POLYMER

Firestone executive to retire

Firestone Polymers announced Thursday that Bob Handlos, the president and chief executive officer, plans to retire at the end of 2016.

Gene Lavengco, current executive director of manufacturing, will assume the top role effective Saturday. Lavengco has worked within the organization for 36 years in a number of positions.

Firestone Polymers is headquartered in Akron and has research, development and sales offices here. It has production plants in Lake Charles, La., and Orange, Texas.

Handlos was in charge of the Bridgestone Tech Center project in Akron.

“We express our sincere appreciation to Bob for his 32 years of service to Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations,” said Yuji Mochizuki, vice president and overseer of Internal Manufacturing Management at Bridgestone Corp.

Changes at Myers Industries

Myers Industries announced this week that Kevin Gehrt has joined the Akron company as vice president, human resources, the company said in a news release.

Gehrt served a similar role in his previous position at Cardinal Health.

The company also announced that effective Sept. 6, it consolidated its existing two business segments, material handling and distribution, under single group presidents and leadership teams..

Mike Valentino has been appointed group president, material handling, and Alex Williamson has been appointed group president, distribution. Both will continue to report to President and CEO Dave Banyard.

ECONOMY

Construction boosts GDP

The U.S. economy expanded at a slightly faster pace in the spring than previously reported, aided by new-found strength in business construction.

The Commerce Department said Thursday the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the economy, expanded at an annual pace of 1.4 percent in the April-June quarter. That is up from a previous estimate of 1.1 percent growth. Much of the upward revision reflected an increase in spending on structures such as office buildings.

The modest second quarter gain followed weaker readings of 0.8 percent GDP growth in the first quarter and 0.9 percent in the final three months of last year. Economists, however, believe the economy has accelerated in the current quarter, helped by strong consumer spending.

REAL ESTATE

U.S. Bank, L.A. settle lawsuit

The Los Angeles city attorney has reached a $13.5 million settlement with U.S. Bank to resolve allegations that the nation’s fifth largest bank operated as a slumlord and allowed hundreds of foreclosed properties to deteriorate, fostering crime and blight in L.A. neighborhoods slammed by the housing crisis.

The settlement, announced Thursday, requires the Minneapolis-based firm to maintain its foreclosed properties in “accordance with all applicable laws and standards for two years.” A full-time bank employee will work with city agencies to resolve code violations of foreclosed properties across Los Angeles, the city attorney’s office said.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.