Employees, officials break ground on Goodyear plant expansion in Lawton

Sunday, June 2nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LAWTON, Okla. (AP) _ Hundreds of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. employees and family members joined company officials Saturday in breaking ground for a $250 million modernization project.

John Loulan, vice president of North American Tire operations and a former Lawton plant manager, said working toward a goal is more important than working at a job.

``It's about working together. It's about being effective,'' he said. ``It's about making a difference in the world.''

The expansion is to meet market demand for tires with larger rim diameters and high-tech tires that can run for miles without air.

The plant is the largest tire-producing facility in the world, covering 1.9 million square feet and producing 21 million tires a year. It has 2,300 employees and a yearly payroll of $150 million, counting benefits.

State Rep. Lloyd Benson, D-Frederick, said he knew Goodyear had a vision created by ``the associates at the Lawton Goodyear plant, their work product, their work ethic.''

Benson was the House author for legislation that will provide up to $36 million in immediate incentives to help fund the expansion.

Mayor Cecil Powell said everyone on the team had a challenge to make the plant a long-term success.

``That challenge was accepted and the tough got going, and here we are today,'' he said.