Just what makes a top leader? It's a difficult question to ponder, as there is no one right answer. What makes a person perfect to lead one company to the top, may not work someplace else.
I ask that question because it's once again time to nominate worthy leaders for the 2021 Rubber News Rubber Industry Executive of the Year. It's an award our publication has give out since 1989, when Ivan Gorr of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. was the winner.
Over the years, recipients have come from tire makers to large non-tire rubber goods firms, down to some of the smaller, but successful, firms in the industry.
Each of these winners has had their own roadmap to success, tailored to their situation.
Tom Pitstick, senior vice president of strategic planning and chief marketing officer of Gates Corp.—the 2020 winner—was key to helping lead the Denver-based rubber giant through the coronavirus pandemic. The nomination letter for Pitstick read in part: "Over the past unprecedented year, Tom has been instrumental in navigating the company's COVID-19 response, managing crisis communications and providing steadfast leadership to Gates employees and stakeholders."
In short, he was the right person at the right time.
Sadly, two of our former Executive of the Year winners died during this past year.
Dan Hertz, founder of Seals Eastern, was a big personality in the rubber industry. He was never afraid to speak his mind, but always knew how important it was to keep learning and find ways to set his firm apart in terms of technology.
Richard Selip was one of the founders of Grand River Rubber & Plastics. He was just 27 when the firm was started, and he figured he would run the business until he was 55 and cash out. But he never could follow through on selling Grand River to outsiders, with he and his business partner selling the rubber goods firm to employees in an ESOP plan.
Now it's your turn to help us decide who has the right traits to win this year. It's a simple process, and here are the specifics.
The award goes to a lead executive of a North American manufacturer of finished rubber goods (including urethanes and TPEs). Suppliers to the industry are not eligible, but can nominate a manufacturer who is.
Nominations can be made online at rubbernews.com/execofyear. We need the candidate's name, where he or she works, their job title and why the person deserves the honor. If you have questions, email Rubber News Managing Editor Erin Pustay Beaven at [email protected]
Deadline for nominations is Nov. 8. The Rubber News editorial staff determines the winner, who will be announced in our Dec. 13 issue.