LINCOLN, Neb.—Calling it one of the largest tire industry donations of its kind ever, Heafner Tire Group Inc. has given about $350,000 to the University of Nebraska Foundation in honor of tire dealers T.O. and Terry Haas.
The gift will support a number of academic programs at the university through its foundation—a non-profit corporation assisting students, faculty, facilities and programs at the school's four campuses.
Last spring, Heafner acquired the Lincoln-based T.O. Haas Tire Co., primarily a wholesale distributor that turned sales of $104 million last year. The company—founded in 1945 by T.O. Haas and his wife, Terry—operates a retread plant, 30 retail stores and four distribution centers in the Plains States.
Although Mr. Haas, 85, retired more than 20 years ago, he remains active in the company as its "goodwill ambassador."
Heafner President and CEO Don Roof said the company is proud to be able to help out the University of Nebraska "while at the same time honoring T.O. and Terry Haas, along with the entire Haas organization."
The Haas family has been involved with the Lincoln community and the university for the past 50 years. "We felt that honoring them in this manner continues their example of service," he continued, while reaffirming Heafner's commitment to the Lincoln area.
Randy Haas, president of Heafner's T.O. Haas Division, said his parents "have long loved and supported this company, the community and the University of Nebraska." The donation, and the benefits it will provide the university and its students, "is a nice way to recognize their contributions."
Heafner, based in Charlotte, N.C., is the country's largest independent marketer of tires and tire-related products. It had 1999 total revenues in excess of $1 billion.
In 1997, T.O. Haas was the recipient of the "Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award," presented annually by Tire Business to honor an independent dealer or retreader who has made a difference in his or her community through charitable and/or civic contributions.