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Career Connections: Automotive Tire Designer

6 minutes

(Describer) Beside four different-size different-color circles connected by lines, title: Career Connections. Surrounded by different color stripes, title: Fine Arts.

(Describer) Title: Automotive Tire Designer.

With around 250 million passenger cars in the United States alone, there's always going to be a need for a lot of tires. Every model of motor vehicle needs tires that match the design and size, times four in most cases. Making tires is an art and a science, beginning with a design. The job of designing many of those tires goes to someone like Paul Maxwell from Goodyear. I'm principal designer, and I work in the design studio. We're responsible for the appearance of the product, tread patterns, sidewall graphics. And we also do tires for movies and show cars for the auto shows.

(Maxwell) Marketing comes up with a new product that they want, and our job is to visualize what they're talking about. I assign the projects in the design studio. I work with the other guys on new designs. As a team, we'll create a lot of designs. We'll work with marketing and interface with engineering and kind of in between the groups, and work for the project leader on their projects. The tire designer combines the tire style with the engineering concepts to make it work. It's really more like a balancing act because we know what works, what doesn't work, and if we don't, we talk to engineering. We review the designs before we ever show it to anybody to make sure that they think we can produce what we're showing. Our job is to optimize the appearance using some basic analysis tools to the point where engineering doesn't have to change the appearance to optimize performance. Of course, there's always the issue of engineering performance versus appearance. Performance always wins. What does it take to become a tire designer? When I was in school, I took math classes. I took art classes, I took a marketing class. And I tend to think of things three-dimensionally, which also really helped out when I came to Goodyear because the product is a very three-dimensional product. And when I was in college, I majored in industrial design, which is a combination of all these factors. And one day, toward the end of my junior year, we had a show displaying our work, and a gentleman from Goodyear came and looked at my work and offered me a co-op job. At that point, I thought tires were stamped out of pieces of rubber, like doughnuts. While a tire designer combines art, math, and engineering, there's a definite cool aspect to the job. I got to work with race drivers. I got to help with testing. I even got to go to driving school.

(Describer) Race cars speed around a track.

And I've been able to live in Europe and travel around the world working with different auto companies-- working with Ferrari.

(Describer) He touches a tire.

This tire was done for the movie Batman & Robin when George Clooney was Batman.

(Describer) Scenes from the film are shown.

What's really cool, if you ever saw the movie, this is one of the best tires made because they drove on the roof of this tunnel. Companies like Goodyear are invested in the most advanced technologies, like 3-D printers. And tire designers are on the leading edge of people who use them. Devices like these streamline the design process, turning a tire concept into a manufactured tire quickly. Marketing loves these things, because we can show them a three-dimensional representation of a product months before we can get a mold made. What's great about this is it's like sending a 3-D model to a printer, except the printer takes about 20 hours, and the next morning, you've got a three-dimensional piece of what you just designed. So, to become a tire designer, how should you prepare? Definitely art classes, design classes and drafting even. One of the best parts in high school was making prototypes-- and in college-- making prototypes of what I was designing. So, shop classes are very important. Metal shop, wood shop. Because you learn many skills as far as how you can fabricate your designs. One thing about my job is that in the morning, you have to be able to turn creativity on. You have to be able to get in front of your computer and start creating new designs. Art, math, and engineering-- the building blocks of tire design.

(Describer) Titles: For more information, visit OhioMeansJobs.com. Western Reserve Public Media, copyright 2014. Funding to purchase and make this educational program accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Contact the Department of Education by telephone at 1-800-USA-LEARN, or online at www.ed.gov.

Funding to purchase and make this educational production accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

PH:1-800-USA-LEARN (V) or WEB: www.ed.gov.

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A tire designer uses art, math, and engineering to create safe, cost-effective tires. Part of the "Career Connections" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 6 minutes

Career Connections
Episode 1
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 2
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 3
3 minutes
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Career Connections
Episode 4
5 minutes
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Episode 5
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Episode 6
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Episode 7
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Episode 8
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Episode 9
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Career Connections
Episode 10
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