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In the spirit of innovation, Goodyear names new blimp Spirit of Innovation

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After more than a year of construction and testing, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. christened its new blimp the "Spirit of Innovation."

The new name was unveiled during a gala event at the Wingfoot Lake Airship hangar near Akron, Ohio. More than 6,000 spectators, dignitaries and Goodyear employees were on hand.

Lesa France Kennedy, president of International Speedway Corp. and a member of NASCAR's board of directors, and Lynn Keegan, wife of Goodyear Chairman, CEO and President Bob Keegan, officially christened the blimp.

"Innovation has been a critical part of our evolution as a company, from innovation of our new product offerings to innovation in everything we do," Keegan told the audience.

Matthew Harrelson of Uniontown, Ohio, was honored as the winner of Goodyear's "Name the Blimp" contest. His name was chosen from more than 21,000 unique name submissions. His prize? The use of a Goodyear blimp for a day.

According to Harrelson, 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."

The Goodyear Airship Program began in 1925, when the company built its first helium-filled public relations airship, the Pilgrim.

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