Toronto, ON, June 11, 2024 — The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC) is pleased to recognize outstanding individuals and businesses for their dedication and commitment to excellence in the tire and rubber industry including end-of-life (ELT) tire management and other businesses focused on sustainability. The Awards Ceremony took place following the Association’s Annual General Meeting on June 6, 2026, at the Association’s offices at the Alt Hotel Toronto Airport in Mississauga.

The 2024 Industry Leadership Awards recognized leadership in the following categories: Leader of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Sustainability, and Young Leader.

“The Canadian tire and rubber industries as well as ELT management businesses are filled with talent, experience, and history, and our 2024 winners prove it. We are pleased to celebrate six individuals who have demonstrated leadership and excellence, and whose contribution to the tire and rubber industry in the areas of business, innovation, and sustainability had been simply outstanding,” said Carol Hochu, President and CEO of TRAC.


Winners of TRAC’s 2024 Industry Leaderships Awards. Left to right: Ankita Saikia (for Don McRae), Dr. Sina Varamini, David Lamb, Pamela Scarrow (TRAC Chair), Phil Corvinelli, Nicola Colombo, and Paul Downey. | Photo by TRAC.

The Leader of the Year award recipient is Paul Downey, President & CEO of Pliteq.

Paul Downey founded Pliteq Inc. in 2006 and has applied 35 years of engineering, manufacturing, research and development, and business experience to ensure the success of this fastest growing Canadian business which focuses on creating products using recycled tire rubber. Pliteq is one of the largest recyclers globally and recycles the equivalent of seven million PTEs in Ontario annually.

With a Chemical Engineering degree at Western University, he is an inventor with 48 patents and applications globally; and his work has changed the global acoustics, vibration, and flooring building materials market. As a leader, Paul strives to create a business culture focused on learning and professional development, and he enjoys guest lecturing at several Universities.

TRAC is proud to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Nicola Colombo, David Lamb, and Don McRae in recognition of their outstanding achievements and enduring legacies to the Canadian tire and rubber industry and to the community at large.

Nicola Colombo, Pirelli

Nicola embarked on his journey with Pirelli in 1979 as an IT specialist. After joining the Pirelli Global Design Team, he played a pivotal role in implementing the company’s first global logistics system for commercial units. His journey with Pirelli took him across borders, from Switzerland to Austria, Italy, and eventually to the United States, where he became a pioneer in establishing Pirelli’s market presence. Throughout his tenure, Nicola shouldered significant responsibilities, from procurement to mergers and acquisitions, and played a vital role in establishing the Rome, Georgia plant.

With his unwavering loyalty and steadfast commitment Nicola embodies the very essence of Pirelli’s DNA. From his humble beginnings, Nicola grew into a trusted and respected professional, instrumental in shaping Pirelli’s trajectory in Canada. Nicola’s impact resonates throughout the fabric of Pirelli, touching the lives of every Pirellian. He is one of the main pillars of Pirelli’s successful story in North America.

David Lamb, Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (formerly Rubber Association of Canada) / Goodyear (retired)

David Lamb served the Canadian tire industry in various roles for 50 years. He joined Seiberling Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Goodyear Canada Inc., in the Tire Technical Department in 1970 and rose through the company ranks, eventually taking up Goodyear’s Government Relations file in the 1990s. Here, he managed one of the main industry projects of the time – the Duty Remission Program, which eventually led to the construction of the Goodyear facility in Napanee, Ontario. During this same period, for 15 years he served on TRAC’s Tire Statistical Committee, and Chaired the committee for 10 years, with a focus on the tire industry’s move to digital data and systems management.

After 30 years at Goodyear, he joined TRAC in 2001 as Director of Operations. During his five-year tenure David took a leadership position on all the major TRAC initiatives, including the Be Tire Smart program, and creating and managing the Safety Group program. In addition, he helped create Tire Stewardship Manitoba and served as a valuable board member from 2008 until his resignation in 2019. He also served as the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) representative on ISO/TC 31/SC 6 (the technical committee for Off the Road Tires and Rims), and even after he retired in 2006, he continued to support this high-profile role until his ultimate retirement in 2020.

Don McRae, Tyromer/AirBoss (retired)

Don McRae graduated from Ryerson Polytechnic in 1972 as a Chemical Engineering Technologist (Polymer Option) and he has spent well over 40 years in the tire and rubber industry, developing compounds, quality standards, and more. He began his career with Uniroyal Research Labs in Guelph for five years. He became Technical Manager at Precision Rubber for five years and then moved to General Tire (Barrie) for three years. He moved to Uniroyal Conveyor Belting soon after they opened in Bracebridge (currently Fenner Dunlop Belting), as chemist, corporate chemist (NA) and eventually Technical Manager. He managed all technical projects related to rubber and compounding for some 14 years as the company switched from old Uniroyal recipes to more modern versions with better functional properties and processing.

He continued his career with AirBoss Rubber Compounding as Chemist, then Technical Manager, then R&D Manager for another 15 years, where his group developed a variety of rubber compounds for tires, conveyors, and dozens of other applications. As a proponent of environmental and sustainable practices, he helped develop more sustainable rubber compounds at AirBoss and designed the very first OTR tire compound that included 18% recycled content.

Ultimately, Don became the Director of Applications at Tyromer, a recycled/devulcanized rubber company. Without Don’s groundwork on incorporating recycled content into new materials, companies like Tyromer may never have gotten a solid start. What Don started in a tire compound of 18% recycled material has now been increased to 25%.

In the area of Sustainability, TRAC honours Dr. Sina Varamini of CRM for his environmental, economic, and social contributions.

Dr. Sina Varamini, CRM

Dr. Varamini’s contributions to sustainability are highly valued. He has been instrumental in championing Rubber Modified Asphalt (RMA) as a sustainable, carbon-focused, and circular solution for end-of-life tires. Actively involved in volunteer activities across Canada, he significantly contributes to both industry committees and academic initiatives. As a leading figure in key transportation industry groups, including the Soils and Materials Committee at the Transportation Association of Canada, he collaborates with various stakeholders to understand emerging technologies related to low-carbon transportation infrastructure and to promote best practices and guidelines for implementing Environmental Product Declarations (EPD), Low-Carbon Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), and performance-based Buy-Clean Policies.

His initiatives have been crucial in promoting the adoption of Rubber-modified Asphalt (RMA) as an environmentally-friendly and performance-enhancing material. Actively developing RMA products for various uses, from low to high-volume roadways and airfields, Dr. Varamini is also leading the integration of rubber, steel, and fluff into concrete mixtures and exploring other market segments, including Tire-Derived Aggregate for engineering applications. His focus is on fostering a robust market for crumb rubber and other tire-derived materials, thereby ensuring the circularity of tires, and establishing a sustainable tire recycling model.

The Young Leader award recognizes inspirational and dedicated young leaders who demonstrate industry leadership in management, innovation, technology and/or sustainability within their organization or community. This year, TRAC recognizes Phil Corvinelli.

Phil Corvinelli, Pliteq

Phil graduated in 2017 with a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto. He joined Pliteq’s Plant Engineering team, and he quickly grew through the company ranks due to his passion for learning and his problem-solving abilities. He has held positions in Production Supervision, Process Engineering, Maintenance Engineering and Management, and is currently the Director of Operations in the Materials and Molding department at Pliteq Inc. In all these positions Phil identified goals and achieved them; and he continues to develop his leadership and management skills, he possesses great team management skills optimizing team performance through focusing on strengths and improving weaknesses.

About the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada

The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada is the national trade association representing tire makers, rubber products manufacturers and importers as well as rubber recyclers and suppliers of goods and services related to the industry. TRAC helps shape public policy that supports tire and rubber industry innovation, performance, safety, and sustainability including end-of-life tire management.