FALLS CHURCH, Va.— Longtime retreading industry icon Marvin Bozarth now rules the Blue Grass state … well, sort of, thanks to many of his friends and colleagues in the tire industry.
"The mayor of Kentucky" thing came about at a recent international trade show, according to Doug Conley Jr., vice president and general manager of the Louisville, Ky.-based marketing/advertising firm Shamrock Marketing. That's when one of the international attendees said to Conley, "Marvin is like the mayor of retreading. He can't walk down the retreading hall without being stopped by every person here. Shaking hands, patting backs, kissing babies—he really is 'The Mayor!' "
Bozarth, though a native son of Missouri—not Kentucky—has worked as a consultant with the Tire Industry Association and is past executive director of one of TIA's forerunner organizations, the International Tire & Rubber Association, as well as the American Retreaders Association, which had its headquarters in Louisville.
"And of course in the U.S., Marvin knows everyone in the industry," Conley continued. "So we thought 'The Mayor' was a fitting nickname—and that is what the Shamrock folks and our friends in the industry call him."
In a recent issue of the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau's (TRIB) Voice of Retreading newsletter, TRIB Managing Director David Stevens wrote that "many of our members and readers will recognize the familiar 'brush cut' … of one of the icons of the retreading industry. Marvin has been a huge help to TRIB over the years and to me personally as we've continued to improve TRIB.
"Most recently, he served as our interim managing director as I transitioned into the role and still remains a great resource for all of us in the industry."
To mark his elevation to the lofty position of "Mayor of Kentucky," Bozarth was presented with a framed cartoon portrait commemorating the event. It wasn't really at any formal event, though.
Conley noted that "Marvin has been a big help to me personally and professionally as well as to Shamrock over the years. I thought 'The Mayor' character would be a friendly and fun gesture of thanks. Doug Sr. (Conley's dad) liked (the cartoon) so much—especially Marvin's grin—that he felt obliged to share it with TRIB and the industry via TRIB's Voice of Retreading.
"We presented a framed version of the picture to Marvin in our offices here at Shamrock last month when we had some international colleagues here that have known Marvin for many years. It was informal, but everyone got a great laugh, and I think Marvin really liked it."
Though it may be hard to top being named a state's "mayor," Bozarth numbers among his many accomplishments co-authoring the book, Tire Essentials, a compilation of tire industry information, regulations, technology, terms and definitions.
As for just how old the forever-young and -energetic Bozarth is, Conley answered, tongue firmly planted in cheek: "He celebrates his annual 70th birthday every year."