NTDRA's Past Presidents' Advisory Council meeting at the association's 75th anniversary convention was a general discussion of a number of issues of interest to the 10 past presidents who attended. As is the tradition, the luncheon format provides time for the present NTDRA officers to introduce themselves and respond to questions from the past presidents.
Areas commented on included: attendance at the convention, discussions now under way on a joint NTDRA/ARA (National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association/American Retreaders Association) trade show, and progress on seeking a replacement for Executive Vice President Phil Friedlander, who plans to retire at the end of 1996.
Like the past four meetings of this group I have attended, this meeting was congenial and was not one of attacks against the NTDRA staff. Any reports of the meeting to the contrary are just not accurate.
It was a series of casual conversations, and the professionalism of NTDRA's staff was not among the subjects discussed.
Of course, the past presidents, present officers and NTDRA staff share a disappointment that the number of those attending (the recent New Orleans convention) was not larger.
(However) I can assure everyone that a great deal of effort went into making this convention a success.
I believe that we must understand that it was the initiative of NTDRA's Executive Vice President Phil Friedlander that a great deal of extra effort is going on to evaluate the 1995 convention and planning for 1996.
Three separate and independent studies are being conducted in this regard.
An independent research firm has been hired to conduct these studies and will report the results to the NTDRA.
One study is asking exhibitors in New Orleans to examine the 1995 trade show and make suggestions on how to improve (the convention) for 1996.
In another, dealers and retreaders attending the New Orleans convention are being asked their thoughts on each aspect (general sessions, workshops, trade show and location) of the convention.
In addition, they are being requested to include any suggestions which might strengthen the program for the 1996 NTDRA convention.
A third study is being conducted of dealers and retreaders who did not attend. Considerable attention will be given to finding out how the convention might be changed to get them to attend.
As far as I'm concerned, this is a professional initiative from NTDRA's staff in seeking ways to make the association's convention more valuable to the independent tire dealer and retreader.
It is indeed unfortunate that the tone of this meeting was represented as having been critical of NTDRA's staff and its professionalism. This is simply not accurate.
National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association
Editor's note: Mr. Bobzin's letter is in response to a Nov. 13 news article reporting that all but two of the 10 NTDRA past presidents at the Oct. 13 meeting were ``disappointed'' at the New Orleans trade show and convention functions, which one past president described as ``lack(ing) professionalism.''
Spares are necessary
In response to Clarence Ball's Nov. 13 column, ``Is the spare really necessary in today's cars?'' you bet it is.
At least six out of 10 cars coming into our store are riding on the spare, or the donut (temporary spare).
On pickups, seven out of 10 tires are riding on the spare.
With radials more apt to pick up body nuts, screws, nails and all the roofing nails on the road, you had better have a spare, because a tow can be expensive.
We have a hard time telling our customers how important that little donut is to them.
On service calls, we install the donut on the customer's car and bring in the tire for a correct repair.
John H. Gates Sr.