Harvey Brodsky has formed the Retread Tire Association (RTA), a competing retread advocacy organization to the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB), from which he was dismissed as managing director.
In an unusual turn of events, Mr. Brodsky e-mailed many industry players Oct. 22 that he was organizing the new 501(c)(6) non-profit entity, which he pledged would be dedicated to promoting and expanding retreading and proper tire repairing throughout the world with no closed doors and no closed meetings.
The papers to form the RTA were officially signed Oct. 27, Mr. Brodsky told Tire Business. A five-member board of directors will govern the new group, and he said four of the board members are in place.
We are here to stay, big time, Mr. Brodsky said. We have a lot of plans, and it's not me alone. It's not a one-man band. I have a staff and we are going to move forward. The people who are going to be working with me are very conversant with the retread industry. No learning curves are going to be necessary.
Because a fifth board member still needs to be selected before the new RTA can purchase D&O (directors and officers) insurance, Mr. Brodsky declined to name the board members. RTA's website, www.retreadtires.org, should also go live in the next few weeks. The new association will be funded, in part, by membership dues.
Mr. Brodsky's announcement (see letter on page 22) also detailed his account of how he was let go from TRIB on Oct. 5. Asked why he chose to disclose details of the event two weeks later, Mr. Brodsky said he was trying to take the high road but the other side was not taking the high road, and he felt obligated to let retreaders know his side of the story.
Since I sent (the e-mail) I must say that I have been overwhelmed and really humbled because I have had so many positive comments and so many people that have contacted me, Mr. Brodsky said, adding that he felt it necessary to clear up misconceptions and respond to innuendos in order to move forward.
He noted that any retreader who has contacted him or will contact him for more information has received a long letter regarding his dismissal from TRIB. Two retreaders in particular, he said, who have expressed support and are joining RTA are Charlie Creighton of Colony Tire Corp. and Dave Richards of Canton Bandag Co., as well as some international retreaders.
Mr. Brodsky, who will be 75 in December, said RTA has nothing to do with his ego but about what he loves. It has to do with the fact that it made me feel good because I have been doing as much as I could from my heart for years for our members. I love these guys. I love the industry. I thrive on defending the industry.
He declined to disclose what RTA will do, other than to say, We're going to be offering things that the other association never offered, and we're going to do it better than ever before.
TRIB President Mike Berra Jr. said he thought it was unfortunate that Mr. Brodsky has chosen to create a competing association. People supporting the industry is good. People defending the industry is good, but I think he's going to find out that this industry is not going to support two associations. And I know where our funding is coming from and I'm confident in our funding.
Regarding Mr. Brodsky's e-mail detailing his dismissal, Mr. Berra said: There are so many half-truths and unfactual statements in there that I wouldn't know where to begin.
Mr. Brodsky, who for nearly 30 years has defended the retread industry from negative publicity, has transferred that same fervor into defending himself. His e-mail details a disagreement with the TRIB board concerning holding a membership meeting at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, but it also acknowledges he made mistakes that he claimed weren't immoral nor did they harm TRIB.
Audio of Mr. Brodsky's comments on his mistakes can be heard on Tire Business' News Minute video.
One of those mistakes, he said, was letting TRIB's D&O insurance lapse, which he said was due to being overworked and hence he overlooked it.
It's back in place and there were no consequences, he added. I can't say more than that.
However, Mr. Berra disagreed with Mr. Brodsky's assessment that his mistakes had no adverse effect on TRIB. He cannot state that with confidence at this time, Mr. Berra said.
Mr. Berra also said that although Mr. Brodsky has noted he wasn't given a reason for why he was let go from TRIB, he in fact knows exactly the circumstances that led to his dismissal.
When Mr. Brodsky cited in the e-mail that Mr. Berra and TRIB board member Don Schauer led him to a coffee shop across the street from TRIB headquarters to discuss his dismissal, Mr. Berra said Mr. Brodsky told both of them, I know I've done this to myself.
The e-mail shows a point of contention regarding the TRIB membership meeting, as Mr. Brodsky claimed he was told by Mr. Berra to cancel the TRIB membership meeting in Las Vegas one day after sending a notification of its schedule. He said he was fired by TRIB a day later.
Since Mr. Brodsky's dismissal, TRIB interim managing director Marvin Bozarth has said the annual membership meeting mandated by TRIB by-laws occurred during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., last March and again will be held at that venue in 2011.
Mr. Brodsky repeated to Tire Business what another unnamed individual asked him about the TRIB meeting.
This person said, 'Isn't it interesting that they hold membership meetings where no TRIB members would generally go?' How many TRIB members do you think go to a trucking show? Maybe three or four, and most of those come to help TRIB in their booth. Other than that, why would a retreader go to a trucking show when he's represented by a retread association?
This person said, 'Why don't they have a membership meeting at SEMA where all the retreaders are going to be? Or at ITEC (International Tire Exhibition & Conference)? What are they hiding?' And that's a very good question.
Mr. Berra declined to comment on the membership meeting issue. We're focusing on TRIB, he added. We're not focusing on what Mr. Brodsky is doing.
The war of words between the two men culminated in an Oct. 28 e-mail from Mr. Brodsky that included a message Mr. Berra sent to a third party, which Mr. Brodsky called derogatory. The e-mail can be read in full on www.tirebusiness.com.