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Meet The 2020 Traction Summit Advisory Board

Meet the esteemed advisory committee who are lending their experience and knowledge to Traction Summit.

The group is leveraging 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.

  • 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

    Dr. James A. Popio is Vice President of Operations -  North America 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 Ravenna Laboratory in Ohio.

    Popio 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 organizations and government agencies. 

    He has extensive experience in tire performance, characterization, and methods development. His specialist areas of expertise are force and moment, endurance, aging, compliance, indoor wear, rolling resistance, and characterization 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

    Dr. Gregory Smith is currently Senior Engineer, Tire Mechanics & Virtual Tire Submissions, for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, responsible for developing a virtual tire submissions process to facilitate a collaborative tire development method with OEM customers. He joined Goodyear in 2016, working in Virtual Tools. Previously, Smith worked at Jaguar Land Rover in England, as technical lead of the Tire CAE and Modeling team, responsible for delivering all tire test data and models throughout the company. This included the development of a wheel force transducer car capable of gathering test data over any surface, and data processing techniques to turn the data into useful tire models.

    He was awarded the Tire Technology International Young Scientist Prize in 2016 for development of the GS2MF flat-trac test procedure, which gathers required data to parameterize an MF-Tyre 6.1 tire model using 73% less rig time than typical test procedures. He holds degrees in Automotive & Motorsport Engineering from Brunel University, London, England, and a PhD focused on the development of GS2MF from Coventry University, England.


  • 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

    Test Team Manager Hankook Tire and Technology Company, Ltd

    Doug Terrill is currently the Test Team Manager for the America Technical Center of Hankook Tire and Technology Co., Ltd. in Uniontown, OH. Doug began his career with Aircraft Braking Systems Corporation wheel and brake division as a technical writer and product development engineer. He has more than 20 years of experience in wheel and brake design in the aircraft and commercial vehicle market and over twelve years of experience in tire testing. Doug holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University as well as an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. He is a former member of the Tire and Rim Association, serving on the Truck / Bus committee and an SAE member serving on the Wheel Standards Committee and the Truck Bus Wheel Committee.