News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Don Drumm Studios

Greater Akron Chamber

Wayside Furniture

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Economy and Business

Goodyear celebrates new global headquarters in Akron
The 639,000 square-foot-building is about a third its former size but high tech

Mark Urycki
SLIDESHOW: An employee can bee seen on a walkway oveer the lobby that connects the technical center to the HQ.
Courtesy of MARK URYCKI
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Just one year ago, Summit County officials were helping to cut the ribbon on a brand new $100 million dollar Bridgestone Technical Center in Akron.

Today, they were cutting another ribbon -- this time on a new world headquarters for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. While the blimp flew overhead, Goodyear officials expressed delight with the new building. And community officials are delighted that a major employer is committed to the area.
Audio story

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:31)

From Goodyear’s new parking deck, you can see the empty land where the world headquarters of General Tire once stood. That building was razed when the company moved south. The late 80’s and early 90’s saw other rubber companies exit the city.

But their research and work with polymers did stay behind. And Goodyear Chairman Richard Kramer now calls Akron the ”Innovation Capital,” something Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, an Akron native, likes hearing.

“Goodyear is an innovative company and you look at so many companies in the area, what the University of Akron is doing, innovative new technologies. That’s probably an appropriate title.”

Multiplication of jobs and image
The new headquarters was built adjacent to the company’s technical center on what used to be called Martha Avenue. Now, it's called Innovation Way. The state, county and city all helped Goodyear with tax breaks and other incentives. Summit County Executive Russ Pry says it was worth it because the 3,000 Goodyear workers here have a multiplier effect on the economy.

“About seven or eight other jobs [per Goodyear worker]: restaurants, dry cleaners, automobiles mechanics, insurance companies. So it’s professional services, regular services that get supported by the people who work here.”

Added Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic the multiplier applies to intangibles, too.

“The immeasurable is the impact in a positive way for the community’s image, to look at this facility’s being here and attracting the best and the brightest young people, researchers as well.”

An integrated history
The roots of rubber companies like Goodyear run deep in the city. Just talk to city Planning Director Marco Sommerville, who got one of his first jobs at Goodyear – following his father who worked there.

 “My great-grandfather also worked here, told his brothers in Alabama about jobs in Akron and they all moved here – about eight of them. And they all retired from Goodyear. So Goodyear has had a major impact on our lives in this community.”

City and county officials both say having a Fortune 500 headquarters like Goodyear, along with other international companies helps them attract new employers.

“Success breeds success”  said Pry.

Built for spontaneous success
Goodyear Chairman Kramer thinks the building will help with that success. It has large, open rooms with lots of light and places people can meet. For the first time, the headquarters is attached to the 1915 red brick technical center – where race tires are still made -- and the two buildings now share a cafeteria.

He recalled a conversation with Goodyear's chief financial officer, who was working on a project with someone he bumped into in the cafeteria. "'‘We talked through something; it took us five minutes. We would have had to schedule a meeting before. It would have taken a week to get it on the calendar.  Here we resolved it in the lunch line.’”

Solutions drawn on napkins, says Kramer: "It happens. It does!"

Not out with the old
One more benefit to the local economy could come from new use for the old Goodyear headquarters.

Developer Stu Lichter from the California-based IRG bought the old complex just north of Interstate 76 and is turning it into  housing and office space. He built the new one headquarters just across the expressway.

The new HQ cost about $110 million; the new parking deck about $30 million and renovating the old complex, another $30 million. 

“A lot of money was spent here,” Lichter laughed, “a lot of money was pumped into this economy.”

And both company and community officials say they’re both getting good traction out of the development.

Images with audio

Developer Stu Lichter says his plans for the old Goodyear complex no longer call for much retail but you can still suggest it to him.

Developer Stu Lichter says his plans for the old Goodyear complex no longer call for much retail but you can still suggest it to him.

(Click image for larger view.)

Listener Comments:

Nice looking modern Complex. I'm retired from GT with 25 years in there a good part of it as a company owned store manager .

I went to the old HQ @ 1444 E market st. a few times and also what they called mahogony row there which was the C level executicve office hallway and offices with some of it with antique
funiture that likley came from Chippendale and global locations . Hopefuly some of that fabulous furnitire and paneling was preserved in the new bldg.

I met ex GT CEO Stanley Gault briefkey with a group of other managers during his tenure there at the old market st World HQ.

Posted by: preferred user (USA) on October 8, 2015 3:10AM
Great article.....enjoyed the pics. I am a Retired Goodyear Facilities Planner.....nice to see that they didn't cut corners......looks like a wonderful place to work / innovate. Congrats to the latest Goodyear Team.......hope to get back to Akron someday soon to have a look see around the outside of the new Hdqs.....would be nice to have a Retiree Luncheon and update !!!

George L Ward,
ex Mgr Facilities Planning - Asia
Retired 2006 w/39 yrs service

Posted by: George L Ward (State College, Pa) on June 18, 2013 2:06AM
Good news for Akron and Northeast Ohio. Another opportunity to keep some of the high tech qualified young engineers close to home.

Posted by: Gene Pawlowski (New York City) on June 7, 2013 9:06AM
Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Backers of legalizing marijuana in Ohio promise to be back in 2016
We should be aloud to grow more than 4 plants and not have to register with the state considering it will be a free market.

Akron says it's had no second thoughts about welcoming refugees
What business does Councilman Neal own on North Hill? I'd love to support him. I am so glad to have the refugees in our neighborhood. I have lived here for 25 ...

Scarborough says the University of Akron is trying to rebuild relationships
In order for the University of Akron to grow and become a desirable place for students across Ohio and elsewhere, it must address the crime problem in the Akron...

Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite wants to end pay-to-play sports fees at Ohio's schools
You can bet Hite and Husted will also rush to the rescue of the Academic Challenge team, the speech-and-debate squad, the Science Olympians and the chess club. ...

Ohio lawmakers consider new gun bills
States that have gun restrictions/cities have reduced gun violence is false. CHICAGO has some of the toughest gun laaws/restrictions but yet fun violence is off...

Cleveland's public transit system considers fare increase for 2016
I work with individuals with disabilities. Yes some of my folks need more help than the average person. As a whole, the group I work with however can manuver ju...

Community group sues to re-open part of Wadsworth hospital
My father was part of the founding group of citizens which started the "new" Wadsworth/Rittman Hospital. For some reason the leadership for the future of the ho...

The Cleveland Museum of Art presents painters who loved their gardens
brilliant masterpiece, Greetings from

Ohio Sen. Tom Patton proposes bill for firefighter cancer benefits
Thank you Senator Patton. On behalf of all of those who love our firefighters; we appreciate that someone is standing up for them and their continued health. ??...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University