March Markers by Carol Hochu

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Spring is tire changing season and in 2021 symbolizes brighter days ahead. Photo: Huw Evans

As I type these words, it’s March 15, bringing to mind Shakespeare’s “Beware the Ides of March” line from Julius Caesar.

Typically, the line connotes gloom and darkness, but historically, the Ides simply refer to the first full moon of a given month, which falls between the 13th and 15th. In fact, the Ides of March once signified the new year, which meant celebrations and rejoicing.

On that theme of celebration, International Women’s Day (IWD) was held March 8 this year with the theme of #ChooseToChallenge. According to the IWD website (www.internationalwomensday.com), “We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.”

Making a difference

To that end, I want to celebrate some of the many women from Canada, the U.S. and beyond that I have come to admire and respect since joining the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC) These include: Maureen Kline, Vice President, Public Affairs and Sustainability for Pirelli Tire North America, who also serves as Chair of the TRAC Board of Directors; Anne Forristall Luke, President & CEO of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association and her colleagues Tracey Norberg (‎Senior Vice President & General Counsel) and Sarah Amick (Vice President, EHS&S and Senior Counsel); Fazilet Cinaralp, Secretary-General of the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association; Anne-Cecile Remont, Director of the Tire Industry Project at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development; Emmie Leung, Founder and CEO of TRAC member Emterra Group; Tina Alessi, National Sales Manager, Passenger and Light Truck tires business for TRAC member Continental in Canada; and Teresa Gawel, TRAC’s Executive Assistant, who gives her skills and time to TRAC’s collective success.

Another March marker is the more sobering one—namely that March 11, 2020, marked the day when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic.

The last 12 months have been a period like no other, filled with disorder and damage on so many fronts. My heart goes out to those who are mourning the loss of loved ones, and my thanks are extended to all health care and other frontline workers, who, along with the scientists, researchers, and volunteers enrolled in clinical studies, have now given us vaccines.

Industry disruptions

The pandemic also took a toll on the many tire industry workers who suffered economically as a result of vehicle and tire production furloughs, shutdowns, and subsequent unemployment.

The Canadian replacement tire market for light vehicles finished 2020 with a decline of 15%, while the medium truck category declined by 7%. Partial recovery is expected for both categories in 2021, but recovery to pre-pandemic levels is expected to take somewhat longer as the economy slowly rebounds.

My final March marker is the onset of spring on March 20 this year. I hope you can find some time to enjoy the warmer weather, longer days, and other delights that spring brings. And last but not least, don’t forget to change your winter tires for summer or all-season versions once the average daily temperatures are over 7 degrees Celsius!

Carol Hochu is President of the Tire & Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC). You can reach her at [email protected]


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