A Chinese firm is looking to tap into Akron’s tire heritage as it moves ahead with an expansion into the U.S.
MESNAC, which bills itself as the world’s second-largest producer of equipment for the rubber and tire industry, announced Friday night that it plans to open a research and technical center in Akron.
The company says the venture will work closely with its Research Institute in Qingdao, China.
The primary focus of the Akron facility, the company said, will be to develop equipment and systems that cater to technical requirements of its North American and Latin American customers.
In the announcement at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn, the company said the Akron facility will employ as many as 35 research specialists by 2016. The company plans to immediately begin looking for “multi-skilled personnel including equipment engineers, material researchers, systems analysts and software engineers.”
Akron spokeswoman Stephanie York said the facility will be located at Miller and Ridgewood roads.
Company Chairman Yuan Zhongxue said the selection of Akron was no coincidence.
“We recognize that Akron was the birthplace of the tire and rubber industry in the USA and today it still represents a city, where companies associated with our industry, are encouraged to establish due to the availability of technical and engineering resources and talent,” he said in a statement. “We are looking forward to working with our customers, the city, the University of Akron and our new employees to make our new R&D center an effective technical unit and to ensure that MESNAC meets its social obligations to its new home in the Akron area.”
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic said the announcement is good news for the city’s tire industry and its job market.
“My team and I have been working to bring MESNAC to Akron since 2005, and I am thrilled that they decided to make Akron home to their America Research and Technical facility,” the mayor said.