The Tire Industry Association (TIA) has announced the names of the honorees for the 2018 Hall of Fame and Ed Wagner Leadership Award. The Hall of Fame honorees are: Bob Majewski, president, Sumerel Tire Service Inc. and Arvind Poddar, chairman and managing director, Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT). The 2018 Ed Wagner Leadership Award honorees are Mike Baggett, retired, Yokohama Tire Corp. and Freda Pratt-Boyer, senior auditor, Purcell Tire & Rubber Co.
The inductions will take place at the Tire Industry Honors Awards Ceremony from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, at Paris Las Vegas Hotel. The ceremony is open to all. Reserve complimentary tickets by clicking here. https://www.tireindustry.org/global-tire-expo-sema-show
The Hall of Fame Award is the Tire Industry Association’s highest honor, which recognizes individuals who have made a significant impact within the tire, rubber and transportation industries. The Ed Wagner Leadership Award is presented to individuals or companies that demonstrate leadership or innovation in products and services that foster and promote the tire, retreading and/or tire recycling industries.
“We are honored to present our newest Hall of Fame and Ed Wagner Leadership Award honorees during the 2018 Tire Industry Honors,” said Roy Littlefield, CEO of the Tire Industry Association. “Each honoree has proven to be a key player in the tire industry by contributing as a leader, influencer and trailblazer, all of which serves as the foundation and purpose of both awards. On behalf of the TIA staff, our board and current members, we would like to congratulate each recipient on their outstanding service.”
About the 2018 Hall of Fame Honorees
Bob Majewski – President, Sumerel Tire Service
Majewski is highly respected in the retread industry as a leading expert in both the mold cure and precure processes. In 1985, Majewski worked for Mohawk Rubber as its West Coast regional sales manager and then moved to Hercules Rubber Co. as its West Coast sales manager for the Rubber Division. He was promoted to director of the Hercules/Cedco Equipment division, where he ran the sales, marketing, and manufacturing operations and was awarded two patents, one for a precure sealing ring and another for an adjustable J-hook.
In 1991, he left Hercules to become the technical director of American Retreaders Association (ARA). ARA became the International Tire and Rubber Association (ITRA) and is now the Tire Industry Association (TIA). During his time with ARA, Majewski was responsible for developing and teaching the retread training programs, writing and producing the ARA Retread/Repair Process Manual, writing technical articles for the Retread and Repair Journal, and helping members with technical problems in their retread plants.
In late 1994, he left the ARA and decided to accept an offer to become part owner and vice president of Sumerel Tire Service, in Newport, Kentucky, where was responsible for manufacturing, operations and marketing for their mold cure remanufactured tires called the Acutread Segmented Mold Cure Process, which he designed. A few years later in 1998, he formed the Acutread Alliance Group (AAG) with two other partners to help independent retreaders get into the business of remanufacturing mold cure retreads. In 2002, he became president of Sumerel Tire Service, a position he held for 13 years and has now formed a steering committee that runs Sumerel Tire planning the next transition. In 2014, he sold the AAG/AcuTread Process to Wonderland Tire, one of his longtime partners, and is now technical adviser and vice president of AAG.
Arvind Poddar – Chairman and Managing Director, Balkrishna Industries Ltd.
BKT made a humble beginning in 1987 as a two- and three-wheeler tire manufacturer under Arvind’s father Mahabirprasad Poddar. When Arvind took the reigns in early 2006, he immediately perceived that, to take the company forward complete change in its business model was a must. Poddar decided to expand into the off-highway tire market with a vision to make BKT a global player.
India was deregulating and BKT realized that it could not compete locally, so, Arvind employed India’s combination of engineering skills and production cost arbitrage to build market share overseas. BKT ventured into expanding production with large off-the-road (OTR) tires, which required sizable investment of more than $500 million, equal to the total net worth of the company at that time.
The new plant at Bhuj, in the state of Gujarat, is a testimony of Poddar’s vision and is a tribute to the tire industry. With state-of-art modern equipment and an installed capacity equal to around 80 percent of the other three BKT plants combined, the unveiling of this magnificent plant was widely covered by press in late 2015. More than 83 percent of the production is exported to more than 160 countries.
BKT experienced remarkable growth in terms of revenue as well as profits and became the star company for the investors and shareholders. It filled the needs of the market and sustained the OTR consumers with a quality product and service. The products became the quality epitome, product of choice and befitted best sales rep for the company. BKT now enjoys around 6 percent share of the world OHT market, with a turnover of more than $700 million.
Poddar’s motto is simple – work is worship and his life is an example of truth, simplicity and making actions stronger than words.
2018 Ed Wagner Leadership Award Recipients
Mike Baggett – Retired, Yokohama Tire Corporation
Mike Baggett began his career in the tire industry more than 40 years ago serving the OTR tire industry in all facets of the business, from owning an OTR dealership, to working for three major tire manufacturers. He was instrumental in the introduction of the giant radial tire to the mining industry, as well as working on the development of one of the first OTR Tracking systems at Yokohama.
Prior to his time at Yokohama, Baggett held top-level executive positions with major corporations including Bridgestone, Firestone, Michelin and Cobre Tire. He has also served on the board of directors for the Tire Industry Association (TIA) for nine years and as chairman of the OTR Conference for three terms. He has been a presenter and panel member at many of TIA’s OTR conferences and as an educator and MSHA safety trainer. Baggett retired in April 2017 from Yokohama Tire Corp. as national OTR sales manager.
Freda Pratt-Boyer – Senior Auditor, Purcell Tire & Rubber Co.
Freda Pratt-Boyer began her career in the tire industry in 1972 with Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. Over the course of her career, she has worked in retail, commercial, retread plant and wholesale distribution centers in managerial positions.
Pratt-Boyer has served as operations manager, region manager and is currently senior auditor for Purcell Tire & Rubber. Freda’s years of service are proof of her determination and highlight her ability to promote and advance the standards of the tire industry. She vigorously promotes education, training and customer service to all levels of the tire industry. She has served on the Missouri Tire Industry Association (MTIA) board of directors and is past president of the Tire Industry Association.