FINDLAY, Ohio—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. made it official on June 23, confirming plans to build a Global Technical Center, a $35.5 million investment that ultimately will employ 40 scientists and engineers.
The GTC will be located in Cooper's headquarters community of Findlay, at the site of its existing North America Technical Center. It is expected to be fully operational by the end of this year.
“This information's been out there for a while,” said Roy Armes, Cooper chairman, CEO and president.
The tire manufacturer announced the Global Technical Center in February 2013, receiving approval from the Ohio Third Frontier Commission for a $2.8 million grant for an industrial research and development program.
However, the project was put on hold after Cooper and Apollo Tyres Ltd. announced plans to merge in June 2013.
“We put the Global Tech Center on pause while we took stock what the combined company technical assets were going to look like and how best to structure and execute our technology innovation capabilities under a new combined entity,” Armes said.
“As most of you know, the merger didn't take place. Cooper terminated the merger agreement at the end of 2013. And with merger behind us, we promptly went back to our original plans for the Global Tech Center.”
The GTC will have a dedicated research and development team, Cooper said, focused on exploring areas such as nanotechnology and new polymers and compounds.
Curt Selhorst will lead the GTC as its director. The center will support Cooper's NATC as well as the regional technical centers of its subsidiaries, including Cooper Tire Asia's Technical Center in Kunshan, China; and Cooper Tire Europe's Technical Center in Melksham, England.