Matt White is the much traveled Director of Tire Service at TIA. WCTD recently caught up with him between trips for just long enough to check in on how things are going—and what’s on his radar…
We started by asking Matt what impact he’s noticed from his activities here in Canada over the last few years.
MW. “I would say, in the last two years, we’ve logged 45 weeks plus of training throughout Canada. What I see is total acceptance. And I see that in the way that people are changing their operations and they way they do business.”
What do you put that down to?
MW: It’s a combination of things. But really it’s everything from the success of the classes to a broader awareness of all that’s related to safety, and a great spirit of collaboration within WCTD. Also, we’ve had few fatalities in the industry in the last few years, which brings a sense of urgency. Having a commitment from everyone involved to move ahead and change things has been really crucial.
I fully believe we’re making a difference throughout Canada: in the way that the WCTD safety committee has come together; and in the way people are talking safety all the time. Instead of less training there’s more training, which means companies are committed to a program of ongoing education.
What do you say to people who don’t even have a safety program?
MW: They really need to look into the way they’re doing business. Through the association, they can get help from the safety committee—we’re here to help. That’s why we develop these programs. At TIA our motto is “Safety Starts Here.”
Ultimately, I don’t “sell” anything. My job is to save lives. It’s what we do: work and safety awareness.
What’s so challenging about the tire business?
MW: Everyone thinks it’s “just a tire”. But it’s not. It’s a specific piece of equipment. And in some cases we’re dealing with one of most dangerous jobs in the world—as well as some of the largest tires in the world. The people I’m talking to aren’t “tire boys;” they’re tire technicians with a specific job.
MW: In 2015 we’ll be revamping the Earthmover Certification Program, which will be the ETS program, with levels 300 and 400. We also plan on revamping the CTS program—Commercial Tire Service. We’re preparing that for release in 2016.
Just released this month was the updated Industrial Tire Service (ITS) program. For 2017 we will be redoing the Automotive Tire Service (ATS) program. We’re showing the members throughout the industry that we are committed to continuous education; and that we keep our programs as up-to-date as we possibly can.
Can you tell us about training for women only?
MW: As you know our president is Freda Boyer. In talking with Freda we have always committed to equality in our industry, so TIA decided to come up with a program for females only. The course is scheduled to take place in Phoenix, October 6-9—which also happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness month. TIA’s goal is to have complete equality, with female instructors throughout the tire industry. As far as Canada and WCTD is concerned, our plan is to schedule a similar program here in 2016, details which will be announced soon.
We’ve always brought the best of whatever works in the States into Canada as soon as possible. I was at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, when a female instructor came up to me and said: “You know, you touched my life six years ago. I was working at a tire shop and had come to a class with you. In no time at all I was training others,” she said.
My feeling was that the momentum was there—and the time was right. Here was somebody who was still in the industry and could be really helpful in passing on the safety message. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a man or woman—nor does race count. In the end, a technician is a technician is a technician.
How do you define what you do?
MW: My job is to travel the world showing people how and why to do things. And I hope they follow the rules. If you lock out the truck properly, it can’t be driven—and nobody’s going to get run over. If you use a remote control air device instead of standing in front of the tire, and it blows, you won’t die.
What I teach are facts, not fiction.
As for The Tracker, I’m glad to be part of it. People come up and ask me when my next article is coming out—which tells me that we are offering a valuable service. And that makes me very happy.
I guess at the end of the day people see me as the face of safety.
And I’m fine with that!