May 9, 2013 Nashville, TN

Bridgestone Americas Breaking Ground On New Biorubber Process Research Center

Mayor, company and community leaders to attend milestone event in Mesa, Ariz., on May 16

Bridgestone Americas Inc. (BSA) today announced the groundbreaking of its Biorubber Process Research Center, a research and development project in Mesa, Ariz., to investigate the use of the Guayule plant as an alternative natural rubber source. The invitation-only groundbreaking ceremony will take place on May 16 and will feature key leaders from Bridgestone and the local community, including the Honorable Scott Smith, Mayor of Mesa.

“We’re thrilled to see our months of planning and hard work come to fruition with next week’s groundbreaking,” said Bill Niaura, BSA’s director of new business development. “This significant research investment in the Biorubber Process Research Center marries Bridgestone’s commitment to innovation and its environmental stewardship. Our new, remarkable facility will enable us to work to develop an additional domestic and sustainable source of rubber for our products.”

In conjunction with the announcement, Bridgestone released three renderings of the new Biorubber Process Research Center. The center was designed by Wadsworth, Ohio-based architectural firm, Louis Perry and Associates. Contracting firm Howard S. Wright will be managing construction from its Scottsdale, Ariz., location. Newly released renderings are available for viewing and download from the Bridgestone Americas media site.

Once completed, the center will be home to a staff of 40 researchers and technicians. The 10-acre site will include an 8,400-square-foot office/lab building, a four-platform, 3,500-square-foot shrub prep building and a 3,100-square-foot mechanical and electrical building. The first rubber samples for tire evaluations are expected in mid-2015.

“We are pleased that a company with the history and reputation of Bridgestone has chosen Mesa for this very important research and development operation,” Mayor Scott Smith said. “This is the kind of company and type of jobs we strive to have here in Mesa because of the positive impact they have on our community.”

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC, a BSA subsidiary, is executing the project in collaboration with Bridgestone Corporation. Bridgestone Corporation is providing the funding and strategic insights for the project, while the Bridgestone Americas team is responsible for operating the pilot farm and process research facility. The Bridgestone Americas team also will leverage the resources of its Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Technology and Bridgestone’s Americas Technical Center to provide technical and research expertise.

Guayule (pronounced Why-u-lee) is a perennial shrub native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The plant produces natural rubber in its bark and roots. Natural rubber from Guayule has almost identical qualities to that harvested from the Hevea tree, which currently is the primary source for the natural rubber used in tire production.

Members of the press who would like media credentials for the event can contact Bridgestone Americas Corporate and Community Relations at: 877-201-2373.

Downloadable photos of Guayule from the USDA available: