The Tire Industry Association (TIA), under the direction of President John Evankovich, is re-energizing its Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) and has named former TIA President Dick Gust as chair.
Gust, who is president of national account sales for Liberty Tire Recycling and a member of the Tire Industry Hall of Fame, served as the EAC’s first chair when it was formed in 2010 as a separate council within TIA. Several years later, TIA folded the council into its government affairs committee (GAC) and is now reinstating it as its own entity within the association. Gust is the current GAC chair.
From the outset, Gust said his goal for the EAC was to create a council of industry experts from various disciplines that could provide strategic information, advisory services, educational programs and government assistance that promote environmental awareness, economic viability and sustainable best practices for every aspect of the tire and rubber industry.
Together, he and Evankovich want to expand the EAC’s educational programs and renew its leadership role in issues relating to the environment and sustainability.
In its first iteration, the EAC developed several best practice and position papers (which can be found on the TIA website) aimed at assisting the industry not only from an environment standpoint, but also serving tire dealers and retailers operationally, Gust said. When Evankovich, an early EAC member, became TIA president for 2018-‘19, he and Gust decided to recreate the council to continue those efforts.
“Clearly the industry, at many levels, is focusing on sustainability and the EAC can serve as an educational source to assist with that,” Gust said. “Also, many state governments are considering legislation that restricts the use of crumb rubber as infill for playing fields. The EAC can work with these governmental agencies to provide accurate data and information regarding the health and safety of crumb rubber.”
A strength of the new EAC is the varied backgrounds of its members, Gust said. “Each brings a special knowledge, unique expertise and industry experience” to the council, he said.
In addition to Gust and Evankovich, the council’s members include:
• Monti Niemi, TDA Manufacturing;
• Charlie Astafan, CM Shredders;
• Farella March, Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma;
• Debra Hamlin, Bridgestone Americas;
• Mary Sikora, Scrap Tire News/Recycling Research; and
• Roy Littlefield IV, TIA director of government affairs.
During a conference call earlier this summer, the council developed a new EAC mission statement, which is: “To identify recycled manufactured products and environmentally sustainable practices within the tire and rubber industry and promote them through outreach (community, industry, stakeholder) and education.”
Gust said the council will meet regularly via conference call and will begin establishing goals and initiatives that align with this mission statement.