AKRON—After more than 50 years in the rubber industry, Donald Askea has retired from Polymer Valley Chemicals, Inc., where he worked as vice president of technology and quality, following stints at several other companies that resulted in two patents for rubber testing equipment.
Askea spent 14 years at Polymer Valley and will "remain close to activities and advise as needed," according to a news release from the company, which offers mineral fillers, carbon black and custom treating and packaging.
Josh Guilliams, vice president of technical operations, has taken over Askea's responsibilities of overseeing quality management and manufacturing systems. Askea also had been in charge of new product and process development as well as customer technical support during his years at Polymer Valley, which has a headquarters in Akron and production site in Macon, Ga.
Polymer Valley officials recruited Askea in 2006 when he was general manager of the Akron laboratories of Smithers Group, which provides testing, consulting, information and compliance services for transportation, materials, components, packaging, and other markets.
"Don is a veteran of the 'old tire company days in Akron,'" the Polymer Valley release reads. "He has been a major contributor everywhere he has worked and has left an indelible mark on the industry and the people he has interacted with over his career. We value the knowledge and expertise Don shared while a member of our team, and it is with great respect and appreciation we wish him well in his retirement."
Askea started in the industry at B.F. Goodrich Tire Co. upon graduation from the University of Akron in 1968. He held a variety of technical and management positions for the tire manufacturer throughout the next 33 years.
In his last role at B.F. Goodrich, Askea served as manager of rubber instruments and testing services. He was awarded two patents for rubber testing equipment.
In 2001, Askea took the lab management job at Smithers, which he held for five years until the offer came from Polymer Valley.
During his career, Askea also was active with numerous professional groups in the rubber industry, and he chaired several committees on testing methods and education.
In retirement, Askea plans to spend more time with family.
Polymer Valley has named Guilliams as its new vice president of technology and quality. He has 20 years of experience in the tire and rubber industries.