AKRON, Ohio, June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- In a gala event held at its Wingfoot Lake Airship Hangar today, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company christened its newest airship: Spirit of Innovation. Matthew Harrelson of Uniontown, Ohio submitted the winning name in the company's "Name the Blimp" contest and is awarded the Grand Prize, the use of a Goodyear blimp for a day. The winning name was officially selected based upon a nationwide vote by the American public and a panel of Goodyear judges. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050204/GTLOGO ) "The response from the American public was both overwhelming and gratifying, and I was pleased that the name Spirit of Innovation was chosen," said Bob Keegan, CEO and president, Goodyear. "Innovation has been a critical part of our evolution as a company, from innovation in our new product offerings, to innovation in the way we now do our jobs. The fact that the American public agreed with their votes is further proof that innovation is becoming synonymous with Goodyear." For the first time in the 81-year history of its world-famous airship program, Goodyear launched its newest blimp on March 27th without an official name. Instead, on April 10th the company unveiled the new blimp bearing the world's largest blank nametag, and launched a nationwide contest to search for a name. Between April 11th and April 30th, the contest enjoyed a groundswell of participation from around the country, with unique name suggestions coming from residents in each of the 48 eligible states and the District of Columbia. "I can't believe I won the Goodyear Blimp for a day," said Matthew Harrelson. "Living in Northern Ohio my family and I have seen the Goodyear blimp many times - but to be able to win it for a day? This is just great!" According to Harrelson, who submitted the winning name at 12:04 PM on April 11th, he suggested Spirit of Innovation because, as a chemistry teacher and Akron-area resident, he was familiar with Goodyear and the company's history of innovation. "Living near Goodyear everyone hears when they come out with another high-tech product, and having seen Charles Goodyear in the National Inventors Hall of Fame, it was easy to connect Goodyear and innovation ... and then 'Spirit' just seemed to make the name flow better," said Harrelson. Harrelson, who teaches at Hudson High School in Hudson, Ohio, first read about the "Name the Blimp" contest in a local paper and decided to enter a name. While he is still working through his plans for the blimp with the Airship Operations team at Goodyear, Harrelson said he would like to take his family and some friends up for a ride, donate at least one ride to charity and do something special for the schools where he and his wife teach. "I've been discussing the options with my wife, who is also a teacher, and I'm sure we'll come up with something great." From the more than 21,000 unique names submitted, a panel of judges selected ten finalist names based on their ability to reflect the storied history of the Goodyear airship, its long tradition of public service, the grace and majesty of air flight, and Goodyear's history of innovation and progress. Between May 7th and May 31st, America and a panel of Goodyear representatives voted, with Spirit of Innovation ultimately receiving the most votes. Those submitting the other nine finalist names, once confirmed as winners, will each receive a new set of Goodyear tires. The names were: American Dream, Freedom, Liberty, Patriot, Patriot of Peace, Pride of America, Spirit of Endurance, Spirit of Ingenuity, Spirit of Innovation, The Spirit of Peace. Goodyear and Innovation Since Charles Goodyear first discovered the process for vulcanizing rubber in 1843 and opened the door for the broad use of rubber in consumer products, the name Goodyear has been synonymous with innovation. From the early days when Goodyear introduced the first tubeless automotive tire and the first American-made synthetic rubber tire, the company has been leading the industry in technological advancements and design innovations. In recent years, Goodyear has accelerated its release of innovative new products that feature relevant technologies and deliver real-life benefits to consumers. Included is the pioneering TripleTred Technology(R) for confident handling in any weather conditions. Goodyear's most recent cutting-edge introductions have incorporated the use of the latest high-tech materials, including the use of DuPont(TM) KEVLAR(R) in its Wrangler(R) and Fortera(R) tires featuring SilentArmor Technology(TM) and DuPont(TM) KEVLAR(R) and carbon fiber in its new Eagle with ResponsEdge Technology(TM). DuPont(TM) and KEVLAR(R) are trademarks or registered trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates. The Goodyear Airship Program Goodyear's blimp program began in 1925, when the Company built its first helium-filled public relations airship, the Pilgrim. In 1928, then-Chairman P.W. Litchfield began the tradition of naming its North American-based blimps after winners of the America's Cup yacht race. The tradition continued over most of the program's 80-year history, with just a few exceptions. A list of winners from past America's Cup races whose names Goodyear selected for its airship fleet includes: Stars & Stripes, Columbia, Ranger, Rainbow, Enterprise, Resolute, Reliance, Defender, Vigilant, Volunteer, Mayflower, Puritan, and America. Within the past 40 years, Goodyear has selected other non-Cup winner names to grace the sides of its blimps. Those names included Europa, Spirit of Akron, Spirit of Goodyear and Eagle. Contest Details The list of ten finalist names was posted on the official www.nametheblimp.com contest web site at 12:01 am ET on May 7th, 2006. The online voting period ended promptly at 11:59 p.m. ET on May 31st, 2006. The name with the highest score from this popular voting combined with the votes of a panel of Goodyear representatives, determined the winning name. For complete details and official rules, go to www.nametheblimp.com. About The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Goodyear is the world's largest tire company. The company manufactures tires, engineered rubber products and chemicals in more than 90 facilities in 28 countries around the world. Goodyear employs about 80,000 people worldwide. For more information on Goodyear's tires, go to www.goodyeartires.com.
SOURCE The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company