This continuing series profiles individuals who were prominent tire company executives, but are now retired and no longer active in the industry. Readers are invited to suggest names for future articles.
The word ``retired'' means different things to different people. For some it's a life of leisure and a complete break from a long career. For George Aucott it is the continuing day-to-day enjoyment of the challenges of business.
The Philadelphia native, who worked for Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. and its subsidiaries for 35 years, is no longer active in the rubber industry, but he's found many new areas to explore.
Since retiring from Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. as CEO in 1991, Mr. Aucott has assumed several new careers in Florida and Arizona.
After moving to Naples, Fla., where he and his wife Ruth had a condominium while he was still working in Akron, he started two business ventures: the Saturn Finance Co., which makes auto loans in Bonita Springs, Fla., and a home-building firm in Tampa.
His most recent venture involves launching a new stock exchange (NIPHIX) which provides Internet trading opportunities for companies that have been relegated to trading only through pink sheet and bulletin board activities.
In addition, he provides enthusiastic expertise on the advisory board of Universal Technical Institute. The school has campuses in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston and Chicago, where some 6,000 students are learning to become mechanics for high-performance automobiles, diesel equipment, motorcycles, air conditioning and computers.
Add to that more typical retiree participation on country club and condominium boards, a little tennis, golf and bridge, some domestic and international travel, and visits with three children and four grandchildren, and you have a man on the move.
Mr. Aucott joined Firestone in 1956 in Pottstown, Pa., following graduation from Ursinus College.
His career was interrupted almost immediately by a three-year stint in the Army where he spent considerable time learning Russian and serving as a translator in Germany.
After returning to Firestone, he transferred to Akron in 1966 and began a steady climb up the corporate ladder with key stops in Decatur, Ill.; Detroit; Indianapolis and Hamilton, Ont., where he was president of Firestone Canada.
He became executive vice president of Firestone in 1986 with responsibility for world tire operations. When Bridgestone purchased the company, Mr. Aucott became president and CEO. He retired in March 1991.
Two years later, he got involved with Motor Coach Industries (MCI) in Phoenix, a company that started in the 1920s and now boasts a market share of more than 50 percent, manufacturing practically all the coaches used by Greyhound Bus Lines.
Mr. Aucott took the company public in 1993 and presided over a merger with Dina, a coach and truck manufacturer in Mexico, and became CEO of Dina/MCI after the merger.
His experience with the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) may be the most fulfilling, however.
``It's terrific doing things for young people,'' Mr. Aucott said.
UTI graduates can look forward to good-paying jobs with auto dealers carrying BMW, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Porsche and other lines.
The school continues to expand by building a campus in Orlando and expects to open a new school in Charlotte, N. C., in conjunction with NASCAR.
In Phoenix, a merger with the Motorcycle Institute has resulted in the training of top-rated motorcycle mechanics. Projections call for 10,000 students by the turn of the century.
Business aside, Mr. and Mrs. Aucott have traveled throughout the western U.S., Mexico, Scotland and Ireland, with a Panama Canal cruise planned before this year's end.
At age 64, with more than 40 years' business and entrepreneurship behind him, Mr. Aucott isn't ready to retire. There are too many challenges and opportunities on his agenda.