Bill Niaura, director of new business development, said the decision to build this research center "marries Bridgestone's commitment to innovation and its environmental stewardship" and will enable the company to develop an additional domestic and sustainable source of rubber for its products.
The center was designed by Louis Perry and Associates, a Wadsworth, Ohio-based architectural firm. Contracting firm Howard S. Wright will be managing construction from its Scottsdale, Ariz., location.
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said the center will create the "type of jobs we strive to have here in Mesa because of the positive impact they have on our community."
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations L.L.C. is executing the project in collaboration with parent Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corp., which is providing the funding and strategic insights for the project.
Bridgestone Americas will operate the pilot farm and process research facility and leverage the resources of its Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Technology in Akron to provide technical and research expertise.
Guayule is a perennial shrub native to the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico that produces natural rubber (NR) in its bark and roots. The NR from guayule has almost identical qualities to that harvested from the Hevea tree, Bridgestone said, which is the primary source for the NR used in tire production.