WASHINGTON — This year's Tire Manufacturing Ambassadors' program, which was held in Washington June 24-25, featured the most diverse group of participants in the event's history, according to U.S. Tire Manufacturing Association (USTMA) President and CEO Anne Forristall Luke.
"We have people from Des Moines, from Texarkana, from California and New York — literally the length and breadth of America's tire industry," Ms. Luke said in a June 24 telephone interview.
"There's diversity of age, ethnicity and position," she said. "We have senior industrial engineers, tire engineers, tire builders, people from customer service and global trade compliance. This year's group really demonstrates the breadth and diversity of our industry."
Personnel from 11 tire manufacturing companies, all members of the USTMA, participated in the third annual Tire Manufacturing Ambassadors' program sponsored by the USTMA.
All of the ambassadors were hand-picked by USTMA members, based on criteria the association provided, to go to more than 25 congressional offices with USTMA officials and meet with elected officials and their staffs.
All the elected officials represented states and districts with strong manufacturing presences, according to Ms. Luke.
"As in past years, we were looking for ambassadors with leadership ability, a dedication to safety and to the industry, and a history of community service," she said.
The ambassadors discussed issues of importance to tire manufacturers, as well as the economic contributions tire manufacturing brings to national, state and local economies.
Perhaps the most important issue this year was the new Congressional Tire Caucus, which was founded in June by Reps. Joe Wilson, R-N.C., and Jim Cooper, D-Tenn.
The ambassadors discussed the caucus and urged the officials to join, Ms. Luke said. Several members of Congress have expressed interest, she said, but so far the only one to confirm his membership in the caucus is Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill.
The U.S. tire manufacturing industry accounts for more than 737,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly, at 56 tire plants in 17 states, generating more than $27 billion in annual sales. The industry directly supports more than a quarter-million jobs representing almost $20 billion in wages, it said.
This year's tire ambassadors were:
- Jennie Baldwin, global trade compliance, Michelin North America Inc.
- Nelson Beato, corporate headquarters, Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc.
- Wesley Billups, components prep TT, Goodyear.
- Johnny Densmore, finishing coordinator, Pirelli Tire North America Inc.
- Dwight Hansen, senior technical customer service, Toyo Tire Holdings of America Inc.
- Jay Johnson, logistics technology lead, Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C.
- Bryan Lawson, tire building division manager, Yokohama Tire Corp.
- Jared Lofland, area business manager, DSM-Curing, Bridgestone Americas.
- Queenie Edwards Miller, industrial engineer, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.
- Tony Quarles, senior tire engineer, Giti Tire (U.S.A.) Ltd.
- Alexander Stojanovski, continuous improvement specialist, Sumitomo Rubber Industries Inc.
Hankook Tire America Corp. did not send a representative this year, Ms. Luke said, but intend to in the future.