Bridgestone event honours staff innovation
For more than 30 years Bridgestone Americas has celebrated the ingenuity of its employees at the Annual Bridgestone Americas Inventors Night. This year’s event recognised the innovative efforts of 86 employees, whose work led to 74 United States patents being issued in 2010 and the development of numerous trade secrets. These 74 patents, the tyre maker notes, are numerically sufficient to rank Bridgestone Americas in the top 300 organisations worldwide to be granted US patents according to the Intellectual Property Owners annual rankings.
“Inventors by definition are leaders, not followers,” said Bridgestone Americas CEO and president Gary Garfield. “And it is with the leadership and creative drive of the people present in this room this evening that we will continue to pursue our goal to be the clear technological leader in our industries.”
A seasoned ‘Inventors Night’ attendee is Dr. William L. Hergenrother, who this year was recognised for his 179th US patent for the company, the largest number held by any current employee. He earned seven patents in 2010 for technologies ranging from eco-friendly tyre polymers to polymers used to improve the performance of asphalt for roads and highways. At the other end of the patent spectrum in 2010 were 17 ‘newbies’, honoured for their first patents. This group includes Dr. Yaohong Chen, for her work on functionalised polymers, and Al Speyer, executive director of Bridgestone Americas Motorsports, for his invention directed to a device for visually demonstrating stagger.
“Innovation requires constant creativity,” concluded Garfield. “We pride ourselves in being a technology company that sells innovative tyres, air springs, building materials and more. And it will take the combined efforts of both veteran and new inventors alike to help our company continue to provide cutting-edge products and technologies to our varied consumers. But with the team assembled here, I know we are up to the task.”
The event was held in Akron, Ohio, home to the Bridgestone Americas Akron Technical Center, where new tyres and tyre technologies are developed for the company’s consumer, commercial, OTR, agriculture and racing businesses.