The death of Pauline Chambers Yost in an auto accident Sept. 1 has ended a tire-industry success story that seems as if it might have been taken from the pages of a Horatio Alger Jr. story.
Mrs. Yost, president and CEO of Tech International, died in a head-on collision near Johnstown, Ohio, that also claimed the life of her husband, Walter Yost, as the couple headed for a weekend outing aboard their boat. Despite this tragedy, her story is one to warm the hearts of family-business owners everywhere.
Early in Tech International's history, Mrs. Yost-a hair dresser by training-worked beside her first husband, Frank Chambers, to develop a business producing tire repair materials. After Mr. Chambers' death in 1972, she took over the helm as president and CEO, building the company in subsequent years into what is said to be the world's largest producer of tire repair and related materials.
Through it all, she never lost sight of her roots in Johnstown nor of her to devotion to principles that have earned Tech International a reputation for product quality and integrity.
Mrs. Yost is the only woman ever inducted into the International Tire Retreading and Repairing Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed in 1999 by the International Tire & Rubber Association, which 11 years earlier also had given her an ``Industry Leadership'' award.
Currently, her name is on a list of 22 nominees, three or four of whom will be inducted into the Tire Dealers Hall of Fame next month at the Las Vegas convention of the Tire Association of North America.
A philanthropist as well as industrial leader, the list of honorary awards she received extends well beyond the tire industry's boundaries. Some of these include the:
* Presidential ``E'' and ``E'' Star awards given by the U.S. Department of Commerce for ``excellence in exporting'';
* State of Ohio's ``Entrepreneur-of-the-year'' award; and
* Induction into the ``Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame.''
No doubt Mrs. Yost was most proud of the company's role in providing employment for residents of the Johnstown area.
``People need a purpose in life,'' she told the audience at her 1999 induction into the retreading and repairing industry's hall-of-fame.
``My true purpose to give employment for those who want to work,'' she continued. ``If you find true purpose, you will find inner peace and love your work.''
Mrs. Yost was just as determined that Tech International remain family-owned and remain headquartered in Johnstown. Mrs. Yost's daughter, Cheryl Chambers Yost, who has taken over as the company's acting president and CEO, has stated that her wishes will be carried out. It's a fitting continuation of a remarkable success story.