LOUISVILLE, Ky.-If members approve, the American Retreaders Association will rename itself the International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA) prior to its World Tire Conference & Exhibition in Louisville, April 17-20. The new name was recommended by the ARA board of directors as a means of reflecting the association's ``broader focus on the total tire and rubber industries in addition to tire service, retreading, repairing and recycling,'' according
to a letter mailed to members March 8.
As part of the broader focus, the ARA also announced that it will add a full-time ``Commercial Tire Dealer Services Director'' to its staff to establish programs geared specifically toward this group.
Voting on the proposed name change will take place at a special membership meeting April 8 at 1 p.m. at the ARA's headquarters in Louisville, the letter said.
Those unable to attend have the option of assigning their proxies to one of three board members.
The ARA's letter, signed by Secretary-Treasurer Michael D. Clark, said the special meeting was scheduled prior to the annual conference so a new logo can be developed and the new name and programs announced at that event.
In a March 22 announcement, the association said its proposed logo, will retain the familiar interlocking triangles bearing the words ``retreading,'' ``repairing,'' ``recycling'' and ``servicing'' as they appear in the existing logo. The lettering style also will be retained.
ARA Executive Director Marvin Bozarth said the proposed name also reflects the growing international character of the association's membership, 15 percent of
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which is derived from 54 countries other than the U.S.
Mr. Bozarth said this year's conference especially is being promoted internationally and is expected to attract sizable numbers of attendees from countries such as Poland, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and India.
He said the association had been studying the possibility of a name change for more than four years and that the name, ``International Tire & Rubber Association,'' was selected from among 30 suggestions, five of which were given final consideration by the board. Three of the five finalists were disqualified after a legal search found they already were being used by other associations.
Mr. Bozarth said that the association's addition of a director of commercial tire dealer services is in recognition of the importance of that market segment to retreaders.
The ARA also has created a ``Commercial Tire Dealer Steering Committee,'' to help develop new projects and programs in this area. Chaired by Tom Raben of Raben Tire Co. in Evansville, Ind., the nine-member committee comprises commercial dealers, retreaders and suppliers.
Mr. Bozarth said the ARA's proposed changes do not affect the group's ongoing discussions with the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association over the possibility of combining their respective trade shows.
He said talks between the associations are ``going very well,'' with the latest held March 4 in Chicago.
The ARA originally called itself the Central States Retreaders Association when it opened its first ``Louisville Retreaders Conference'' in 1957.
The group changed its name to the American Retreaders Association in 1964 to rally more widespread support for its legal defense of retreaders accused of infringing cement spray patents held by a California inventor.
Scrap tire recycling was added to the conference focus in 1990, when the association scheduled its first ``Scrap Tire Symposium and Exhibition.'' Tire recycling and disposal have been part of the Louisville event ever since.