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Health Care PPE Innovation in DSM Thrives

April 20, 2020

GREATER DES MOINES, IA (April 20, 2020) – The need for health care personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical providers and facilities responding to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues in Greater Des Moines (DSM). In an effort to support this demand, numerous businesses, organizations and residents across the region have instituted innovative solutions, cross-industry collaboration and true generosity to donate more than 190,000 PPE items over the past several weeks.

“Because of the overwhelmingly positive response by the business community in the DSM region, we are able to survive the massive demand for PPE created by this virus,” said A.J. Mumm Director at Polk County Emergency Management Agency. “There are small peaks and deep valleys of availability of PPE on the open market. It has been the donated PPE that provides the continuity we need to keep the response moving forward.”

Some of the organizations who have created and donated PPE items include Area 515, BDI Signs, Beeline and Blue, Corteva Agriscience, John Deere, Pella Corporation and Weiler in addition to many others who are demonstrating ingenuity and kindness during the pandemic.

“As a maker space, I think this kind of group DIY is right in our wheelhouse,” said Brad Freese, Secretary, Board of Directors at Area 515. “We're a nonprofit group of people with a shared space, and shared tools who all like to make things. This was a chance to do something we love to make a concrete difference in our community. We've had help from The Iowa Clinic, along with Des Moines Public Schools, State Department of Education, Danfoss, and other maker spaces around the state like NewBoCo in Cedar Rapids. To date we've assembled 2,700 face shields that will be sent to requesting organizations all over the state of Iowa, and we'll continue as long as we can.”

“We started production about a week ago and have made and shipped approximately 2,000 shields. We have resources to make approximately 10,000 shields but are taking a look at demand and available resources to increase this capacity,” said Mike Vaughn, Sales and Marketing at BDI Signs. “In the end we all just want to help and not be a spectator and watch things play out. We all have a role that we can play.”

“We are excited to be able to support our front-line health service providers by producing these durable and safe face shields,” said Steven Strooh, Vice President at Beeline and Blue. “By using our state-of-the-art CNC router and durable materials we are able to produce hundreds of finished face shields an hour. This on-demand process has allowed us to meet immediate needs within the metro area, so our customers did not have to wait for bulk shipments.”

“In these unprecedented times, Corteva Agriscience is committed to helping individuals and communities impacted by COVID-19,” said Neal Gutterson, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Corteva Agriscience. “This includes using our skills and capabilities as innovators. For example, our R&D team is using our 3D printers to print replacement headbands for face shields used by the University of Iowa’s medical facilities.”

“Our manufacturing and supply management teams, along with our production and maintenance employees, the UAW, and our partners have worked tirelessly to ensure we could lend our support and protect our healthcare workers during this crisis,” said John May, chief executive officer of Deere & Company. “By working closely with the communities where our employees live and work, we can help support the needs we've identified close to home and, as the project expands, address additional, urgent needs across the country.”

“Producing face shields for health care workers was a great opportunity for the Pella team to turn passion into action,” said Nicolle Picray, Brand Communications & Public Relations Manager at Pella Corporation. “We’ve programmed our 3D printers to churn out 300 face shields daily. These will be distributed to Marion County, Shenandoah and Sioux Center area hospitals on an ongoing basis until demand is met. We’re proud to help our local communities during this time of crisis.”

“While Weiler does not have a 3D printer in our facility, we do have great employees with good hearts,” said Joel Weiler, Safety Manger at Weiler Products. “Three of those good-hearted employees have 3D printers in their homes and once they heard about the need for face shields, they started making them on their own. The Weiler Foundation Board of Directors caught wind of their efforts and jumped on the opportunity to help fund the production of the face shields. Weiler has also made donations of PPE items to the Knoxville Fire and Rescue Department. Weiler is proud of the ingenuity of our employees and honored to be able to help keep our community safe during this difficult time.”

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to encourage Iowa businesses and residents to create and/or donate health care PPE items such as gloves, gowns, eye protection and masks to county public health departments or local emergency managers to help support the health care workforce.

About the Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 365 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.