Meet The 2019 Traction Summit Advisory Board

Traction Summit is pleased to announce the esteemed advisory committee, who lend their experience and knowledge to the event. 

The group has leveraged their experience and deep connections across the entirety of the tire and rubber supply chain to pull together a program rich with speakers and topics, sure to provide critical knowledge for this year and beyond.

  • Dr. John Baldwin

    Chief Product & Technical Strategist Discount Tire

    Dr. John M. Baldwin is the Assistant Vice President for Discount Tire based out of Scottsdale, Arizona. Prior to joining Discount Tire, Baldwin acted as Senior Managing Scientist in Exponent’s Vehicle Engineering practice. His expertise includes polymer science and technology, specializing in the synthesis, compounding, degradation (chemical/physical) and testing of elastomer, plastic, adhesive and foam based systems. Earlier in his career, Dr. Baldwin worked in the research laboratory of Ford Motor, where he became internationally recognized for his research on the topics of tire aging, tire test development, tire service life prediction, and the use of nitrogen as a tire inflation media. He previously worked in the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Department. He previously worked for the 3M Company where he developed and serviced a line of two-part structural epoxy adhesives. He holds an appointment as an adjunct associate professor of chemistry at Oakland University in Rochester, MI. He received his PhD in polymer science at The University of Akron and his BS in Chemistry at the University of Detroit.

    • USA
  • Brent Gruber

    Senior Director of Global Automotive J.D. Power

    Brent leads the automotive supplier practice at J.D. Power. He is responsible for representing J.D. Power within the automotive supply industry and consulting with clients on finding research based solutions to product and customer issues and helping clients grow their businesses through improving products and the customer experience.

    Prior to J.D. Power, Brent held senior level positions at research and consulting firms, focusing on product and service improvements based on voice of customer feedback.

  • David Howland

    Global Leader for Tire Testing and Analytical Methods General Motors

    Bio coming soon!

  • R. Christopher Napier

    Elastomers Applications Engineer, Global Specialty Polymers Technology ExxonMobil Chemical Co.

    R. Christopher Napier is currently a Global Specialty Polymers Applications Engineer with the ExxonMobil Chemical Company located in Baytown, TX.   Chris began his career with Westinghouse’s polymer electrical products division in Nashville, TN.  He has more than 20 years of experience in the rubber and plastics industry. His primary focus at ExxonMobil Chemical is tire technology and product testing for butyl polymers. He received his Bachelor degree from Letourneau University and is active in the Rubber Division, American chemical Society serving as the chairman of the Best Paper Committee in 2009-2010 and as a member of the program Planning Committee. Chris is a member of the ASTM F-9 Tire committee and D-11 Rubber committee.

  • Dr. James A. Popio

    Vice President of Operations - North America Smithers Rapra

    Dr. James A. Popio is Vice President of Operations -  North America of Smithers Rapra and Smithers Pira in the United States. Prior to this he was Vice President and General Manager of Smithers Rapra and Smithers Pira in the United Kingdom; and before that he was General Manager and Director of Engineering at Smithers Rapras’ Ravenna Laboratory in Ohio. 

    Jim has worked with the tire and rubber industry for 20 years and has spent his professional career working for and/or with tire companies, tire dealers, automotive OEMs, industry suppliers, manufacturers, standards organisations and government agencies.  

    Jim has extensive experience in tire performance, characterisation, and methods development. His specialist areas of expertise are force and moment, endurance, aging, compliance, indoor wear, rolling resistance, and characterisation for modeling. Jim is a regular contributor to industry journals as well as a chair and speaker at major tire and rubber conferences. 

  • Dr. Gregory Smith

    Senior Engineer – Tire Mechanics & Virtual Tire Submissions The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

    I began my career in 2010 working at Jaguar Land Rover in England, where I founded the Tire CAE and Modelling team. The team was responsible for delivering all tire test data and models throughout the company, which was crucial for improving Jaguar Land Rovers' vehicle development process. This included the development of a wheel force transducer car able to gather tire test data over any surface, along with the data processing techniques that can turn this data into useful tire models. Also, while at Jaguar Land Rover I developed the GS2MF flat-trac test procedure, which is an innovative and highly efficient test procedure that can gather all the required data to parameterize an MF-Tyre 6.1 tyre model using 73% less rig time compared to more typical test procedures. This achievement was recognized in February 2016 when I won the Tire Technology International Young Scientist Prize for my work on GS2MF.

    In November 2016, my family and I decided to move to the US where I started working with Goodyear in Akron OH. At Goodyear, I am responsible for developing a new virtual tire submissions process to facilitate a CAE driven, collaborative tire development method with our OEM customers. Such a method will bring the OEM's firmly into the tire development process and lead to a reduction in development costs for all involved.

  • Jay Spears

    Director of Standards and Regulation, The Americas Continental Tire

    Jay is the Director of Standards and Regulations for Continental Tire, the Americas located in Fort Mill, SC.  He is responsible for all tire regulatory and standardization work throughout North and South America and represents Continental within numerous industry organizations including the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Tire and Rim Association.  Jay has been with Continental for over 15 years with leadership roles in product development, technical product management and racing development.  He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineer from Clemson University - home of the 2016 College Football National Champions.

  • Doug Terrill

    Lead Engineer Hankook Tire Co. LTD

    Coming soon