Well, the BFGoodrich Company, formerly headquartered in Akron where its founder, Dr. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich, launched the rubber industry in 1870, sleeps with the fishes this morning. Or, I guess more accurately and less dramatically, Goodrich Corp. is now part of United Technologies.
I’m sure that few in Akron — and fewer still who read this blog — care about this one way or the other. And honestly, I’m not so sure that I care either. But I figured I was obligated to mention it, since I spent 29 years of my life working at that company when it was known mostly — and in later years incorrectly — as a manufacturer of tires and rubber products.
Interesting, at least to me, is how the story of this United Technologies acquisition didn’t cause a ripple of comment in the Akron Beacon Journal. I read about it early this a.m. in the New York Times and Charlotte Observer. And that’s how it should be, since Goodrich is headquartered in Charlotte these days.
Still, there is a story in the dead tree edition of the Akron Beacon Journal and online this morning about the growing poverty in Akron and surrounding communities. This isn’t unique to Northeast Ohio. The number of individuals and families living in poverty is expanding throughout the nation — as more and more find themselves either without jobs or as part of the working poor.
Wonder if that is because there aren’t all that many companies like the old BFGoodrich these days? You know. Companies that made things and hired plenty of people who could make decent livings, raise their families in a comfortable lifestyle, contribute to their schools and communities, and purchase goods and services that contributed to economic growth.
Take away the manufacturing and many of the white collar jobs from companies like Goodrich, Firestone, Goodyear and General Tire and a city like Akron takes on a totally different employment base and economic outlook.
And for those trying to understand why more people are falling into poverty — even those with jobs — maybe there is an answer here.