New Balance’s PPE production line has visit from Baker – Polito Administration
LAWRENCE, M.A. (WLNE) – Tuesday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito toured New Balance’s Lawrence factory, which has helped the company make more than 1 million masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement ABC 6 received, the tour provided an overview of the company’s face mask models, which included a new version expected to roll out to consumers in the coming weeks along with a new surgical mask specifically for frontline healthcare workers.
The workers at the Lawrence New Balance facility began production of general-use face masks in late March. Manufacturing began in an effort supported by the Massachusetts Manufacturing Emergency Team (M-ERT).
“As the Commonwealth continues its fight against coronavirus, face coverings will remain critical to supporting public health,” said Governor Baker. “Our Administration remains committed to partnering with local companies such as New Balance to ensure there is a reliable supply of PPE to protect frontline workers and the general public.”
“With millions of pieces of PPE already produced by participating companies, M-ERT has played a key role in the gradual reopening of Massachusetts,” said Lt. Governor “We are thankful to New Balance and the other M-ERT companies that have leveraged this program to shift to the production of life-saving gear and supplies.”
Beginning Monday, a new version of a general-use face mask for the public will be available. The new mask, called the ‘NB Face Mask V3,’ is a three-layer, lightweight, breathable, non-sterile physical barrier face mask with a moldable nose piece.
In addition, the New Balance company has repaired straps on 50,000 N95 respirator masks for Brigham & Women’s Hospital, allowing them to be used by staff.
“The incredible passion, industrial R&D ability and innovative thinking of our associates combined with our New England manufacturing resources enabled us to pivot quickly to produce PPE for frontline workers and health care facilities facing the COVID-19 health crisis,” said Joe Preston, President & CEO of New Balance. “We applaud the Baker-Polito Administration for establishing a strong and highly-engaged Manufacturing Emergency Response Team that has provided us with meaningful and expert guidance throughout our journey.”
“We are incredibly proud and humbled to do our part to help so many in our health care community by producing more than one million masks in the past two months,” said Dave Wheeler, Chief Operating Officer of New Balance. “We are thankful that the innovative thinking of our associates, our long history of domestic manufacturing and the work of our highly skilled teams in our factories have allowed us to quickly adapt to help meet the immense mask needs of the health care community, and now the general public.”
A new website launched by MassTech Collaborative profiles nearly 20 Massachusetts manufacturers including New Balance, that have switched their operations to produce critical PPE and other materials.
Since M-ERT was established, about 750 companies from around the world have provided their interest in the program. Nearly 450 of those companies have been from Massachusetts. Out of those, 27 companies have been accepted into the program allowing for 4 million pieces of PPE and other critical materials to be produced to date.