Right now, it’s 70,000 square feet of empty space inside a building on West Mulberry Street in Bryan. But by the end of the year, Adam Harmon said his company will turn the space into a manufacturing facility that eventually will turn out 1 million N95 respirator masks per day.
“One million a day. Or more,” Harmon, president/CEO of ALG Health, said Wednesday during a tour of the space, located within the 400,000-square-foot building at 520 W. Mulberry St. that years ago was occupied by Aro Corporation and most recently by Gendron, Inc.
In late September, Harmon and ALG Health announced the move to Bryan, after initially considering an abandoned former Kmart building in Napoleon. Harmon said he considers the move “an expansion,” since ALG Health was formed and began producing a limited number of masks this past summer in the Defiance location of Axios LED, Harmon’s company that produces lighting products.
Harmon said when the pandemic struck earlier this year, he noticed the need for personal protective equipment, such as masks, and also noticed at the time that virtually all masks were produced in China.
“I just thought we needed to begin rebuilding our supply chain here (in the U.S.) and producing masks here, and bring it back from China to here,” he said in late September when he announced ALG Health was moving to Bryan.
He had hoped to begin production by now, but last week, as workers renovated offices and swapped out old overhead lights with new LED lights, Harmon said he’s still waiting on shipments of 13 production machines that will combine four layers of raw materials into completed N95 respirator masks.
Ironically, the machines that will produce masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have been delayed, he’s being told, “because of the pandemic.”
He said he has FDA approvals and most of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certifications needed to officially designate his masks as “N95,” meaning they meet Occupational Safety and Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) product and manufacturing standards.
“N95 is the standard within the medical industry, and achieving that level of quality verifies that we are doing things the right way,” Harmon said.
Now, Harmon is working on finding 50-75 workers to initially get production ramped up hopefully by early December. Last week, he said he had about 30 so far.
Harmon said he needs all production-type employees, including machine operators, packaging and shipping and receiving workers. He understands that finding enough quality employees is an ongoing challenge, so he’s contracting with at least one or more employment agencies. Plus, he said he plans to pay in the $15-22 per hour pay range, to help attract workers.
A Defiance native, Harmon said ALG Health is part of his commitment to American manufacturing, with American workers producing American-made products. He expects to supply masks to health care companies and their suppliers, and has an option to expand into another 100,000 square feet in the building. When that happens, he anticipates needing several hundred more employees.
Producing more PPE in the United States will ensure that these life-saving products will be available when and where they are needed, he said.
“We’re in the life-saving business … We’re ready to get started,” Harmon said.
For more information on ALG Health, including applications for employment, log onto https://alg-health.com/.