LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Dec, 27, 2001)—The International Tire & Rubber Association announced that Ross Kogel will assume the post of Interim Executive Vice President Jan. 1, replacing current ITRA Executive Director Marvin Bozarth, who'll retire Dec. 31.
Mr. Kogel also is executive vice president of the Tire Association of North America, which will merge with the ITRA in July, provided members of both associations approve the move.
Following his retirement, Mr. Bozarth will assume part-time duties for the Louisville-based trade group as senior technical consultant. Mr. Kogel, in turn, is to become executive vice president of the combined association, provided members of the two organizations OK the merger in balloting during the coming weeks.
ITRA President Tom Raben said both appointments will accelerate the merger process. “I'm thrilled to have Marvin remain on staff,” he said. “He is one of the foremost technical experts in the tire industry, and he will be a tremendous asset for the new organization.”
Mr. Raben added that the addition of Mr. Kogel to ITRA's administrative staff also will expedite the merger. “Ross has been a key contributor to TANA's success over the past few years and has proven to be a very talented executive. This change will help us get a head start on merging ITRA and TANA.”
Sixty-five-year-old Mr. Bozarth, a veteran of more than four decades in the tire retreading and repair business, has been part of ITRA's Louisville-based administrative staff since 1990 and its executive director since January 1991. Prior to joining ITRA, he was vice president of manufacturing for Potosi, Mo.-based Purcell Tire & Rubber Co., where he had worked for 20 years.
Earlier in the year, when announcing Mr. Bozarth's plans to step down at the end of 2001, ITRA said he has been involved in nearly every aspect of the tire business, having sold and serviced virtually all types of tires before specializing during recent years in the retreading and repair of commercial truck and large off-the-road tires.
Mr. Bozarth, ITRA said, has installed and managed some of North America's largest retread plants and assisted in the development of several new products and systems to improve retread and repair processes. He has operated numerous types of retreading equipment, including FlexCure, mold cure and precure systems, the association said.
Born Dec. 10, 1936, in Paris, Mo., the youngest of 12 children, Mr. Bozarth grew up on the family's farm, attending a one-room schoolhouse through the seventh grade. After high school, he served in the U.S. Army from 1955-58—an experience Mr. Bozarth credits with having changed his life for the better.
“When I entered the Army, I was just a clumsy farm kid who didn't know anything,” Mr. Bozarth said. He immediately found Army life to his liking. “I learned quickly, becoming an instructor (in the use of small arms and explosives) and developed confidence in myself,” he said. “My coordination—everything—improved. I can't say enough about what the Army did for me.”
Not long after leaving the Army in 1958, young Mr. Bozarth entered the tire business by taking a job with the MFA (Missouri Farmers Association) Oil Co. in Columbia, Mo. There, he got his first taste of retreading in the company's shop. He left that job for a short time to work for the city of Columbia, installing electrical service and water lines in new homes and construction sites. But soon he returned to MFA—and never left the tire business again.
About six months later, the company asked the 22-year-old to take charge of its retread plant, including the supervision of its 23 employees. “I didn't know beans about what I was doing,” Mr. Bozarth now recalls with a chuckle. “I was as green as they come. I had to learn a lot in a hurry.” It was the first of many learning experiences in retreading for Mr. Bozarth, who recalls attending some “excellent” training classes sponsored by Uniroyal Tire Co. and the “foremen´s institutes” sponsored by the American Retreaders Association (now known as ITRA).
In 1965, Mr. Bozarth took a job with Community Tire in St. Louis, where he remained for the next five years until being hired by Purcell in 1970.
Mr. Bozarth and Donna, his bride of 39 years, expect to remain in Louisville. Likely, they'll be doing some traveling during his coming semi-retirement, Mr. Bozarth said. They particularly enjoy visiting Europe, shunning the Continent's major cities and five-star hotels in favor of small bed-and-breakfast-style hostelries in less-traveled places. “It's not as expensive to stay there and you get to meet some really great people and see how they live,” he said.
The couple has three children: A daughter, Tina, in Missouri; two sons, Ed, in Memphis, Tenn., and Scott, the father of their grandchild, 3-year-old Mitchell in Louisville.