 2018 Hall of Fame and Ed Wagner Leadership Award Honorees

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) has announced the names of the honorees for the 2018 Hall of Fame and Ed Wagner Leadership Award. The inductions will take place at the Tire Industry Honors Awards Ceremony on Monday 29 October 29 at Paris Las Vegas Hotel.

The 2018 Hall of Fame honorees are: Bob Majewski, president, Sumerel Tire Service, Inc.; as well as Arvind Poddar, chairman and managing director, Balkrishna Industries Ltd.

The 2018 Ed Wagner Leadership Award honorees are: Mike Baggett, retired, Yokohama Tire Corporation; and Freda Pratt-Boyer, senior auditor, Purcell Tire Company.

The Hall of Fame Award is the Tire Industry Association’s highest honour that recognizes individuals who have made a significant impact within the tyre, rubber, and transportation industries. The Ed Wagner Leadership Award is presented to individuals or companies that demonstrate leadership or innovation in products and services that foster and promote the tire, retreading and/or tire recycling industries.

“We are pleased to introduce our new class of exceptional industry leaders as recipients for the Hall of Fame and Ed Wagner Leadership Award,” said Roy Littlefield, executive vice president of the Tire Industry Association. “On behalf of TIA, we extend our congratulations and are honoured to recognize these amazing individuals that have proven themselves as key industry influencers.”

Bob Majewski has been in the retread business for more than 50 years. He started in the retread plant at an independent, family-owned business, graduated from Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, and then made a name for himself on a national scale with Mohawk Rubber, Hercules and the ARA. Majewski’s efforts to establish retread training during his tenure at ARA set the stage for the next revolution in retreading. Without his contributions to the ARA, countless independent retreaders would have had a competitive disadvantage when going up against the major rubber companies. Bob Majewski played a major role in preserving independence of the independent retreader. In late 1994, Bob became part owner and Vice President of Sumerel Tire Service, in Newport, Kentucky and responsible for manufacturing, operations, and marketing for their mould cure remanufactured tyres called the Acutread Segmented Mold Cure Process, which he designed. In 2002, Bob became president of Sumerel Tire Service, a position he held for 13 years and has now formed a steering committee that runs Sumerel Tire planning the next transition. His continued involvement on industry committees and organizations ensures that his wealth of knowledge and experience contributes to the overall image and success of retreading.

Arvind Poddar began his career at BKT in early 2000 and immediately sought to take the company forward and make it profitable. He saw that a complete change in the company’s model must happen. Arvind decided to enter the OTR tyre market with a vision to make BKT a global player. With over 93 per cent of the production being exported to very sophisticated markets in over 130 countries, BKT experienced remarkable growth in terms of revenue and profits and became the star company for the investors and shareholders. After the shortage of the large OTR tyres in 2011, Arvind ventured into expanding production into large OTR tyres, which required sizeable investment of over US$500 million, equal to the total net worth of the company. With that, came the firm’s Bhuj plant and its installed capacity – – then equal to all 3 BKT plants combined.

BKT now enjoys 6 per cent share of the world OTR tyre market and with a turnover close to $1 billion.

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