Since David Poisson's arrival as executive vice president of the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association less than a year ago, he has turned the organization upside down in an effort to reverse its dwindling fortunes. He's laid off a majority of the association's staff, merged its convention with that of the huge Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week shows in Las Vegas, renamed and reformatted the NTDRA Dealer News magazine and is moving the headquarters to Virginia from Washington, D.C.
Now he's changed the name of the group, albeit with board approval. This November, the NTDRA will become known as the Tire Association of North America.
We could argue about this latest move and what it means to the group's core membership—independent tire dealers.
But rather than focus on the fact that the name no longer includes the words ``Tire Dealers & Retreaders,'' we think it's advisable to concentrate on something more important—the ``value'' the association brings to its members.
No matter what the NTDRA is named, its success ultimately will be measured by what members derive from their involvement in it.
The fact is, there are about 20,000 independent tire dealers in the U.S. and another 3,000 or so in Canada and an unknown number in Mexico.
Yet only a small percentage—slightly more than one in 10—has felt compelled to belong to the NTDRA in recent years. Fewer still attended the association's annual convention and trade show.
Mr. Poisson has done a good job reinventing the NTDRA and rekindling enthusiasm for the association.
Now it's time to begin talking about new programs and benefits that will compel tire dealers, retreaders and others to belong to the NTDRA or TANA, as it soon will be known.
If Mr. Poisson and the NTDRA hope to win over the thousands of non-participating tire dealers, they must offer them genuine value, not merely a different name.