Reinhard Wirtgen, who rose from dump-truck driver to founder and chief executive of his own worldwide company, developed and manufactured machines used in the reconstruction and resurfacing of highways.
In 1965, he built a concrete-breaking machine, which turned out to be a cost-effective alternative to the demolition ball. Later on, his company developed a hot milling machine for removing asphalt pavement, and that was followed by a hot recycler for reprofiling deteriorated road surfaces - a technology that became universally known as the "remix" process. In 1977, using cutters from the mining industry, Wirtgen developed a cold milling machine.
The company grew from its base in Germany and, through acquisitions, and increasing sales, became worldwide in scope, also manufacturing slipform concrete pavers, finishing machines and asphalt mixing plants.