Editor's note: Miles Moore has been the Washington reporter for Tire Business since it was founded 37 years ago. Throughout those years, Mr. Moore covered governmental, environmental and court stories, among a host of others, for this publication. He will retire April 1, capping a 43-year career with Crain Communications Inc. We wish him a happy retirement,
On May 30, 1977, I walked into the offices for the first time at One Cascade Plaza in downtown Akron of Rubber & Plastics News, a sister publication of Tire Business.
Ernie Zielasko, the editor and publisher, interviewed me for a position as assistant editor.
I don't remember what Ernie asked me, or what my answers were. I do remember that Ernie called me June 1, offering me the job. I graduated from Ohio University June 11 and started in the Akron office two days later.
Thus was my destiny for the next 43 years, including a move in 1980 to become Washington reporter.
The Crain office has moved several times during those years, and many of the faces have changed, but the mission remains the same: to provide readers in the tire industry with the most accurate information as quickly and readably as possible.
I started so early, Tire Business didn't even exist (it debuted in 1983).
As the Methuselah of the Crain Polymer Group, I can remember when tire makers were fighting for their lives against that outrage perpetrated by the anti-business firebrands in Washington, Uniform Tire Quality Grading.
Now, UTQG is a forgotten set of numbers on every tire sidewall. The tire industry advocated for the next step in government tire ratings — tire fuel-efficiency labeling — and has waited 10 years for its completion.
When I started, half the tires on the road were still bias-ply. Now, the industry is blowing past run-flat and airless tires to 3D modeling.
It reminds me — that WAS a Royal manual that I typed my first stories on. I wonder what museum (or landfill) it landed in.
It's been an eventful 43 years. I have experienced administrations of seven presidents, and I have seen members of Congress rip witnesses and each other to shreds in countless committee meetings.
The most memorable was an enraged Sen. John McCain excoriating Masatoshi Ono, the then-president of Bridgestone/Firestone (now Bridgestone Americas), over the Ford Explorer rollover scandal.
Mr. Ono answered as best he could in a cowed, heavily accented voice, looking like a condemned man — which in a sense he was.
It is hard to imagine a more Kafkaesque experience than being called before a hostile government panel and peppered with questions in a language you barely understand.
I've interviewed people from every corner of the rubber industry, from tire changers to research chemists. My job has taken me to most of the states in the Union, and to Brazil, Finland, Italy, Switzerland and Spain.
What I have discovered, in every case, are people who are passionately dedicated to what they do. In the case of government regulation, for the most part, what they have consistently wanted is a chance to explain how their industry works.
The tension between environmental necessities, on one hand, and the realities of doing business, on the other, has been the constant narrative of my time in Washington.
Above all, I have made lasting friends within the industry and among my colleagues at Crain. These are friends who have helped me through some rough times, and whom I will cherish for the rest of my life.
All of them have a standing invitation to look me up whenever they're in Washington. I'll be around.