Celebrating 50 Years of Goodyear in Danville

Goodyear, the largest private employer in Danville, broke ground in this city half a century ago and successfully produced its first tire on November 25, 1966. The Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce hosted a breakfast meeting last week, during which the plant manager, Greg Kerr, shared the inspiring story of the factory’s history. With its dedicated workforce, Goodyear in Danville has not only invested over $200 million in its facility but also provided employment for more than 2,100 individuals.

Despite the recent workplace incidents at Goodyear resulting in unfortunate fatalities, Kerr reassured the audience that the company is actively focused on improving safety measures. Recognizing the importance of the health and well-being of its employees, Goodyear is collaborating with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Virginia Occupational Safety and Health program to implement necessary enhancements. Kerr declined to provide specific details but emphasized the commitment to employee safety.

Choosing Danville as the site for its tenth tire plant in 1965, Goodyear commenced construction on the massive 540,475-square-foot facility on March 10, 1966. This single-unit plant was the largest of its kind built by Goodyear at the time. The monumental moment occurred on November 25, 1966, when the Danville plant successfully cured its first 900 x 20 truck tire.

The following decade witnessed the production of radial tires at the plant, as well as its significant contributions to Goodyear’s global achievements. The 1980s saw employees generously volunteering their time to build a golf course for Goodyear, and during this era, the Danville plant proudly manufactured the company’s third billionth tire. In the 1990s, the plant underwent a transformation with the radialization of its MLT truck tires.

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The Goodyear-Danville plant specializes in producing radial truck tires, bias aircraft tires, and radial aircraft tires. These tires have been serving the global market for more than 50 years, with over 100 million truck and aircraft tires cured at the facility. Notably, the Danville plant stands as the sole North American location manufacturing aviation tires for Goodyear.

Over the years, the facility has expanded to approximately 2 million square feet, occupying 56 acres of land. Surprisingly, part of this vast area extends into North Carolina. Kerr proudly mentioned that the plant has employed more than 9,200 people during its 50-year journey. Remarkably, approximately 70 percent of the current workforce has been employed for 15 years or less, while 16 percent have dedicated themselves to Goodyear for over 25 years.

Undoubtedly, the Goodyear-Danville plant holds a significant economic impact, contributing around $1.25 billion to the region’s total output. Its tires are trusted and utilized by prestigious truck and aircraft manufacturers, including Airbus, Boeing, FedEx Corporation, and the U.S. military. The plant’s exceptional reputation has earned recognition from the General Assembly, with Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville, commending Goodyear for its invaluable contributions to the city.

In celebration of 50 years of tire manufacturing excellence, Goodyear proudly acknowledges Danville’s unwavering support and looks forward to an even brighter future. For more information about the Ames Farm Center, where you can find a wide range of products, visit Ames Farm Center.

*Note: All credits go to John Crane for the original article published in the Danville Register & Bee.

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