Bridgestone unveils Akron Tech Center
Bridgestone Americas has unveiled its new Americas Technical Center in Akron, Ohio at a grand opening ceremony, Tire Review reports. The $100 million facility, located just down the street from the tyre-maker’s old tech center, houses 450 employees whose jobs are to develop innovative and advanced tyre technologies for the company.
Bridgestone executives and state and local officials attended the ceremony, which included guided tours of the 260,000-square-foot building.
“This has been a center of innovation for more than a century. We’ve helped put the world on wheels. Literally, millions of miles have been driven on Bridgestone and Firestone tyres designed right here in Akron,” said Gary Garfield, Bridgestone Americas CEO and president.
“But while we are proud of our past and the history and heritage of our great company, today is about looking to the future – to writing the next chapter in the story of our organization. And it all starts right here at this new technical centre.”
According to Bridgestone, the center was built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold specifications, which means it was designed and constructed to have the highest performance in human and environmental health. A variety of products from Bridgestone’s building products division – Firestone Building Products – were used in helping the facility meet these requirements.
The building features wide open spaces, an abundance of glass – including a three-story atrium to let in light – a “vegetative roof” area with gardens and tables for employees, and some company-themed décor: a full-size Indy race car hangs nose-down on a wall just inside the main entrance.
With clear views of Bridgestone’s other facilities – including the landmark former Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. Plant 1, built in 1911, which was used as a corporate headquarters and tyre factory – the new tech centre is yet another part of the tyre-maker’s history.
Harvey Firestone founded the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in Akron in 1900. Bridgestone Corp. purchased the company in 1988, transforming the companies’ combined operations into the world’s largest tyre and rubber company, and making Akron one of only three technical centres for the company worldwide (the two other technical centers are in Tokyo, Japan and Rome, Italy). In 2010, the company announced it would be building a new home for the Americas Technical Center in Akron.