With its iconic blimp floating overhead, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. officially took the wraps off of its new global headquarters in Akron.
Employees and operations had well moved into the seven-story, 639,000-square-foot facility, built adjacent to the tiremaker’s technical center. The entire 216.25-acre “campus” covers 1.5 million square feet under roof, including the technical center and a five-floor parking deck that accommodates nearly 3,000 vehicles.
By comparison, the century-old former headquarters building held 5.15 million square feet under roof, sitting on 480 acres.
Rich Kramer, chairman and CEO, opened the brief ribbon-cutting ceremony by welcoming and thanking the wide array of state and local officials involved in making the massive project a reality. In particular, Kramer praised Laura Thompson, vice president of finance, who was Goodyear’s point person in virtually every aspect of the project from start to finish.
Also on the stage as a representative for all Goodyear employees was Paul Sandstrom, 46-year Goodyear veteran who has collected some 1,400 patents while working as a polymer chemist for the company. Kramer said he represents “the innovative spirit that drives this company.”
The new headquarters, Kramer said, “represents our commitment to Akron and northeast Ohio,” and was a “true collaborative effort” between private enterprise and local government.
That innovative spirit rests on every business card as Goodyear’s new street address is on Innovation Way.
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic noted that, “Today is clearly a great day for Goodyear, for Ohio, for Summit County and for Akron.
“It was important for us to keep this symbol of corporate Akron in Akron,” he said.
Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, whose grandparents were Goodyear retirees, reflected that, “I cannot imagine what an Akron without Goodyear would look like. While it’s great to bring new business to the state, it is even better when you can say that a company like Goodyear decided to stay in Ohio and here in Akron.”
Also on the dais were Stu Lichter of Industrial Reality Group, who imagined and brokered the project; Russ Pry, Summit County executive; and Chris Burnham, president of the Development Finance Authority. The audience included members of the Summit County council, and staff members from the various government groups engaged in the project.
Ground was officially broken for the new headquarters on April 18, 2011, just a few hundred feet from the eventual front entrance that well features Goodyear’s winged foot symbol, which was etched into window panels and hovers grandly over the front doors.
Goodyear said the design theme was centered on the idea that “this is the home to a team of associates building upon and extending a tradition of innovation, and supporting global brands that are trusted around the world.”
The physical design was based on five things:
Team One campus optimized for collaboration
Innovation Market and technology are unified with the tools to innovate
Learning Pervasive support for formal and informal learning
Openess Transparency, light and views to each other and the world
Environment Smart solutions active and passive for sustainability
Collaboration should be fairly easy; the building sports 173 conference rooms of varying sizes, and each floor includes 8 to 10 “huddle rooms” for small two-three-person meetings.
For more exclusive photos from the ribbon cutting ceremony, click here.