KANSAS CITY, Mo — Companies across the metro are pivoting away from normal business activity to stop the spread of coronavirus.
It all started with a group of CEO’s who are also friends, making a plan to tackle the most serious problems in the fight against COVID-19.
Some are working to get more testing kits, while others are taking on the challenge of making face shields for hospital workers and finding masks to help protect those who are protecting the community.
“We’re designers and makers, and so naturally we saw really complex problems and immediately switched to, ‘OK, how can we help?’” said Tucker Trotter, CEO of Dimensional Innovations.
Totter’s company is a design, build, tech firm that’s usually busy making lighting fixtures and interactive experiences for museums and halls of fame.
It’s now jumped into the medical supply business.
“What’s really clever about it is that there’s only a single material that we need to source,” said DI’s Brandon Wood, showing off a face shield he designed for hospital workers.
Wood works in DI’s innovation lab and helped create the face shields, which are in short supply.
He began communicating with officials at KU Hospital on Sunday night and just one day and six prototypes later, the shield is now being made at a rate of 900 per day.
“It’s exciting to be working on something that’s really helpful,” Wood said.
Along with Trotter, Taimoor Nana is also one of the CEO’s who make up what is now known as the C-19 KC Task Force.
His company MTAR is in the business of manufacturing clothing, not manufacturing masks, but he’s taken on the challenge of finding masks, which are in short supply.
Nana is using his contacts and skills in logistics to set up supply chains throughout different parts of the world to compile a bank of medical supplies.
“Next week we are hoping to get in about 100,000 masks into Kansas City, and then once they’re here, basically organizations will be able to distribute them to the hospitals and the firefighters and the police departments that are all in desperate need of these masks,” Nana said. “And unfortunately I think in the next week it’s going to be much worse here.”
This isn’t a money-making venture for anyone involved. Dimensional Innovations has even made the plans for the face shield available online for anyone across the country to use.