EDMONTON, Alberta — Jim Pangle reflects back on his year as president of the Tire Industry Association (TIA) with pride.
Pride at how CEO Dick Gust, who took over TIA's reins in 2022, has excelled as a leader.
"He's made such an impact on the staff and on the training — the whole overall of what TIA has accomplished," Pangle told Tire Business. "My hat's off to Dick."
Pride at having a board of directors that "gelled" and worked together in supporting the tire industry and its dealers, as well as bringing safety and training to a higher level.
"I'm most proud of our board of directors. How we've all come together and have the same goals," he said.
Pangle, senior vice president of operations at Fountain Tire, has been involved with TIA since the 1990s and held a number of leadership roles and served on several committees. He was the second Canadian to hold the position — Paul Hyatt, who served in 2006-07, was the first — and succeeded Mason Hess, director of the global mining division at Purcell Tire & Service Center.
He'll pass on the mantle to Keith Jarman, president of AME International.
"It was fun. I've enjoyed the journey. I'm still passionate about the tire business," Pangle said. "Being on the TIA board and being president has been a learning experience and a pleasure working with all the people there, as well."
The TIA board is well-positioned to tackle some of the biggest issues facing the industry, with ongoing work on electric vehicles (EV), right-to-repair (R2R) legislation and tackling a shrinking and aging workforce, he said.
In June 2022, TIA launched an Electric Vehicle Advisory Council (EVAC) — Pangle was a member — with, as always, a focus on safety and training. Technicians may not know everything involved in servicing an electric vehicle and could easily damage the vehicle or themselves, he said.
"This (EV) wave is going to hit us like a tsunami. We're only seeing the front end of it. There's so much still to come," Pangle said. "We have to be ready, we have to be trained."
TIA is working with government officials to make federal R2R legislation — The Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act (H.R. 906) — a reality.
"I think it's only going to become more critical as we look at electric vehicles (EVs)," Pangle said.
TIA is making some headway in the R2R issue, with government officials beginning to understand it more and listening to the concerns of the tire industry and TIA, he said.
Right-to-Repair isn't just an American issue, he said. What happens in the U.S. often trickles up to Canada, he added.
In July, TIA joined the Auto Care Association (ACA) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) in opposing a "Right-To-Repair Pact" put forward by the Automotive Service Association (ASA), the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCEA) and Alliance for Automotive Innovation (AAI), saying it "does not resolve the core issues faced by consumers in the tire industry."
At the upcoming SEMA Show in Las Vegas, TIA will host a forum on right-to-repair (and electric vehicles) with stakeholders such as tire dealers, manufacturers, suppliers and activists discussing the issue.
TIA's also looking at the future of the industry, focusing on the next generation of potential members.
It's hard to attract new talent to the industry.
Tire mechanics, for example, "are just a breed you can't hire today. There's not nearly enough to go around," he said.
When a dealership needs a new employee, if they aren't hiring someone fresh out of school, they're "stealing" the employee from another shop, he said.
One of Pangle's long-term goals is to try to get "tire mechanic" a registered trade. During his tenure as president, he and Kevin Rohlwing, TIA senior vice president of training, had numerous discussions on how to get the ball rolling, he said.
TIA also is getting in front of the issue by creating a next-gen advisory council — the organization is currently working on establishing a mission statement and stated goals for the group. The association needs to understand what drives and excites this new generation of workers, he said.
"The tire industry is still hard work. And there's a lot of manual work involved, especially when it comes to the commercial vehicles, the off-the-road vehicles. This next generation is a different generation of people coming up," Pangle said.
Pangle got into the industry through sheer persistence — he was working in a oil field in Whitecourt, Alberta, a job he hated, and was tenacious about getting a position at a tire shop in town, stopping in to ask for a job so often that the owner eventually gave him a shot.
From there, Pangle moved on to roles with Goodyear Canada and finally Fountain Tire, where he worked on the store side until 1999 when he became a partner in the business.
Pangle held numerous leadership roles before stepping back about six years ago to let a younger person with good ideas handle the day-to-day job, he said.
"I've loved every bit of it," he said of his decades-long career.
Getting into the tire industry today is more complicated.
"Today, I know it's very different, but in the late '60s and early '70s, if someone believed in you, and you had a good attitude and average aptitude, you could prove that you could do something," he said.
"Now, it takes a lot more educational-wise than just hard work. But back in that era, if you had the attitude and aptitude, you could have opportunities you would never get today."