The new TRAC President and CEO-elect is on the job.
Not even a pandemic can stop Carol Hochu, President and CEO-elect of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC), from hitting the ground running.
Before officially beginning her position at the end of September, Hochu was making appointments, booking tours and reaching out to counterparts around the world like the United States Tire Association (USTA). “I want to connect with staff, board members, and other key stakeholders,” says Hochu. “I want to jump in with both feet and get rolling.”
Much of her early days will be devoted to listening, observing, learning and asking questions. “That would expand to meeting one-on-one, face to face or through Zoom with all the TRAC board members,” says Hochu. In these unusual times, the impact of COVID-19 and recovery is an issue. “I don’t profess to know all the market information yet, but I’m looking forward to learning.”
Sustainability is at the top of her list, encompassing a large swatch of topics such as product stewardship, regulated programs, climate change. In her previous role as President and CEO of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, Hochu dealt with end of life management of plastic materials. She also launched the first end of life recycling program in waste and electronics in Ontario as the executive director of Ontario Electronic Stewardship, providing an understanding of regulated programs for materials like tires and electronics.
Building on public awareness is also a key issue. “TRAC has a Betiresmart.ca site which encourages Canadian consumers to do their part and be aware of tire care and safety concerns,” says Hochu. “I know they’re looking to make some improvements to that website and some other websites.”
She was drawn to TRAC because of its impressive legacy. “This is the 100th anniversary of TRAC as an association, and I don’t know how many associations have reached that significant milestone,” she says. “It shows that this association is meeting member needs, tackling the issues of interest and concern on behalf of its membership. And obviously an association that’s innovating and moving ahead with the times.”
From her perspective, the bread and butter of any association are the members who willingly pay their dues to have the association advocate on their behalf. “TRAC clearly has a successful record,” Hochu notes. “I’m not sure I know all the specifics of the secret sauce, but having a great staff team, an engaged board leadership team and member volunteers is part of it. Volunteers are the lifeblood of any association – having members help with the work and expand the breadth and depth of the staff team’s work, these are all recipes for success.”
Part of the challenges and opportunities include all the exciting trends happening on the automotive front – technology and innovation, AI and autonomous vehicles. “From the member company perspective, I’m sure they’re thinking of how they can develop innovative technologies even more effectively and quickly,” says Hochu.
For trade associations, there’s always the potential for government intervention. “In the plastics world, we talked about micro plastics; in the rubber and tire world, we talk about tire and road wear particles,” says Hochu. “TRAC is working with government agencies on the development of an energy efficiency standard for tires.”
She also says that the pandemic isn’t slowing down anything. “To the best of my knowledge, all systems are go,” says Hochu.