One of the sure signs that autumn is approaching is when our managing editor asks me to write something to encourage our readers to nominate candidates for our Rubber Industry Executive of the Year Award.
Yes, fall is falling. Roll out your candidates.
This year I thought I'd mention how we go about choosing the winner, the criteria and circumstances that seem to be important. But first, a word about what the award itself.
Each year the editorial staff of RPN chooses an executive in the North American rubber product industry who has led his or her company to success, or helped further the industry.
It's a very informal nominating process. Just give us some info on the person, who he or she is, why they should be a candidate. Send your nomination by email to [email protected] or [email protected], by fax to 330-836-2831, or snail mail to me at 1725 Merriman Road, Suite 300, Akron OH 44313.
The award is intended for execs from rubber product manufacturing companies, not the supplier sector. Nov. 4 is the nomination cutoff date.
The process of selecting a winner goes like this: The editors gather at a bar, drink scotch and smoke cigars and talk sports until it is closing time. We call a cab, and before it arrives, pull a name out of a hat, and bingo, we have our winner.
Naw, just kidding. But that would be fun.
Actually, the editors—and there are very few of them, five or six at most—name people they consider viable candidates, and we add in nominations from our readers. Typically, if a staff member nominates someone, they "gently" try to talk other people into voting for their favorite. I find it interesting and am pleased, though, that a number of the winners have been nominated by our readers, several of whom previously were unknown to the editors.
In the 23 years we've gone through this process, I notice some trends in the voting: editors like execs from smaller companies; big tire company CEOs/presidents are quite visible, and often get consideration; executives who refuse to talk to us don't get many votes; management styles vary, and do carry weight with the editors; a number of very qualified candidates never did get the award.
We've never chosen a woman or minority for this award, although I expect that will change eventually. Then again, how many are running companies in the rubber industry?
Of note is that while the RPN editorial department is not a democratic organization—I consider myself a "benevolent despot"—I'm just one vote in this process, and have no veto. The best I can do is try to persuade staff members one way or the other. That's not particularly easy, since journalists generally are stubborn.
Most of the winners continue with their successful careers, although a few had awful things happen to them and/or their companies after we chose them. Such is fate. I can say with all honesty that everyone chosen deserved the award.
If that fits the profile of someone you know at a rubber product company, let us know.
Noga is the editor of Rubber & Plastics News.