September 30, 2020
Breaking News

How an aerospace manufacturer shifted its operations to make reusable face shields for Baltimore medical workers – DC

For over 40 years, advanced manufacturing company LAI International has made components for the defense and aerospace industry, as well as surgical devices, bringing technology like waterjet cutting, laser technology and other machining tools.

Now, the company is turning those tools and engineering capability toward the mobilization against COVID-19.

The Westminster-based company is producing face shields for local hospitals that are in need of protective equipment for doctors and nurses treating the disease that’s causing a global pandemic. After design, retooling and testing, the company had 1,500 face shields out to seven local hospitals and healthcare providers in less than two weeks.

“Just showing that we’re doing the small part that we could possibly do was a feel-good story for the whole entire shop,” said LAI International CEO Marlon Johnson.

This week, the company was one of the 20 in Maryland that received state grants to pivot or expand production of personal protective equipment. Administered by the Maryland Department of Commerce, the $1.6 million was given in the first round of grants from the Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund.

Gov. Larry Hogan has said ramping up the supply of personal protective equipment is a key “building block” for being able to reopen. With local companies enlisting to help, the fund is providing additional capital for the new operations.

“We quickly created this program to address an immediate critical need, and our business community has responded in a big way,” Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz