AKRON (March 30, 2009)—The International Tire Exhibition and Conference is expanding to include an aftermarket trade show and conference, and moving to a larger venue in Cleveland.
Previously aimed strictly at tire manufacturers and sponsored by Rubber & Plastics News, the expanded biennial event will involve Tire Business—which, along with RPN, is owned by Crain Communications Inc.—and be supported by the Tire Industry Association.
The tire industry trade show and educational conference will take place Sept. 21-23, 2010, at Cleveland's International Exposition Center. Since its founding in 1994, ITEC has been held at the John S. Knight Center in Akron.
By combining ITEC's traditional manufacturing-oriented activities with the new aftermarket trade show/conference, Crain hopes to create a single event that will “encompass all aspects of the tire industry” from birth to death to rebirth, according to Robert Simmons, ITEC executive director and a Crain vice president..
The event already has four corporate sponsors, Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc., Toyo Tire USA Inc., Pirelli Tire North America Inc. and tire equipment supplier VMI Americas.
TIA will work with the editors of Tire Business to organize the aftermarket educational program.
“ITEC 2010 brings our collective industry of tire professionals, from technology and manufacturing to dealers and distribution channels, together in a serious, working tire show environment that will educate and motivate all participants with a content-rich conference program, world-class exhibit and networking opportunitiesà,” Simmons said.
TIA sees its participation as a way to better educate its membership while giving it them an opportunity to work more closely with tire manufacturers, according to Roy Littlefield, TIA executive vice president. The group's participation won't replace its presence in the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas or the Off-The-Road Tire Conference it organizes annually on its own.
It does hold promise, however, as a possible venue for TIA's commercial tire conference, held the past two years in conjunction with the American Trucking Associations' Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting, he said.
“This is a conference and trade show that every tire dealer and tire seller will want to attend, from the small one-shop dealership to larger multistore chains to wholesale distributors,” said David Zielasko, Crain vice president, publisher of RPN, and editor and publisher of Tire Business.
“It will provide attendees with a compelling trade show, an extensive educational program and a chance to network not only with other tire dealers and retailers, but with those involved in the manufacturing and technology sides of the tire industry,” said Zielasko.
Crain will organize the trade show and conference. RPN Technical Editor Harold Herzlich, who has served as conference chairman of ITEC since its founding, will continue in that role in the manufacturing portion of the program.
Crain hopes to attract a major national figure to be the keynote speaker, Simmons said.
Past ITEC events have averaged attendance of 2,200 to 2,500. Simmons expects 4,000 or more to attend the 2010 conference and exhibition. Exhibition floor space should be more than double the 20,000 square feet occupied in past years at the smaller Akron venue.
While the exhibition emphasis will be on tires and tire-related products and services, other automotive aftermarket suppliers will be welcome as well, Simmons said.
In selecting Cleveland, Crain points to the tire industry's heritage and resources on the ground in northern Ohio. Bridgestone Americas, Goodyear, Kumho and Hankook Tire America Inc. all have technical centers in or near Akron, and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s headquarters and technical center are close by in Findlay, Ohio.
Additionally, Crain sees Cleveland as more affordable.
“In this tight economy,” Simmons said, “dealers have to consider what it costs to attend a show such as this. We're going to highlight this as a value propositionà. We think this offers an alternative to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas.”
As corporate sponsors, Bridgestone, Toyo, Pirelli and VMI will be exhibiting at the show at the IX Center along with participating in other promotional activities.
“With the conference really expanding its mission to focus both on the rubber industry as well as a product showcase for the aftermarket business, this will become an important gathering for engineers, tire dealers and business leaders to discuss industry trends and also to see new products and learn about new tire technologies,” said Christine Karbowiak, executive vice president, community and corporate relations for Bridgestone Americas.
Commenting on Pirelli's sponsorship, Tom Gravalos, vice president, marketing, motorsports and OE sales, said, “We're big supporters of the tire dealer part of our industry—it's how we go to market—so it makes sense for us to support an event that helps dealers thrive.”