New Goodyear headquarters is where collaborative efforts will open the next chapter Featured

1:44am EDT December 20, 2013
New Goodyear headquarters is where collaborative efforts will open the next chapter

When the new $160 million global headquarters of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. was designed, the themes that would be followed were a far cry from those of the first Goodyear office building. The new headquarters was built based on five themes:

  • 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.
  • Openness — Transparency, light and views to each other and the world.
  • Environment — Smart solutions, active and passive, for sustainability.

As a result, gone are the antiquated buildings that made it difficult to collaborate, let alone taking into account the logistics of having to take moving sidewalks to get from one building to another.

The new headquarters, which officially opened in May 2013, has 639,000 square feet of space over seven floors and is full of collaborative workspaces: 173 conference rooms, accommodating six to 35 people; eight to 10 huddle rooms per floor, accommodating two or three people each; and the Goodyear Learning Center, accommodating 30 to 100 people, offering flexibility for many training class sizes and configurations.

Well-received

Chairman and CEO Richard Kramer says the collaboration-friendly offerings were a hit from the beginning.

“We can see it; we have people who are saying everything from, ‘Hey, I haven’t seen that person ... I saw that person three times in two years and now I’ve seen him three times in a week going up and down an elevator or in the cafeteria now that we are together,’” Kramer says.

“I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘Hey, this is a new building, this is a great work place. I need to step up my game now to really make sure I am contributing to Goodyear.’”

The company cafeteria is 18,677 square feet and has seating for 665, with an outdoor patio that can seat 95.

“You see people collaborating even in the lunchroom,” Kramer says. “You see them sitting outside. We have a walking track around the back. We see people getting together and having discussions and ideation about things they never had the opportunity to do before. So it’s working.

“With its advanced technology and collaborative work environment, the new headquarters is providing our associates with great opportunities to come together as one team. There’s genuine excitement about our new home, and more importantly, greater excitement about our future,” Kramer says.

High-tech equipped

All the latest technology amenities are in use at the headquarters, including Wi-Fi throughout the building; digital signage for associate communications; all-in-one print/copy/fax machines with virtual queue and badge-tap access; softphones with VoIP to allow associates to make and receive calls from personal computers; video conferencing technology; SMART interactive white boards and live broadcast viewing.

Environmentally, the headquarters was designed to obtain a Silver rating from Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. The design reduces heating and cooling costs, water use and waste while optimizing energy use — wingfoot frits on the lobby glass reduce heat and glare.

A healthy air environment (no “new building” smell) has been created through the use of construction and surface materials with little or no volatile compounds.

The headquarters workspace enables natural light to pass through the work area in support of green efforts.

Building materials include wood from old growth logs reclaimed from Ohio rivers and tributaries. No volatile compounds were permitted in hard or soft surfaces.

Nearly 2,000 corporate and North American Tire associates are located in the new building, which is connected to Goodyear’s previously existing Innovation Center and serves as a central campus for the company. Almost 1,000 associates work at the Innovation Center.

 “Our plan is to leverage what we have brought together here,” Kramer says. “We have our research building here, our North American building here, we have a way for us to collaborate physically as opposed to having to get into the car and driving somewhere.

“This building is an opportunity to leverage Goodyear as one team. Our job now is to make sure that we do that and that we take advantage of this — and we are well positioned to do that.

“It represents our commitment to Akron and Northeast Ohio,” he says. “Not just to the Akron of old, but to a revitalized and progressive Akron that continues to evolve and prosper in groundbreaking ways.”

Public-private partnership

Another unique use of collaboration involves the building’s public-private cooperative construction. Industrial Realty Group of Torrance, Calif., which oversaw the headquarters construction and is leasing it to Goodyear, purchased Goodyear’s previous headquarters. Stuart Lichter, founder and chairman of IRG, collaborated with the city to turn it into Canal Place, a $30 million office and retail complex that houses almost 100 businesses and where more than 1,000 people are employed.

Private spending of $378 million was used to develop the new headquarters, parking deck improvements and part of the mixed-use East End project. City, state and federal funds of $227.6 million are going for infrastructure development, according to city figures.

Lichter plans to redevelop

Goodyear’s former campus and headquarters into new office, retail, residential and recreational space.

“What the new building does for us is it really starts a next phase in our chapter as a company,” Kramer says. “As a 115-year-old company, we continually have to rejuvenate ourselves, and part of that rejuvenation is the new headquarters. As we do that as a company, it is going to flow what we do into our brand.

“Our brand is really a representation of the values that we have as a company, the products we make, how we go about doing that, and this building is what’s going to facilitate continued progress and continued leadership in the industry — and that’s what this is going to do for us.

“As we go out to recruit and bring the best people and the best minds into Goodyear, this building has already served as a tremendous catalyst, I think. It makes a big difference.” ●

How to reach: Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. (330) 796-2121 or www.goodyear.com

 

GOODYEAR TIRE AND RUBBER CO. TIMELINE

1898 — Goodyear incorporated with small factory on Akron’s east side along Little Cuyahoga River.

1900 — Goodyear begins construction on two-story office building “up the hill” on East Market Street.

1915 — Goodyear begins construction on the East Market Street factory and clock tower, formerly known as the company’s Global and North American Tire Headquarters.

1916 — Goodyear begins construction on “Plant 2,” on the former Martha Avenue (now Innovation Way), currently known as the company’s Akron Innovation Center.

1917 — Construction begins on Goodyear Hall, designed to be an employee’s recreation facility with largest gymnasium in Ohio, theater, community rooms, training facility, housing for trainees, etc.

1973 — Goodyear renovates East Market Street headquarters to coincide with the company’s 75th anniversary.

1978 — Goodyear begins a $250 million renovation of the former “Plant 2” factory to become its global technical center.

2011 — Goodyear breaks ground on a new Global Headquarters building.

2013 — Akron associates make the final transition to one campus optimized for collaboration.