Originally created 03/28/04

Pocket change



BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE NORTH AMERICAN TIRE

OPERATIONS: Light-truck and passenger-car tire factory in Aiken County

OWNER: Bridgestone Corp. of Tokyo

PRODUCTION: 7 million tires annually

LOCAL EMPLOYEES: 900 (approximate)

HISTORY: Bridgestone Corp.'s roots date to 1930, when Shojiro Ishibashi made his first tire in Kurume, Japan. The company grew rapidly and entered the U.S. market in the 1960s. In 1988, it acquired Firestone, the No. 2 tire maker in the United States, to create Bridgestone/Firestone.

The American subsidiary announced in August 1997 it would build its most advanced tire plant near Graniteville in Aiken County. By April 1999, the 1.5 million-square-foot plant had full production capabilities. A third rubber mixer was installed in December 2000, adding 150,000 square feet to the production floor.

RECENT NEWS: This month, Bridgestone/Firestone announced a new national advertising campaign to promote the 104-year-old Firestone brand. The television spots feature a modernized version of the theme song, Where the Rubber Meets the Road, which last ran as part of a Firestone brand ad campaign in 1988.

Know thyself

Knowing your "market value" is crucial to achieving success in your professional life, according to Tony Lee, the editor-in-chief and general manager of CareerJournal.com.

"The more information you have about your market value ... the greater your likelihood of success," said Mr. Lee, a co-author of The Jobs Related Almanac, 2001. "It's more than money, because if part of your worth is that you can help the company achieve its goals, you are far more able to negotiate any aspect of your employment, from money to flexible schedules, benefits and perks."

Setting goals

What does your business want to be when it grows up? Do you want it to be an industry leader, be the dominant player in your community, or simply provide you with enough income to enjoy your retirement?

Setting overall goals will help you set both short-term and long-term objectives. The Service Corps of Retired Executives, a nonprofit volunteer business-counseling organization, can provide goal-setting assistance to business owners.

Call the Augusta SCORE office at 793-9998 or the Aiken SCORE office at (803) 641-1111.

Instant success

Harvard University undergraduate Edwin Land began research that led him to develop the world's first synthetic light polarizing material. In 1932, just months before he would have graduated, the 23-year-old dropped out to establish a company to exploit the new material.

The company: Polaroid.

Though it has diversified into digital photography, the company still has instant-picture cameras similar to the ones it began selling in the late 1940s.