In February 1929, construction of the very first tire manufacturing facility in the South began. Four months later, the first tire was built and the city of Gadsden prospered.
Eighty-five years later, Goodyear-Gadsden remains the largest employer in Etowah County. It employs over 1,550 people that produce top-quality passenger and light truck tires for the original equipment and replacement tire markets.
To celebrate its successes over the past 85 years, Goodyear-Gadsden is hosting a number of activities, including a Memorial Day picnic for the families of associates and a golf tournament to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Gadsden/Etowah.
The first anniversary celebration will be for Goodyear-Gadsden retirees. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 24 at Convention Hall.
“We are celebrating our 85th anniversary and our retirees deserve to celebrate this milestone with us,” said Jackie Brehm Edmondson, communications manager and organizer of anniversary events. “We are still a productive, important part of our company’s footprint thanks to the hard work of those who came to work at the Goodyear plant before us.”
The retiree celebration will kick-off at 10 a.m. with an hour-long meet-and-greet followed by a hot dog lunch at 11 a.m.
“I think what people will enjoy the most will be socializing with old friends and co-workers,” said Jerry Jones, who retired from Goodyear-Gadsden in 2010 and is a member of the Retiree Celebration Planning Committee. “Some people haven’t seen each other in years, and this gives them the opportunity to reconnect.”
Jones serves on the planning committee with fellow retirees Mike Nunn, Jimmy Perkins and Mike Ford along with current Goodyear-Gadsden associates Betty Davis, Gary “Doc” Holladay and Debra Gunter.
“We have been planning this event for a couple of months and we know the work has not been in vain,” he said. “I feel like we’re going to have a good turn-out.”
A short program of speakers, including Director of Manufacturing Gordon Linkous and USW Local 12 President David Hayes, will begin at noon. The program will conclude with a special performance by the Goodyear Good Guys, which includes members Larry Davis, Randy Sitz, Andy Dennis and Rickey Johnson.
“The Good Guys formed in 2004 for our 75th anniversary celebration,” Edmondson said. “They were very popular and performed for a number of years throughout the community. They are all retired now and are getting back together for this special performance.”
A historical exhibit featuring Goodyear memorabilia will be on display at the event. Retirees who attend the event will be given a CD of photographs that span the plant’s eight and half decades of business.
“We have hundreds of retirees who still reside in Etowah County and we’d love to see them all,” Edmondson said.
“We have visited retiree groups to ensure that we reach as many people as possible. We have distributed flyers. We have sent out emails and publicized through social media. We are doing everything we can to spread the word about this fun-filled event.”