July 22, 2020 - Leaders of four of Allen County’s largest companies are imploring citizens to adhere to the recommendations of health care experts during the COVID-19 pandemic. To do otherwise, they said, would put their employees’ health and the financial health of their respective industries in jeopardy.

The group made its plea during a news conference today hosted by the Allen County Board of Commissioners and Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. 

Rich Lynch: Vice President of Marketing, Do it Best Corp.

“Throughout the pandemic, our focus has remained on the continued safety and wellbeing of our Do it Best team and their families while we maintain our essential business operations. This has required everyone’s vigilance—at work and at home—to contain the spread of COVID-19 by regularly self-monitoring, wearing masks, staying home when feeling ill, reporting symptoms, testing, contact tracing, and quarantining.

To date, we have been able to mitigate the potential for an exposure in any Do it Best location. We have cases of positive tests in most of our locations, but each diagnosis has—to the very best of our knowledge—traced back to an exposure outside of work. This demonstrates our effectiveness in containment initiatives at work but also illustrates that we have work to do to maintain that same level of team member vigilance outside of the office.”

Terry Redmile: Plant Manager, BFGoodrich Tire Manufacturing Plant

“Our plant is a traditional manufacturing environment, so we do not have the option of working remotely. From the outset of the pandemic, our response has been guided by our company value of respect for people which means that the health, safety and well-being of our employees remains above all. During the Indiana Stay at Home Orders the factory was idled, and we used that time to put in place a robust COVID-19 protocol that meets or exceeds state and CDC guidelines.

Even with this robust protocol in place, the sustainability of our operation remains at risk due, in large part, to what is occurring outside of the facility. As we look around we see an increased level of complacency as people interact in the community. And now we see increasing numbers of positive COVID-19 cases as a nation, as a state and here in our community. This is something that we can and must work to avoid. Michelin is a company rooted in mobility, and we understand the importance of keeping our businesses and our communities moving forward.”

Gary Duff: Plant Executive Director, GM Fort Wayne Assembly

“General Motors multi-layered safety protocols are working, thanks to a strong team effort. Many of the same steps we follow inside our plants can help keep people safe when they’re not working. That’s why we have been proactively sharing the information with our teams, their families and the community.

Wearing masks is one of the most effective things each of us can do to personally protect public health and ensure that our economy can return to full strength. It's why General Motors mandates masks as part of its multi-layered safety protocol and why we encourage our employees to do so at work and in public.”

Mark Millett, President & CEO, Steel Dynamics, Inc.

“The safety, health and welfare of each and every team member is a core value at Steel Dynamics. Collectively, when including the partners and children of our teams, there are over 20,000 individuals in the SDI family – all reliant on the actions and decisions we make each day. It is a humbling responsibility. We took quick and early action to adopt practices to mitigate risk and provide a safe workplace. Our mission is to make SDI the safest place to be. Our conservative actions, based on the CDC guidelines have been successful with the company experiencing only minimal impact. I believe, together, our SDI family has proven that a safe workplace can be achieved through a disciplined approach following best practices. Risk increases as people drop their guard relative to social distancing and sanitization, increase socializing, and grow tired of maintaining discipline. We would urge everyone to double down on the practices we know work, to protect each other and our families, particularly those most vulnerable.”

“We appreciate the willingness of these industry leaders to come forward and help keep Allen County safe during this COVID-19 pandemic,” said the Board of Commissioners. “We believe it's our partnership with local businesses that makes a strong community. Now, we need your help in following the Centers for Disease Control standards while you are out and about to ensure greater safety for your fellow citizens and so that these businesses can continue to produce and contribute to our community.”

“COVID-19 continues to be a serious threat to the health, safety, and overall well-being of our community. Now more than ever it’s vital for all of us to come together to ensure we are doing everything possible to look out for one another,” said Mayor Henry. “I’m appreciative and supportive of the work being done each day by local businesses as they have proactively implemented safety measures for their employees while moving our economy forward as we keep people employed and look ahead to additional economic development opportunities. In the business and government sectors and in daily activities conducted by the public, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and using good judgment will expedite our ability to overcome the pandemic.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone do the following to protect themselves and others from COVID-19:
Wash your hands often
Avoid close contact
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others

More information on COVID-19 and local case statistics can be found at www.allencountyhealth.com/covid-19.