It was a smart move. As executive editor he helped us understand what was important to our tire dealer readers. He gave our reporting perspective that only someone with years of industry experience could provide. Chuck is one of the finest men I have ever met: Hardworking, talented, funny and a great story teller. He retired a number of years ago, and I am honored to call him my friend.
One of my vivid memories at Tire Business was in 1986 when corporate raider Sir James Goldsmith made an unfriendly attempt to take over Goodyear, a move that captured the attention of the tire industry. Goodyear ultimately agreed to purchase Goldsmith's 11.5 percent stake in the company, but at a huge cost, forcing the tire maker to depart from its previous diversification course. The story broke just as we were finishing the Nov. 24, 1986, issue.
Recognizing its significance to Tire Business' (and RPN) readers, we ripped up the front page and rewrote several stories, while Chuck penned an analysis piece. We finished sending the pages to the printer after midnight, well after the deadline. But it was worth the effort and exciting to provide our readers with in-depth news coverage just as quickly as the daily newspapers.
I loved covering the tire industry as editor of Tire Business and especially reporting on independent tire dealerships. I appreciated the tire dealer's entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen and how much dealers cared for their customers, often giving them hugs when they entered the shop.
Over the years I pondered why I enjoyed the tire business so much?
The answer, I came to realize, is that tire dealers are genuinely nice people, who give back to their communities and who keep their customers safe by ensuring the tires on their vehicles are running properly. They are professionals, who have built successful businesses and employed many people, working long hours to survive and serve their customers.
At the same time, I wondered why my dad enjoyed the rubber industry so much. He was a former editor and publisher of a tire dealer magazine, but his real passion was rubber.
I figured it out when I became RPN publisher in 2004. Dad had become intrigued by the chemistry of rubber: How men and women working in labs and with different materials and chemicals could alter natural and synthetic rubber making it do whatever was needed to serve a specific use.
This culminated in a special issue in 1984 called: "In tribute to the chemists who tame rubber." What an aptly named issue, which was published in recognition of the Rubber Division's 75th anniversary.
Like my dad, I came to understand the importance rubber plays in the world and to appreciate the men and women who have worked to make that a reality. I changed my perception of rubber as something that's found in tires, or basketballs or rubber bands into products in which I view with awe—like the variety of parts on an automobile, silicone gaskets in medical equipment, hoses at gasoline stations, giant conveyor belts at mining operations, rubber rollers used in textile mills and tires that can carry massive loads in quarries.
At RPN, there have been only three editors in the publication's 48-year history, and I have had the opportunity to work with all of them: my late father; Ed Noga, who's retired; and current Editor Bruce Meyer. My dad and Ed were outstanding editors, driven by a passion to provide RPN's readers with timely industry news, information and technical data aimed at keeping them well-informed so they could make better business decisions.
Bruce is cut from the same cloth. A 31-year veteran at RPN, his knowledge of the rubber industry and its players is expansive; his reporting and editing skills are exceptional. Combined Bruce's skills and talent have kept RPN vibrant, vital and the leader in its field as illustrated by the publication being named a finalist in two categories this year in the Neal Awards competition, the business press equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.
As I write this, I am reminded that the publications and the companies in the rubber and tire industries are only as good as the people working in them. And it's the people, my colleagues and the many industry friends I have met over the years who are most important to me. It would not have been nearly as meaningful of a career without them, which is why I have decided that rather than stop working, I am moving to a new opportunity in the industry that came up unexpectedly as I was contemplating my retirement.
Starting July 8, I am joining the Tire Industry Association as vice president of marketing and communications. What a blessing that is: A challenging new position in an industry that I love, especially as TIA gets ready to celebrate its 100-year anniversary in 2020, and still working in the tire and rubber industries.
One chapter ends, another begins. The ride continues.