The International Tire & Rubber Association has a tough task ahead in replacing Executive Director Marvin Bozarth, who intends to step down from that post at the end of the year.
While he wasn't the prototype association executive when the American Retreaders Association (now renamed the ITRA) hired him 10 years ago, Mr. Bozarth proved to be an effective and influential leader for the organization.
Mr. Bozarth clearly understood retreading when he was promoted to ITRA's top paid position, after serving the association for a year as technical director. Since 1958, he had been involved in nearly every aspect of the tire business, including spending 20 years at Purcell Tire & Rubber Co., where he served as vice president of manufacturing and ran the dealership's seven retread plants.
What was unclear was how well he would handle the varied duties of the executive director's position and whether he could lead the association as it broadened its scope beyond retreading to include scrap tires, tire recycling and the commercial tire business.
But those concerns soon were dismissed as Mr. Bozarth proved adept in handling all aspects of the job. This included running the group's annual convention and trade show, serving as an industry spokesperson, handling the writing and editing chores of The Tire Retreading/Repair Journal and working with ITRA's board and various councils.
During his tenure, the association also established its highly successful Commercial Tire Service and Training Certification Program for educating individuals who service truck tires and wheels. To date, that program has trained and certified more than 4,500 technicians and nearly 700 instructors nationwide.
But beyond these accomplishments, what impressed many during Mr. Bozarth's tenure has been his unquestioned integrity and honesty.
You know when dealing with him that he is a man of his word-something he has proven throughout the years.
Not everything at ITRA has been perfect during Mr. Bozarth's watch. Attendance at the group's annual convention and trade show has declined steadily in the past few years as industry consolidation dramatically reduced the number of independent retreaders in the U.S., the traditional backbone of the organization.
ITRA knows it must act quickly to reverse this trend.
But with the convention moving to an every-other-year schedule, that job now will fall to the next executive director and the association's board.
In the meantime, until he steps down, you can be sure Mr. Bozarth will do all he can to leave ITRA in the best shape possible. You can take his word on that.