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Grand Rapids-based PPE developer expanding producing additional face shields

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A Grand Rapids-based Personal Protective Equipment manufacture is expanding to meet the need of frontline medical caregivers and businesses preparing to restart operations and protect employees.

When regional economic development organization, The Right Place, received a call from Kent County officials in desperate need of face shields for its first responders, Senior Business Development Manager, Jennifer Wangler, picked up the phone.

“We reached out to HexArmor knowing that they manufacture Personal Protective Equipment.”

A world leader in innovative Personal Protective Equipment. It designs and creates proprietary gloves, arm guards, aprons, safety eyewear.

“Within an hour they responded back to us that yes, they indeed have the equipment that the first responders need and who would you like us to ship those to?”

HexArmor was receiving calls from across the country.

“From end-users who needed facemasks specifically for employees that were still at work, or who were going back to work, and also for the healthcare field.”

Todd Mellema is HexArmor Chief Revenue Officer.

“We put together a team of designing and developing a simple facemask that covers your face so it’s basically will stop you from coughing, breathing on other people. It also keeps you from touching your own face.”

A full-face protection that more than a dozen local companies are assisting with production.

“Two-and-a-half weeks we’ve gotten this ramped up to by next week we’re going to be able to manufacture, right here in West Michigan, a million of these face shields a week.”

A new production facility is now in operation, incorporating safety guidelines, more than double its local workforce.

“We’re looking at hiring 150 people. Granted, it’s probably a short-term window, where it’s, you know, five to eight weeks, but you know it’s going to help drive the economy and keep people employed right now. It’s a win-win.”

I’m Patrick Center