Calling the first Tire Industry Association board meeting ``energetic'' and ``positive,'' association officials said the combined boards made progress in developing a long-term strategic plan and future member programs.
The meeting, held June 20-21 in Pinehurst, N.C., was the first time all board members from the Tire Association of North America and the International Tire & Rubber Association came together to discuss the merged groups' business. Most significantly, according to TIA President Steve Disney, the TANA and ITRA boards first voted to become a unified body, then approved bylaws for TIA. TANA and ITRA officially merged July 1.
Ross Kogel, TIA executive vice president, said some of the issues discussed by the group included:
* The creation of two training programs that will be announced at a later time;
* A comprehensive plan for member retention and recruitment;
* A long-term strategic plan, to be approved and finalized at the next board meeting in November; and
* Government affairs efforts, particularly submitting comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
He noted that TIA especially is focusing on potential liabilities to tire businesses because of the Transportation Recall Efficiency, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act and what kinds of standardized training and certification programs would help lower tire dealers' liability.
Mr. Disney said the board reviewed the association's election procedures and officer eligibility, as well as the financial status of the group. He noted that the meeting was very positive as both boards found they had more common interests than not.
``There was a lot of goodwill, a lot of enthusiasm, and I think that our members and the industry have a right to expect a lot from us,'' Mr. Disney said. ``We've got the enthusiasm and momentum to meet those expectations.''
Although TIA isn't ready to disclose the new training and education programs that were discussed, Mr. Disney hinted that ``it would be a good idea'' to develop a passenger and light truck tire training program modeled after ITRA's present commercial tire service training courses.
``I'm not ready to announce that we've done so, but it would be a logical program for us to pursue,'' he said.