On a personal note, 2020 was, to paraphrase a famous author, the best of times and the worst of times.
My mother passed away in early March, four days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Unlike so many others who died last year, we were able to give her a proper sendoff.
Four months later, I found out my daughter was going to make me a grandfather for the first time (this March). And in October, my son was married (celebration still to come).
This year offers so much promise. With vaccines being distributed, there is hope that the post-holiday spike will diminish significantly.
Industry travel, however, won't begin anytime soon. The first four months of the year generally are the busiest for travel, but already several conferences and trade shows either have been put on hold, will be held virtually or have been postponed indefinitely. Goodyear, in fact, held its annual conference in early December, less than 11 months after its last one was held live, in Colorado.
Already, two tire makers have scheduled virtual rollouts of new products in January. More are sure to follow.
Perhaps by May or June, as warm weather returns to the majority of the country and vaccinations become more available, life begins to return to a new normal. Maybe by then, travel will resume.
And by early November, let's hope the industry gathers once again for the SEMA and AAPEX Shows in Las Vegas, and finally, we can celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Tire Industry Association as it was meant to be.
In the meantime, we at Tire Business will continue to find ways to interact with our readers, no matter what the future holds.
In February, we will launch the first of several livestreams, our live, online discussions about relevant industry topics.
We know that one of the hot topics in the industry, regardless of the state of the economy, is finding and retaining great talent. That will be the foundation, so to speak, for our first livestream of 2021: TB Reporter Kathy McCarron will discuss that topic with TechForce Foundation CEO and President Jennifer Maher.
The pair will offer sound advice and tips for helping dealers find strong talent, as well as hear what TechForce is doing to address that issue.
The livestream will be held Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. ET. Look for more details soon.
We have a host of other great topics on the 2021 agenda, including the commercial tire market; franchising; light truck tires; and a look at COVID-19 and its effect on the industry, a year later.
We'll also host the annual livestream on our expansive Global Tire Report in the fall.
We plan to add a new wrinkle to livestreams this year: Quarterly roundtable discussions with tire dealers. We'll not only talk about the state of the business, but also examine issues and challenges that affect all dealers.
We hope to have dealers represented not only from every region of North America, but also from the small, one-location independent shops to multi-location dealerships.
If you're interested in participating in one of those dealer-driven livestreams, please email me at [email protected] We would love to hear your perspective.
If there is one thing that we've come to understand about this industry, it's that dealers love to hear from other dealers. We hope to provide that opportunity for some networking, especially in these times of limited travel.
Here's to a happy, prosperous New Year. Thank you for reading Tire Business.