LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Edward J. Wagner, owner of Louisville-based Tire Technical Services Inc. and a former managing director of the American Retreaders Association (ARA), plans to retire at the end of this year.
Following a tire-industry career spanning more than a half century, the 76-year-old Mr. Wagner told Tire Business he hopes to wind up his business activities in December and begin devoting more time to family, travel and personal interests.
Once each week, Mr. Wagner volunteers his services in a soup kitchen run by St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Louisville, which often serves free meals to as many as 200 hungry visitors a day.
Since stepping down as the ARA's paid administrator in 1986, he has been serving as an expert witness in tire liability cases. Mr. Wagner said some of his cases may drag over into next year, awaiting trial.
A life-long tire and retreading industry veteran, he spent his high school years working at his family's tire dealership, Fort Western Tire Co. in Augusta, Maine.
Later, following a stint in the U.S. Air Force during World War II and studies at Boston University, he took part in Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.'s management training program in Akron.
In the decades to follow, Mr. Wagner's career took him from Firestone to subsequent posts at Armstrong Rubber Co., the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (as director of its Tire Retreading Institute), MacGregor Tire Co. in Flint, Mich., and Super Mold Corp. in Lodi, Calif.
In 1966, he purchased Retreading Consultant Services Inc. from Louisville Retreaders Conference co-founder George R. Edwards, assuming the long-term contract Mr. Edwards' company had to administer the ARA's financial and other affairs. That included putting on the annual retreading conference and publishing The Retreaders Journal, a monthly technical magazine.
Succeeding Mr. Edwards as the ARA's chief administrative official, Mr. Wagner continued to serve in that capacity for 20 years—the longest period anyone has served in that role to date.