With its towering glass walls and state-of-the-art technology at every turn, the Bridgestone Technical Center is a modern day marvel. With its foundation built on the rich history of Akron’s rubber city roots, the cutting edge campus represents the past, present, and future of an industry that initially put Akron on the map. It is home to some of the best engineers and scientists in the world, and on one recent spring day, it was the center of inspiration for a young group of kids who will continue to put that same city on the map.
As part of the Foundation’s partnership with the Bridgestone Invitational, 10 of LeBron’s Firestone Park Elementary School Wheels for Education kids were the guests of honor for a learning experience of a lifetime. After humbly owning the bright lights and quick flashes of the cameras while filming the opening commercial for the Bridgestone Invitational with the company’s CEO, Gary Garfield, our students were treated to an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the extraordinary tech center. More impressive than the massive machinery and larger-than-life tires were the people who designed them, built them, and brought them to life. Surrounded by hard-working and extremely intelligent professionals, LeBron’s kids got to imagine another life path and explore a career opportunity in previously uncharted territory. With every tour stop came more questions from our curious kids, and at one point, the question of the day left a long-lasting mark on the entire group. When the engineers, designers, and other members of the Bridgestone team were asked “Who went to The University of Akron?” the kids looked on with wide-eyed inspiration as several of them raised their hands. Every hand raised represented the reality that they too, can carve out their futures through a path that leads through UA.
We are so thankful to Don Padgett III and the entire Bridgestone Invitational team for hosting our kids and inviting them to participate in the event’s annual charity luncheon. More than a memorable day, it was a life changing experience that will keep our kids pushing towards their dreams.