Harvey Brodsky, founder of Retread Tire Association (RTA), committed champion and campaigner for tyre retreading industry, and a great friend and supporter of ABM publications Tyre Asia and Rubber Asia, has succumbed to cancer on Sunday, September 17. He was diagnosed in March and given two to three weeks to live. But with his strength and will, he kept fighting and was determined to overcome his illness.
Those who knew Harvey personally are well aware of his lifelong joy and positive work for others. “We lose today a champion of life itself, and of the world of business, a scholar on all topics regarding the tire, retread and rubber industries. We lose a man who did business with good spirit, on a handshake, without remorse or greed. We lose a reliable ally, who asked for nothing in return but our friendship and commitment to the same causes that would help us all thrive,” Jeffrey Parks, Managing Director, RTA, said in a statement.
“We lose a man who always looked for the best in people and himself. His energy, enthusiasm and integrity was unquestionable, and his accumulated knowledge of the industry was gleaned from the thousands of friends and
associates he made during his life and career,” the statement said
Harvey was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and like most guys from Philly, was a friend for life once he got to know you. He made lifelong friends there and he loved them all to the end.
As a boy he loved baseball, collected statistics, cards, news clippings and could name any player or team. He took his first job in his father Max’s auto upholstery business, and was a devoted son to him and his mother Gertrude,
along with his sister and his brother Frank.
As a young man he went into the army, and as he once said, he somehow lucked into a desk job in France, and never had to face combat during what was a time of great upheaval. Had he been called to more rigorous and
dangerous duty, he was always ready, willing and more able than most.
Before his career in the tire business He lived in Los Angeles and, among other things, started his own company, a one-man upholstery business. He sold himself door to door, to the finest and also the simplest restaurants and
bars of LA, upholstering booths that would be occupied by the movie stars of the day, at Musso and Frank, Bordner’s, The Rainbow Room, Formosa Café, places of Hollywood history, and countless more.
Stories of encounters with amazing people were abundant in his life. Lunching with Ayn Rand, a long train ride with Ronald Reagan, parties at the home of Bobby Darin, a dear friend of Art Buchwald, an enounter with Pablo
Picasso and scores of others. He wrote a screenplay, learned the sport of fencing, and these recollections were commonplace in his life long before I knew and worked with him for these last 35 years.
Eventually he began working with Big-O tyres, was offered a top management position, but soon was hired as Managing Director for the Tire Retread Information Bureau (TRIB), which he guided and grew for more than
thirty years, successfully and on his own terms.
In 2011 Harvey once again set off on his own, and created the Retread Tire Association (RTA), which he built with a solid foundation, and today continues in strength guided by values and personal integrity, of which he taught us to
always be mindful.
One of Harvey’s many sayings has become a guidepost for RTA – “Always be better than you need to be”, he would say, and “There’s never a wrong time to do the right thing, and there’s never a right time to do the wrong thing.” All
words to live by, every day.
Harvey leaves his dear wife Rona, who he loved very much and who helped guide him in his endeavors. It is clear that one of the great blessings of his life was to work with, meet, care about, talk to, help and love the members and
friends who supported him in his efforts to support them. When he departed this week, he left us with a lot of guidance, joy, positivity and strength.
Supporter of ATRC
Harvey was a long-time supporter of Tyre Asia and Rubber Asia magazines and the Asian Tyre and Rubber Conference (ATRC) ABM organised ever since it was launched in 2011. He was one of the high profile presenters in
ATRC 2011 apart from being an active promoter of the event.
“The professionalism displayed by the organisers is to be applauded. As you can imagine, I have attended many conferences in many countries during my 35+ years in the tyre industry, and I have NEVER attended one that was so well organized and professionally run…if I were asked to grade the conference I would happily give it an A+,” Harvey said in his post event comment.
He added: “From the first presentation at the conference until the last, I was totally impressed with every speaker and I came away with a tremendous amount of very important information that will be useful to both me and the
many members of the Retread Tyre Association.”
Harvey was a very close personal friend of John Powath, late CEO of ABM, and also Kurian Abraham, Chief Editor of Tyre Asia and Rubber Asia. John, who died of cancer in March 2017, and Harvey used to be regularly in touch
over phone, e-mails and met each other at several international events.
On hearing about John Powath’s death, Harvey wrote: “John Powath was a friend of mine and will be sorely missed, not only by me, but by his many friends worldwide as well as by his family.
“One of John’s most important attributes was to make friends wherever he went. Over my more than forty years in the tyre industry, I have been privileged to have met scores of wonderful friends in many countries, but none as special as John.
“His contribution to the tyre and retread industry worldwide, will be long remembered. John was, not only very knowledgeable, but he had a gift for making all he met feel special and important.
“To his son, and my friend, Antony and Antony’s brother, along with the rest of the Powath family, I extend my deepest sympathies, and I want you to know it was my deep privilege to have known John. My only regret is that it could not have been for a longer period of time.
“Rest in peace John. You may be gone, but your positive image on all who met you will long be remembered. I love you John.
– Harvey Brodsky, President of the John Powath Fan Club.”
Antony Powath, John’s son and President of ABM, said in his tribute to Harvey: “I have learnt a lot from him. I feel privileged to have spent time and met with him in person on a number of occasions. The world will not be the
same without him. Our heartfelt condolences to the Brodsky family.”