This is the first of two parts on the Tire Industry Association's new president.
Bob Malerba may be the incoming president of the Tire Industry Association (TIA), but he doesn't have a presidential agenda. Not one, at least, that departs in any way from the association's stated strategic plan.
``I'm not out to make a name for myself, because I already have one,'' said Mr. Malerba, vice president of operations at Berlin Bandag Inc. in Meriden. His job as TIA president, he said, will be to serve and expand the TIA membership, no more and no less.
``Now is the time to revisit the strategic plan, which is the business plan for the industry,'' he said, although he added that TIA's standing committees have been doing a great job of implementing the plan all along.
Mr. Malerba became treasurer of the former Tire Association of North America (TANA) in 1999.
``I was elected by the same people I worked side by side with,'' he said. ``You could say that was the happiest day of my professional career.''
He worked his way up in the usual progression to the presidency this year. Like his past few predecessors, however, the association whose presidency he is assuming is not the same association of which he first became an officer.
>From his earliest days, Mr. Malerba knew both the tire dealer and retreader sides of the business very well, working for his father at their dealership, Silver City Tire Co. Inc. in Meriden.
``I think my father was the first tire dealer member ever of the Retreaders' Hall of Fame'' he said.
When merger talks began between TANA and the International Tire & Rubber Association, it was natural for Mr. Malerba to play a role in the negotiations, though he insists he never took a leading role in them.
``I wasn't on the merger committee, but I was one of the first people asked to build relationships between members of the two organizations,'' he said. ``Pam Fitzgerald (the TANA president at the time) asked me and Larry Sisson (Becker Tire & Treading Co.)-God rest his soul-to do that for the organization. I guess you could say we worked behind the scenes.''
Mr. Malerba spoke with admiration of his fellow members on the TIA board of directors and executive committee, particularly those who will in turn succeed him as president: Peggy Fisher (``the first woman freely elected by the TIA board,'' he said); Paul Hyatt (TIA's first international president-to-be, from Toronto); and Dan Beach, president of the Tire Alliance Groupe (TAG).
Most of them played a role in developing the TIA strategic plan, he said, and he knows them to be as committed to its success as he is.
``I intend to steer the ship toward total acceptance of our strategic plan goals,'' he said. ``I plan to get out on the road and meet with the state tire dealer associations, the individual dealers, the suppliers, the manufacturers.
``I hope to help build the identity we need,'' he added. ``The goal should be to get TIA to be a household word, at least with the people who rightly should be members. Right now we have no more than 15 percent of our potential membership.''
Next: Mr. Malerba discusses a tire industry checkoff program.