AKRON-General Tire is moving about 60 employees from Akron to its Charlotte, N.C., tire plant in a scaled-down plan similar to the firm's aborted 1993 program to build a technical center at the site. The employees, who will move in the next three to four months, are mostly manufacturing engineers, tire engineers and logistical staff who work closely with the Charlotte passenger tire factory, a General spokesman said.
The technical staff members who deal with the plant will remain in Akron, he said.
The reason behind the transfers is basically the same as when the company originally decided to build the technical center: increased efficiencies and better cooperation between the engineering and manufacturing staffs, the spokesman said.
When General first announced plans in early 1993 to build a technical center in Charlotte, about 250 employees were to transfer to there from Akron. At the time, 30 already had made the move and were working out of a temporary facility on the plant grounds.
After the company scrapped the technical center in August 1993, some of the 30 returned to Akron, but a few remained working in Charlotte, the spokesman said. Of the 60 being transferred there this year, some will work in the temporary building with those employees already there, and others will work in the plant itself.
Taking into account these moves and the previously announced transfer of about 16 positions from General's Buyline inside sales department, the firm's Akron headquarters will house about 725 employees at year's end, he said.
While the tech center is ``not back on the drawing board at this time,'' the spokesman acknowledged that ``studies are going on about the feasibility of who will be moving to Charlotte,'' and part of that process involves ``re-evaluating'' the decision about abandoning the tech center project.
Meantime, the new $7.5 million technology center adjacent to General's Mount Vernon, Ill., truck tire plant is ``very close to completion,'' he said, and should be open for business within a few weeks.
The tire maker is considering an August or September grand opening of the center for employees and customers, he added.
Sigmund J. Mikolajczyk in Akron contributed to this report.