Bridgestone Breaks Ground on $100 Million Technical Center in Ohio

Nashville-based tire maker Bridgestone Americas Inc. recently broke ground on a $100 million technical center in Akron, Ohio, where the company was founded almost 110 years ago.

The new facility is expected to be complete at the end of 2011.

"Bridgestone Americas is an iconic Ohio company that helped shape Akron's history of innovation and manufacturing and will be a vital partner in strengthening Northeast Ohio's economic future," Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said.

In July 2008, the company announced it would build the center in Akron, during a celebration of the 1988 alliance of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. with Bridgestone Corp. that transformed the companies' combined operations into the world's largest tire and rubber company.

In 2007 and 2008, Strickland and Fisher "worked consistently with Bridgestone representatives in a year-long process to craft an agreement that addressed the company's specific business needs," according to a press release issued by the state. The Strickland administration collaborated with the city of Akron, Summit County and regional partners to create an incentives package for the company's transformational project, according to the state.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) noted the project "will result in immediate and much-needed construction jobs, will allow Bridgestone to create and retain 1,000 jobs, and will position Northeast Ohio to continue to lead in innovation, and research and development for years to come."

"From the first non-skid tread to the Firestone balloon tire, some of the world's most creative, innovative concepts in the tire industry have come from behind these doors and down the street at our technical center," said Mark Emkes, chairman, CEO and president of Bridgestone Americas Inc. "There is no better place to continue our proud tradition of innovation than right here in Akron."

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