FAIRVIEW – Although it’s a small company with only 16 employees, Titan Tools is driven to be a leader in the assembly tool marketplace nationwide and around the world.
The third-generation, family-owned company, which manufactures stud drivers and stud removers for the airplane, automotive, locomotive, truck, and furniture industries accomplishes this goal thanks, in part, to the state’s Market Access Grant (MAG) and other international programs.
MAG is a collaborative effort between Team Pennsylvania Foundation and the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development’s Office of International Business Development (OIBD) to encourage innovative use of funds to meet the specific international marketing needs of small and mid-sized Pennsylvania companies to enhance their capability to increase export sales.
“Our little company has 100 percent of this (United States) market, nearly 100 percent of the Chinese market and 95 percent of the European market,” said Brian McKean, President, Titan Tools, which is based in Erie County. “Until the early 1980s, we really didn’t export at all. My father thought of exports as a hassle and something he really didn’t want to get into.”
The advent of the 1980s witnessed two changes – one within the automobile industry and the other at Titan Tools. Foreign cars began to dominate automobile sales in the United States, Titan’s primary market, and McKean took over for his father as company president.
“Foreign car sales really started beating up automobile sales here in the States,” McKean said. “Consequently, sales here went down. I thought if they (U.S. manufacturers) aren’t selling cars, they’re not wearing out our tools, which impacted our sales in turn. I didn’t want to be the third generation that fails, so we started looking for new markets.”
McKean hit the road, traveling relentlessly to distant locations around the world to sell the company’s wares. Today, Titan has a presence in 17 countries around the world including Australia, Brazil, Canada and Japan.
“I would travel for a month at a time, conducting meetings during the day and traveling to the next location at night,” McKean said. “It was hard work, but it was also a lot of fun and a fascinating time of my life.”
Since then, Titan Tools has utilized the MAG program to expand into new markets and other international initiatives offered by OIBD and Team PA including Pennsylvania International Week and state-led trade missions to China and India.
“We could not speak high enough of how well the trip was organized and the benefits we got out of it for the cost,” McKean said about a trade mission to China. “It was so reasonable. The service we received. How it was organized. Everything was top-notch.”
As he looks to the future, McKean sees Titan’s international market continue to grow in China as well as in India.
For more on Titan, visit Titan-us.com.