GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (Nov. 2, 2011)—Bridgestone Americas has broken ground on what will become a 1.5 million-sq.-ft. radial OTR tire manufacturing plant in Aiken County, S.C., and named the start-up management team for the facility.
Located at a Greenfield site in the Sage Mill Industrial Park, the factory is scheduled to begin manufacturing large and ultra-large OTR tires by the end of the first quarter of 2014, Bridgestone said. The core team of Bridgestone employees that will oversee construction and hiring efforts includes:
— Steve Brooks, chief project officer. Part of the start-up team for the existing Aiken County plant in 1997, he has served in a variety of roles for Bridgestone Americas, including his most recent position as chief information officer. He will lead the team through the entire construction and start-up process;
— Fran Jones, vice president, administration services division. Formerly the human resources manager at the Aiken County passenger and light truck plant, Jones will oversee human resources, hiring and personnel development for teammates at the facility;
— Norvel Smith, general manager. He will support Brooks in leading and coordinating the overall Aiken plant construction project and the manufacturing systems installation. Smith, who joined Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in 1972, has held various leadership positions in the company, including plant engineer for the Warren County, Tenn., commercial tire plant and plant manager at its Des Moines, Iowa, plant;
— Adam Barfoot, operations manager, who most recently served as operations manager for Bridgestone's LaVergne, Tenn., plant; and
— Mitch Mussetter, plant engineer, who will assist in managing the timing of various installation projects. He started with the company as an environmental engineer for the Des Moines plant and has worked in the existing Aiken County plant under the roles of engineering team leader and environmental engineer.
The company also has planned a 474,000-sq.-ft. expansion at its existing passenger and light truck tire plant in the county in addition to a 266,000-sq.-ft. expansion at that facility, which the company announced in July.
When completed, the three projects will total a $1.2 billion investment and will add more than 850 direct and contractor positions to the company's work force in the area, Bridgestone said.