QUINCY -- While Paul Reitz is confident about the future, he is also realistic concerning the present.
"No one really knows when it will again be ‘business as usual,' " he said. "This is a scary and unprecedented time."
Reitz is the president and CEO of Titan International in Quincy, which is among the U.S. manufacturing facilities deemed "essential" by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security during the ongoing global pandemic associated with COVID-19.
That means the company's Quincy plant -- and five others across the Midwest and mid-south -- remain fully operational. Reitz said Titan is following "the stringent measures" provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization to safeguard its employees.
The U.S. government has said the food and agriculture industry is critical to public health and safety, and should continue normal operations.
Titan produces a full line of wheels, tires and undercarriage products for a wide variety of off-the-road equipment, much of which is tied to agriculture.
"Titan is proud of our role in the nation's food-supply chain, especially in challenging times like this with the coronavirus pandemic now hitting most communities across the U.S.," Reitz said. "The tires and wheels we manufacture are on many types of equipment that farmers use to plant, maintain and harvest crops."
Reitz said it is vital to keep all entities of the food chain fully operational, especially until the nation is able to work its way through the pandemic. He is confident the economy will rebound from the health crisis, but thinks the nation needs to be wary during what might be an extended recovery process.
Reitz said some of the company's operations have been slowed in an effort to better utilize safeguards such as social distancing.
"The safety of our employees is most important," he said.
Titan's U.S. plants currently employ about 2,200, including about 900 in Quincy.
Titan also has operations overseas in Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Brazil and Australia. Reitz said 55% of Titan's production is done overseas.
All of the foreign-based plants continue to operate, even in coronavirus-ravaged Italy. Most of the plants are under extremely strict governmental guidelines.
Reitz said Titan management teams have learned from what has happened during the outbreak, especially in hard-hit European areas, and are sharing that information on a global basis.
"Currently, we are not experiencing infrastructure or supply-chain issues that could impact the fulfillment of customer orders in the United States," Reitz said. "We continue to monitor this extremely fluid and unprecedented situation and will keep our customers and dealers informed of any updates or changes."
"Titan's leadership team is meeting continuously to appropriately respond to this pandemic as it evolves, and our COVID-19 response team is meeting multiple times a day to monitor the situation and execute plans that will continue to keep our employees safe and help our teams adjust accordingly without impacting production plans," Reitz said.