Apr 15, 2016 NASHVILLE, Tenn.

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations Announces Technology, Manufacturing and Procurement Leadership Changes

Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone) today announced the following leadership changes to the Technology, Manufacturing and Procurement team.

  • Rioji Hirokawa has been named executive director of BATO LA Manufacturing South America
  • Dave Abdallah has been named executive director of Process Engineering Development (PED)
  • Jim Kozy has been named vice president, Bridgestone Americas Center for Research & Technology (BART)
  • Jeff Henegar has been named director of technical planning at the Americas Technical Center (ATC)
  • Mitchel (Mitch) Kritzell has been named director of commercial tire development at the ATC
  • Jamie McNutt has been named director of compounding at Bridgestone Americas Product Development (BAPD)

Hirokawa began his career with Bridgestone Brazil in 1996 as an engineer at the Santo Andre Plant. He has served as the Bahia plant manager and, most recently, general manager of manufacturing for Bridgestone Latin America. Hirokawa earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Faculdade de Engenharia Industrial and master’s degree in business management from Fundação Getulio Vargas (Getulio Vargas Foundation) in Sao Paulo.

Abdallah started his career with Bridgestone at the ATC in 1997 and has held various product development roles, including the management of two Materials Development departments. In addition, he led an 18-month single, non-core innovation project reporting to Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations' corporate headquarters. Abdallah earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Akron and MBA from Kent State University.

Kozy began his career with Bridgestone in 1981 as a process engineer for Commercial Tires. Since joining Bridgestone, he has been involved in compound development for commercial and consumer tires, as well as raw material development. In 1994, Kozy transitioned to management and has held several roles, including director of compound development and laboratories. Kozy earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Akron.

Henegar began his career with Bridgestone as a junior engineer in 1991. During his career, he has served as the FSDP division manager for Strategic Business Development and helped Firestone Building Products enter the renewable energy market by creating a new division – Firestone Energy Solutions. He most recently served as director of research and development for Firestone Building Products. Henegar earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and master’s degree in management and finance from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Kritzell joined Bridgestone in 2001 and has overseen teams at the ATC, the North America Manufacturing and Engineering Center (NAMEC) in LaVergne, Tennessee, and the South America Engineering Offices (SAEO) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Before joining the Commercial Tire Division in 2014, Kritzell served as manager of OE Tire Development. He most recently served as director of TBR Tire Development. Kritzell earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Akron.

McNutt began her career with Bridgestone in 1993 as a junior chemist working in the raw materials area. During her career she has served as section manager of the Consumer Structural Development group and manager of Consumer Replacement Tire Development. Most recently she served as manager of Consumer Replacement Tire. McNutt earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Akron.