Ardmore Michelin plant celebrates 50th anniversary

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 7:11 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2020 at 7:15 PM CDT
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ARDMORE, Oklahoma (KXII) - The Ardmore Michelin plant celebrated its 50th anniversary on Thursday with t-shirts, cake, and a time capsule.

The company put face masks, handmade hand sanitizer, and a photo of the site mascot inside the capsule.

Plant manager Nick Walker said the company has come a long way.

“Fifty years ago we were making the entry Uniroyal tires, and today we’re making the ultra-high performance Michelins,” Walker said.

He said the resilience of Michelin’s employees is how they’ve continued to grow through bad weather and now a pandemic.

“Through many changes and challenges, each time the quality of the people shone through,” Walker said. “In their determination, their resilience, and their commitment to embrace change as an opportunity and to make tomorrow better than it was yesterday.”

One of those changes happened when a tornado blew straight through the plant in 1995.

Facility personnel manager Chet Vinson said at first they didn’t know if the plant would be rebuilt or not.

“I just remember thinking that this could all go away,” Vinson said.

Michelin provides nearly two thousand jobs for Ardmore.

Stock prep training monitor Joe Keeton said he raised his family and sent his kids to college with Michelin.

“Everyone in Ardmore has a family member that works for Michelin or knows someone that does,” Keeton said.

Vinson says that the company won’t forget the past, but is looking to the future.

“We have our past -and we embrace that- but we know we have a big future coming,” Vinson said.

Walker said the company wants to that future to involve completely sustainable tires and operations.

“When you have this many employees, you have a responsibility to your employees and your environment,” Walker said.

Copyright 2020 KXII. All rights reserved.

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