Officials at a Farmington Hills-based company say a grant from Oakland County did more than just help them produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for first responders, hospital staff, and other essential workers.
Oakland County Executive David Coulter traveled to PolyFlex Products on Commerce Drive Thursday to talk with company vice president Ken Bylo and plant manager Aaron Fedewa about the “Saving Businesses, Saving Lives” grant program.
PolyFlex was among 23 manufacturers that shared $900,000 to cover the costs of shifting their operations. The company produces, among other things, custom components for packaging, reusable containers, and racks for the auto industry, Coulter said.
“It was companies like PolyFlex that stepped up and answered the call when the county was in desperate need of PPE,” he said. “They produced four thousand face shields a day.”
Bylo said when the grant opportunity came up, “we wanted to be part of it.”
“The PPE is completely new to us, but we knew our machines were capable of doing it,” he said.
While PolyFlex could manufacture face shield headbands and straps, other components would have required outsourcing. The grant allowed owners to purchase equipment and create the shields in-house.
“The organization as a whole benefitted greatly,” Bylo said. “Bringing in new equipment brought a ray of hope to a lot of the employees… There was a sense of pride in being able to contribute.”
Fedewa agreed that the move has helped with employee morale.
“When people found out the company was taking the initiative to make PPE, a lot of people volunteered to come in and work…to keep the plant running,” he said.
Watch the complete interview: