PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.When Glen Nicholson had a choice between finishing his marketing degree at the University of Central Florida or taking a full-time job at a tire store, it turned out to be the easiest choice of his life.
I'd already decided I wanted to run a tire store, Mr. Nicholson told Tire Business. Within 18 months of accepting the job as an auto technician with an NTW franchisee in Orlando, he was doing just that.
Mr. Nicholson rose through the ranks of the tire retailing industry until, in 2013, he was named senior director, retail training at TBC Corp. That same year, he was elected secretary of the board of directors of the Tire Industry Association (TIA). In the first week of November, at the Global Tire Expo-Powered by TIA in Las Vegas, he will begin his year as TIA president.
The son of a career Navy man, Mr. Nicholson and his family moved frequently during his childhood and youth to towns near Naval bases in Virginia, Florida and California. Upon graduating from high school in Burke, Va., he left for college in Orlando. During his sophomore year, he began a part-time job as a tire technician at Allied Tire Sales, which led to the job offer from NTW during his senior year.
Mr. Nicholson worked for various tire retailing companies over the years, and was a multi-store manager when TBC offered him a job in 2002 teaching sales and store management for the company's Tire Kingdom subsidiary.
According to Mr. Nicholson, this wasn't his first teaching assignment. When I worked for Allied Tire in Orlando, I received a three-month assignment to go around to all the 45 stores Allied had at the time, to teach tire sales, he said. That's how I first got the bug for trainingI decided I liked doing that. So when I was offered the job at TBC, I decided that was something I'd like to do.
Mr. Nicholson was promoted to director of training for all of TBC in 2005, and was named senior director eight years later.
An acknowledged expert in his field, Mr. Nicholson has delivered speeches at the Clemson University Global Tire Industry Conference and elsewhere on what technicians and employers really want and need from training courses. He has served on the TIA Training and Education Committee, but readily admits that Kevin Rohlwing, TIA senior vice president of training, doesn't need his help.
Kevin does an outstanding job of running our training organization, he said. I certainly can't take any credit for what he and his team have developed.
Mr. Nicholson said he does share input from TBC's dealer organization with Mr. Rohlwing and his staff as a representative model of what tire dealers seek from TIA education and training programs.
As for the TIA presidency, Mr. Nicholson said his No. 1 priority will be to seek as much input as possible from TIA members on the programs and benefits they want from the Bowie, Md.-based trade group.
We need more input from our membership as to what issues are important to them, he said. My opinion isn't nearly as important as the opinions of our members. My goal will be to find out what topics are of high importance to our members.
One of the items on which Mr. Nicholson will seek member input is Federal Lobby Day, which TIA and several other transportation-related associations sponsored on Capitol Hill last Feb. 5, and whether it offers sufficient benefits to TIA members.
Mr. Nicholson himself is totally in favor of Federal Lobby Day. My opinion is that it was very successful and it provided a lot of value to members, he said.
The controversy over mandatory tire registration is also an issue of importance to Mr. Nicholson, and one he feels has become skewed against TIA members.
Recalled tire recovery is one of the most important issues in the tire industry right now, he said. What I don't feel is that tire registration by itself is a significant part of the solution.
If all we talk about is registration, we lose the bigger picture, he said. We shouldn't be looking at only one piece of the puzzle.
Mr. Nicholson lives in the Palm Beach area with his wife Barbara. He has a son, Brandon, 30, and a stepson, Craig, 24.
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