Wednesday, 06 February 2019 11:58

Firestone Racing Committed to Akron Through 2025

INDYCAR and Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (Bridgestone) today announced a five-year partnership extension for the Firestone brand to continue serving as the sole tire supplier and Official Tire of the NTT IndyCar® Series through 2025. The agreement, which includes continued rights for Firestone as the Official Tire of the Indianapolis 500®, furthers the brand’s storied history in open-wheel racing and its longstanding commitment to tire innovation.

In support of this extension, Bridgestone also announced plans to build a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Akron, Ohio that will serve as the future home of Firestone race tire manufacturing. The Bridgestone Advanced Tire Production Center (ATPC) will be located across the street from the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center and less than a mile from the Bridgestone Advanced Technology Workshop, where race tires are currently produced. Plans for the ATPC include both new construction and the full renovation of an existing structure.

The news was shared at a special event in Indianapolis that included INDYCAR and Bridgestone leaders, racing legend Mario Andretti, and veteran INDYCAR driver and team owner Ed Carpenter. A second event also was held at the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center in Akron with two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr.

“Champions have relied on Firestone tires for more than a century, and racing has always been the ideal proving ground for new technologies that help us evolve and advance our company’s passenger tire offerings,” said Philip Dobbs, chief marketing officer, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. “As the NTT IndyCar Series continues gaining momentum, we are introducing new fans to the Firestone brand and strengthening our relationship with the drivers who use our durable, dependable Firestone tires.”

“Firestone has long been a great INDYCAR partner and is making a huge investment to the NTT IndyCar Series with its new facility in Akron,” INDYCAR president Jay Frye said. “This extension also reflects Firestone’s commitment to helping to shape INDYCAR’s paddock-wide, five-year plan.”

Firestone is entering its 20th consecutive season as the sole tire supplier of the NTT IndyCar Series. It will produce and deliver more than 26,000 Firehawk race tires to teams across the upcoming 2019 schedule, including more than 6,000 tires for track activities related to the Indianapolis 500 alone. The brand’s roots in the sport date back to 1911 when the inaugural Indianapolis 500 was won on Firestone tires. In all, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” has been won on Firestone tires 69 times – more than double all other tire manufacturers combined.

“I started driving on Firestone tires 55 years ago, and they were on my car for the 1969 Indianapolis 500 when I took the checkered flag,” said Mario Andretti. “The trust I have always placed in Firestone was cemented that day 50 years ago when I drove on the same right rear tire for the whole race – and it never let me down. Firestone has always been a dependable partner, and I am excited to see its partnership with INDYCAR continue.”

The new ATPC will continue a legacy of tire manufacturing in Akron that began with the founding of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in 1900. A team of more than 50 expert tire builders and manufacturing professionals at the Advanced Technology Workshop currently keeps that tradition alive through the production of more than 60 unique race tire specifications for the NTT IndyCar Series season. All race tire manufacturing will move to the new facility over the next four years, and early plans are for the site to produce its first Firestone Firehawk race tires for testing in the NTT IndyCar Series by the end of 2020.

“The Akron community and race tire development have each played significant roles in our company’s past, and they will continue to drive innovation for us in the future,” said Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer, Bridgestone Americas. “We are proud to ensure that Firestone race tires will be built in Akron for many years to come, soon in a new facility that will be as cutting-edge as the tires it produces.”

In addition to providing tire technology and on-track support, Firestone will continue to be a key partner in the marketing and promotion of the NTT IndyCar Series. The brand’s comprehensive, season-long activation includes fan engagement, sponsorships and signage at multiple venues, robust social and digital media programs, traditional media, and hospitality.

The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season kicks off March 10 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which will be broadcast live on NBCSN at 1:00 PM ET. Firestone also recently announced it will serve as title sponsor of the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech® Raceway Laguna Seca, which will be broadcast live on NBC on September 22 at 2:30 PM ET.

Published in Local
Tuesday, 24 July 2018 11:33

APS Adds to College, Career Academies

(Akron Public Schools) Today Akron Public Schools (APS) and Bridgestone Americas, Inc. announced the new Bridgestone Academy of Applied Engineering and Technology, which will bring a Firestone Complete Auto Care (FCAC) center to East Community Learning Center (CLC) in the Fall of the 2018/2019 school year. The center will give up to 100 students hands-on experience working with top-of-the-line automotive technology while learning business practices necessary to run a retail store. Bridgestone Americas will also become a Named Academy Partner in the growing community of businesses engaging in the new College & Career Academies of Akron for APS high schools.

Akron Public Schools will retrofit a portion of the existing Automotive Technology lab at East CLC in conjunction with Bridgestone Americas, which will donate materials, fixtures, and point-of-sale systems. The center will come complete with software programs, customer waiting area and equipment to service vehicles. Uniformed students will provide limited auto maintenance services to the local community while practicing exemplary customer service and business acumen. All revenue generated from service and sales will be reinvested into the program.

“The Automotive Technology program at East CLC has a long history of teaching students auto repair skills,” Chadwick Groom, East CLC automotive technology teacher said. “This collaboration with Bridgestone Americas will strengthen our curriculum by providing students with more advanced training while learning about customer service and business fundamentals.”

“Bridgestone is thrilled to be part of the College & Career Academies of Akron. This collaboration underscores our long-term, deep-seated commitment and ties to the Akron community and education in particular,” said Christine Karbowiak, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Risk Officer, and Executive Vice President, Bridgestone Americas.“Bridgestone is a leader in innovation, and this training center is a tangible representation of Our Way to Serve, our corporate social responsibility commitment. The center reflects our dedication to educating the next generation of automotive and retail professionals, using the latest technology, operational procedures and business practices offered in our Firestone Complete Auto Care tire and automotive service centers.”

This new center was inspired by Maplewood High School Automotive Training Center, a public-private collaboration between Bridgestone Americas and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools to benefit Nashville education. Since the beginning of the collaboration in 2015, Bridgestone has hired 17 Maplewood graduates as store teammates and 12 as interns at Firestone Complete Auto Care locations in the Nashville region.

“We are grateful for the investment Bridgestone Americas has made in our students at East CLC,” APS Superintendent David W. James said. “This collaboration marks another step forward in the transformation of APS high school education to College & Career Academies, providing all students with the opportunity to explore their world in greater depth and achieve success after graduation.”

APS was designated a Ford Next Generation Learning Community in May, 2017. Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, is supporting the transformation of public high schools into career-themed academies to better prepare students for college and professional success in today's competitive global economy. College and Career Academies of Akron are supported by the following key strategic partners: GAR Foundation, United Way of Summit County, ConxusNEO, Summit Education Initiative, and Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce.

The collaboration between Akron Public Schools and Bridgestone Americas, Inc. was formed with the help of United Way of Summit County. In May, APS announced that United Way would serve as a link between the College and Career Academies of Akron and local businesses to provide hands-on learning opportunities for students and to strengthen the education to employment pipeline in Summit County.

“United Way is proud to work with Bridgestone Americas, Inc. to bring the Bridgestone Academy of Applied Engineering and Technology to East CLC,” said Jim Mullen, United Way president and CEO. “Akron Public Schools, through their College and Career Academies, are transforming their educational model. Bridgestone’s investment will help them create exciting new learning experiences that will prepare students with valuable skills for future success.”

 

Published in Local

The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is a global event that truly highlights Akron's Firestone Country Club and in turn the entire Northeast Ohio area. 

While it's obviously about the sport of golf, there is a much more important effect that is felt among northeast Ohio's non-profit organizations. 

During a luncheon at the Bridgestone Akron Technical Center Thursday, a check for more than $1 Million was presented and diviied up between 38 local non-profits, including Akron Children's Hospital, University Hospitals, the LeBron James Family Foundation, the Humane Society of Summit County, and more. 

1Bridgestone Invitational Luncheon 3

Of the donation, Bridgestone Invitational Executive Director Don Padgett III they reason they do it was on display during Thursday's luncheon: "Over a million dollars going back to Northeast Ohio (and) the fantastic causes that we celebrate here today." Padgett says that more than $26 million has been raised for local non-profits since 1984. 

Also, for the 7th straight year, Bridgestone Invitational has named a local recipient of the $5,000 "surprise grant." This year's grant goes to Pregnancy Solutions Services in Akron. 

See the full press release recapping the grant presentation and highlighting the 2017 Bridgestone Invitational that runs August 2nd through August 6th below: 

AKRON, Ohio – The World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and Northern Ohio Golf Charities today announced the donation of $1 million in charitable funds to Northeast Ohio organizations in connection with the 2016 tournament. The announcement was made at the annual Bridgestone Invitational, Northern Ohio Golf Charities luncheon held at the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center in Akron.

Representatives from Bridgestone Americas, Inc., the PGA TOUR and Northern Ohio Golf Charities attended the luncheon to celebrate the tournament’s charitable mission and announce the donation recipients. The luncheon was emceed by Chris Tye, news anchor and reporter for WKYC, Channel 3.

Thirty-eight charities throughout the region benefitted from the $1,015,981 total raised including the tournament’s two signature charities, Akron Children’s Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

“The World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational is a special event for this community and the region,” said Rick Burke, President, Executive Committee, Northern Ohio Golf Charities. “It is a world class golf event that generates economic development for the area but more importantly, it enables Northern Ohio Golf Charities to distribute in excess of one million dollars each year to support so many worthy and necessary charitable causes. The tournament has provided Northern Golf Charities the unique opportunity to enhance the lives of so many in our community and we are immensely grateful to our partners Bridgestone, the PGA TOUR and Firestone Country Club for providing our organization a platform to achieve our charitable mission.”

Charities recognized at the luncheon included: Akron Children’s Hospital and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, the LeBron James Family Foundation, The First Tee Chapters of Akron, Canton and Cleveland, Akron Children’s Museum, Akron General Foundation, Embracing Futures, Inc., Summa Foundation and the Humane Society of Summit County. (Please see attached document for a full listing of grant recipients.)

For the seventh year, Bridgestone Americas, Inc., funded an additional $5,000 contribution to a charitable organization. The 2017 Bridgestone Award was presented to Pregnancy Solutions & Services.

“Bridgestone is a global company with global responsibilities, but we understand the importance of supporting and improving the local communities in which we live, work and play,” said Gordon Knapp, CEO & President, Bridgestone Americas, Inc. “It’s an honor to partner once again with Northern Ohio Golf Charities on the Bridgestone Award, which this year we’re proud to present to Pregnancy Solutions & Services.”

Northern Ohio Golf Charities Foundation is part of a volunteer organization that has partnered with professional golf tournaments at Firestone Country Club for more than 50 years. During this time, the tournaments have provided more than $26 million to local charities seeking to improve the quality of life in Northeast Ohio.

“Bridgestone and Northern Ohio Golf Charities are phenomenal partners that enable the Bridgestone Invitational to give back to worthy local causes ,” said Don Padgett, Executive Director of the Bridgestone Invitational. “This event has a meaningful impact on the area all year long and we have our fans, area businesses and volunteers to thank for their support.”

Among the guests at the luncheon were: Gordon Knapp, CEO, Bridgestone Americas Inc.; Don Padgett III, Executive Director, Bridgestone Invitational, and Rick Burke, President, Northern Ohio Golf Charities Foundation, Inc.

Not-for-profit, 501 (c)(3) organizations can receive funds generated in conjunction with the 2017 Bridgestone Invitational by submitting a grant request to Northern Ohio Golf Charities. Further details can be found at www.nogcf.org.

Tickets to the 2017 Bridgestone Invitational can be purchased by visiting www.worldgolfchampionships.com or calling 330-644-2299.

The following non-profits split the more than $1M from the 2016 Bridgestone Invitational: 

1. 91.3 The Summit 2. Akron Children's Foundation 3. Akron Children's Museum 4. Akron General Foundation (Edwin Shaw Golf) 5. Barberton Area Community Ministries 6. Blessings in a Backpack 7. Cleveland Kids Book Bank 8. East Akron Neighborhood Development 9. Embracing Futures, Inc. 10. Emerald Development & Economic Network 11. Family Promise of Greater Cleveland 12. Flashes of Hope 13. Forever Amber Acres Animal Sanctuary 14. Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity 15. Hiram Farm Living Learning Community 16. Humane Society of Summit County 17. Humility of Mary Housing 18. Interval Brotherhood Home 19. LeBron James Family Foundation 20. Lift Up Ministries 21. Pregnancy Solutions & Services, Inc. 22. RABAB Ministries, The Well Akron 23. Regina Health Center 24. Ronald McDonald House of Akron 25. Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland 26. Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs 27. Stewart's Caring Place 28. Summa Foundation 29. Summit Choral Society 30. Summit Metro Parks 31. The First Tee of Akron 32. The First Tee of Canton 33. The First Tee of Cleveland 34. True Freedom, Inc. 35. Truly Reaching You 36. United Disability Services, Inc. 37. UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital 38. Urban Vision

Published in Local
Monday, 26 October 2015 08:56

Bridgestone Deal Lands Pep Boys

Manny, Moe and Jack finally have an Akron connection. Bridgestone Americas agreeing to an $835 million dollar all-cash deal to buy out the Pep Boys outlets that will add more than 800 more retail sales and service outlets to the Bridgestone/Firestone existing network of 2,200 stores, increasing that number by more than a third. The deal is expected to close in 2016. 

 

(Bridgestone) Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (Bridgestone) and The Pep Boys – Manny, Moe & Jack (Pep Boys; NYSE: PBY) today announced that Pep Boys and Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC (BSRO), a wholly owned subsidiary of Bridgestone, have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which BSRO will acquire Pep Boys in an all-cash transaction for $15.00 per share, or approximately $835 million in aggregate equity value. This represents a premium of 23 percent over Pep Boys’ closing price of $12.15 on October 23, 2015 and a premium of 62 percent over Pep Boys’ unaffected (prior to market speculation of a potential transaction) price of $9.25 on May 19, 2015. The transaction is structured as a tender offer. 

“Bridgestone and Pep Boys are two leading companies that share a proud heritage in the American automotive services industry,” said Gary Garfield, CEO and President of Bridgestone Americas. “Our shared expertise and commitment to our customers and employees will help us build an even stronger organization.”

Pep Boys, headquartered in Philadelphia, has been one of the nation’s leading automotive aftermarket chains since 1921. With more than 7,500 service bays in more than 800 locations in 35 states and Puerto Rico, Pep Boys offers tires, maintenance and repair and parts and accessories.

The acquisition accelerates the global growth strategy of Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tire and rubber company and parent of Bridgestone Americas. Pep Boys will add approximately 800 locations to BSRO’s nationwide network of 2,200 tire and automotive service centers, which operate under the Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works brand banners. 

Along with these company-owned stores and Bridgestone’s more than 5,000 long-standing dealers and distributors in the United States, Pep Boys’ distribution network will help reach even more consumers with the products and services they want when they need them. The acquisition represents an immediate nationwide expansion of more than 35 percent for BSRO.

“We are excited to join the Bridgestone family of companies to become part of the world’s largest company-owned tire and automotive service retail network,” said Scott Sider, CEO of Pep Boys. “This transaction delivers a significant premium for Pep Boys’ shareholders and offers new opportunities for our employees across a bigger business. We look forward to working with the Bridgestone team for a smooth and successful transition.”

The transaction is expected to close in the beginning of 2016. Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of both Bridgestone and Pep Boys, a wholly owned subsidiary of BSRO will commence a tender offer for all outstanding shares of Pep Boys at $15.00 per share in cash. The completion of the tender offer will be conditioned on Pep Boys’ shareholders tendering at least a majority of Pep Boys’ outstanding shares, determined on a fully diluted basis, and other customary closing conditions, including expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. Following completion of the tender offer, both companies will complete a merger in which Pep Boys shares that were not tendered in the tender offer will be cancelled and converted into the right to receive $15.00 per share in cash. Following completion of the transaction, Pep Boys will be wholly owned by and operate under BSRO. Pep Boys’ stock will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Published in Local