Mike Lukavsky has been a fan of cars since he was a child. Recently named the new president of Chicago Heights, Ill.-based K & S Tire Recycling, Lukavsky, a 29-year tire industry veteran, took that interest in cars and turned it into a successful career. He recently chatted with Scrap News about how he got started in the industry, and what he hopes to accomplish as the new president of K & S Tire Recycling.

How did you get your start in the tire industry?

Growing up in Riverdale, Ga., I was always interested in cars. My father knew the owners of a local car shop and he was able to get me an interview while I was in high school. I interviewed well and they hired me. I started off mounting tires. From there, I went on to hold sales positions with Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc. – then known as Falken Tire Corp. – and Continental Tire the Americas LLC. I’ve also worked for various aftermarket auto part companies. Most recently, I worked for Liberty Tire Recycling.

What do you find most compelling about tires?

Tires are very interesting. It’s a constant challenge keeping up with all the different sizes out there, but it’s a challenge I enjoy. It’s been fascinating to see the development of tires over the years. They last so much longer and are more durable than they once were.

How did you become the new president of K & S Tire Recycling?

I’ve known the owner of K &S Tire Recycling, Khaled Khalil, for years. We’ve always been competitors, but we struck up a friendship over the years. Every few years we’d have lunch and talk about the potential of working together, but nothing ever materialized. A few months ago, he offered me the job of president. I was happy in my position at the time and wasn’t looking to move on, but the offer was too good to pass up. So, I accepted it, and I’m happy I did.

What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure as president?

I want to grow the company physically and make it a more mature company, in all aspects. That includes increasing capacity as well as improving customer service.

As a new ISRI member, what are you looking forward to the most?

I’m looking forward to learning from others in the industry. Learning about their successes and discussing similar concerns we may have to figure out solutions to issues we have in common.

Where do you see yourself and the company over the next year, five years, and beyond?

Next year, I hope that we’re in a position to expand our facility. In the next five years, I’d like us to have multiple facilities. Beyond that, we’d like to grow to multiple states. Throughout this growth, I’d like to find more ways to see how recycled tire material can be used.