Don Blythe has over 50 years of experience in the industry, and is best known for his work as the former Executive Director of the Western Canada Tire Dealers Association. He began his career with Goodyear in 1957; over the next 15 years, he held various operating and sales positions. In 1972, he moved to OK Tire, and took the position of Tire General Manager. He opened his own OK Tire franchise in 1978, and in 1980, he was elected to the OK Tire Board of Directors. He returned to the OK Tire home office as Managing Director in 1982, and a year later, he was named President. Also in 1982, he was elected to the Board of the Western Canada Tire Dealers Association. He served as the association’s President from 1995 – 1997, and he was the Executive Director from 2003 until he retired in 2009. Don has also been a leader in scrap tire recycling within Canada, and has been instrumental in starting several scrap tire programs, primarily in British Columbia.
Hall Of Fame 2010
Raymond P. "Gus" Hawkinson, Jr. grew up in the tire industry, and worked in the family business, the Paul E. Hawkinson Company, from the late 1960s up until the time he sold the business in 1999. During these years, he maintained the company’s technical retreading expertise, which was a hallmark of the company. He is also a pioneer in the retreading industry. Starting in 1980, he began his work in the area of non-destructive testing, and he is primarily responsible for developing the nondestructive testing industry standards. His initial patent was issued in 1981. Since selling the family business, he has been a consultant to the tire industry. He has also been a faithful friend to hundreds of retreaders all over the world and has hosted a number of private gatherings for his friends in the tire industry in his Las Vegas home.
Nick Hodel is a former retreader and tire retailer, who has been in the tire business for over 40 years. He started in the tire industry in his family-owned tire business as a teenager and took over the business in his early 20’s, after his father’s passing. He pooled resources with three other local tire dealers to buy large volumes of tires at discounted prices – this was the beginning of Northwest Tire Factory. As a co-founder, he was instrumental in growing this buying group from four stores in the 1980’s to over 200 stores operating in 13 western states by 2008. He sold his retail store, Portland Tire Factory, when he was hired as Chief Operations Officer by the group in 1995. His longtime relationships within the tire business helped the young and growing business to have access to the best tire brands available and establish relationships with key industry players. He rose through the ranks and served as CEO for 11 years before retiring. He is now the President of Tire Performance Indicators, a company that has developed a patented product that helps drivers visually identify key performance loss because of tread wear. He also has served as President of the Tire Association of North America (a forerunner organization of TIA), President of the Northwest Tire Dealers Association, and on the board of directors for the Northwest Tire Dealers Association, National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (another forerunner organization of TIA), Tire Association of North America, and the Tire Industry Association.
Russell MacCleery has been a steadfast champion of the tire industry, at both the state and federal levels. He is an association veteran, having worked for such prestigious organizations as the American Petroleum Institute and the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association, where he managed the DC office, with a staff of 162 people. In 1979, he left there and went to NTDRA (a predecessor organization of TIA) to set up their government affairs program. Over the next five years, he was instrumental in the passage of two key pieces of federal legislation – one that allows for a tax refund on rubber lost in the retread process, and another that involves voluntary tire regulation. He has also made an impact on legislation involving issues such as: retread limitation, winter tire definition and use, tread depth minimum, tire stud limitations, and more. Spreading his gospel on the importance of tire industry professionals becoming involved in the political process, he has spoken at countless gatherings of tire dealers and retreaders.
Gary Nash began his career in a management position with Goodyear Tire’s Retail Division. He then moved on to open Brad Regan Tire’s first Nashville outlet, where he eventually created a 36-person operation with over $800,000 in monthly revenues. In 1980, he became District Manager of Commercial Sales for Bridgestone Tire. He left Bridgestone in 1994 and became Senior Vice President and a Board member of Fletcher’s Cobre Tire, where he was responsible for a $300 million dollar growth in annual sales, as well as for several large acquisitions. After a short, successful stint at Purcell Tire, he started with his current employer, Yokohama Tire, in 1998. In keeping with his previous positions, he quickly rose through the ranks to his current position of Vice President of OTR Sales. During his tenure, sales for the OTR division have seen a 61% increase, and revenues have jumped an astounding 200% – levels that have been previously unseen at Yokohama. He has also been the keynote speaker at both the 2005 and 2009 TIA OTR Conferences.
Jerry White began his career in the tire industry in 1942, when he was only 11 years old, working in the family store, which would eventually be known as White Tire Supply, in Beaumont, Texas. From being ahead of the curve on learning about servicing radial tires, or becoming a TIA-Certified ATS Instructor, Jerry was living proof that one trait successful people have in common is that they never stop learning and asking questions. Jerry also applied the knowledge he gained to become a pioneer in many different areas, including developing the use of TyrFill, a polyurethane material, to fill mine and OTR tires in order to make them flat-proof. He also gave back to the tire industry in numerous ways, including serving as a Board member of NTDRA, and as a Board member of ASE. He was especially involved in the Texas Tire Dealers Association (TTDA), where he was a founding Board member, and also served on their Executive Committee and their Small Business Advisory Committee, in addition to being an extensive supporter of their TTDA Scholarship program. He was named the TTDA Tire Dealer of the Year in 2002, and he was the first recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.