OAKVILLE, Ontario (Jan. 18, 2011)—Thomas P. Buckley, owner and founder of the former Industrial Tires Ltd., died Jan. 14 at the age 78.
Buckley began his career with Goodyear in the 1950s and quickly identified with the firm's press-on industrial tire offerings. He determined that the long-term focus of such multinational companies as Goodyear would not be on the niche industrial tire market, so in 1958 he formed ITL as a Canadian-based importation and distribution company.
He signed a technical sharing arrangement with Monarch Rubber Co. in 1965 and began manufacturing the forklift tires at ITL's plant in Mississauga, Ontario. ITL purchased the industrial tire division of Uniroyal Tire Corp. in 1978 and expanded direct marketing in the U.S.
In 1985 he acquired the then-named Teledyne Monarch's remaining shares of ITL and focused on global expansion. Under Buckley's leadership, ITL entered into technical sharing agreements with major European solid tire manufacturing firms.
“Ultimately, Tom's direction led to the installation of a state-of-the-art solid tire manufacturing facility in mainland China, creating a truly global solid tire manufacturing presence,” said his son, Tab Buckley.
He continued as CEO until 1997, when he sold ITL to Cascade Corp. He retired at the end of that year. “I don't have any regrets and I had a good time doing it,” Tom Buckley said at the time of his retirement. “The thought process is to see where the market is going and get there before it arrives.”
Tab Buckley said his father would have wanted to recognize the employees of ITL and to let them know how proud he was to represent the company and the products they produced.
“Tom Buckley was one of those engaging and visionary people who changed the industry and the way customers viewed its products on the strength of what he believed it could and should achieve,” Tab Buckley said.
Besides Tab, Buckley is survived by Jean, his wife of 60 years; sons Sean and Robert; daughter Wendie; and their families.