A little more than a year after the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) celebrated a group of Georgia Made™-certified manufacturers that have all started, pivoted, or stepped up production of personal protective equipment (PPE) or health care supplies to combat the pandemic while maintaining or even increasing operations and employment.
Thanks to their efforts, the state and its people are on the road to recovery, and vaccine distribution is a key priority.
Among the recognized recipients was America Knits, Swainsboro, which was only in business for a few months when the pandemic hit. The company shifted its production of t-shirts and undergarments to producing cotton masks and hospital isolation gowns, which have been shipped to assisted living facilities and hospitals throughout the country.
“While this last year has taken a toll on everyone, it’s been remarkable to see the way Georgia companies have adapted to fill a need,” said Scott McMurray, GDEcD deputy commissioner for Global Commerce. “From companies that have completely shifted their business models to startups that were created entirely in response to COVID-19, the manufacturers in our state have done their part to fight the pandemic while contributing to business in Georgia, and our state government has been responsive to their needs.”
A few of the other newly certified “Georgia Made” manufacturers of PPE include:
- Commercial Stainless Fabricators (CSF), Marietta – CSF pivoted its product line in the pandemic’s early days by repurposing materials to produce a portable, compact air purifier that is 99.9% effective against airborne viruses. The company also began making hands-free door handles and repurposed sneeze guards as desk shields and table spacers.
- Luosh USA, Marietta – After the founders of Luosh USA noticed a lack of high-quality disposable face masks made in the United States, they decided to make their own. On top of manufacturing 3-ply disposable masks with materials sourced from U.S. suppliers, they are also in the process of developing an N95 mask product line.
- Morito Scovill Americas, Clarkesville – Morito Scovill Americas accelerated manufacturing its core products used in PPE garments in response to the pandemic, including stainless steel fasteners for medical gowns. It is now producing 40% more of those items.
CSF, Luosh USA, Morito Scovill Americas, and America Knits have all earned the state’s official “Georgia Made” certification. The program, launched by GDEcD ahead of the pandemic in early 2020, provides support in the logistics, manufacturing and marketing of Georgia products. To earn the “Georgia Made” distinction, companies must meet certain criteria, including having at least 50% of their final product manufactured in Georgia.
These four companies are also on the COVID-19 Supplier List. The public-facing list, assembled by GDEcD’s Centers of Innovation division, is a statewide system that connects hospitals and health care facilities, school systems, businesses, and individuals to manufacturers and suppliers of critical PPE and health care supplies. Georgia was among the first states to identify and publicize manufacturers and suppliers of PPE to fight COVID-19.
“Our relationships with our Georgia businesses have never been stronger,” added McMurray. “I want to thank these companies for their response and our Georgia Center of Innovation for their work to connect with them to keep business moving and Georgia stocked with needed health care supplies through their innovative COVID-19 Suppliers Interactive List and Map.”
In response to the need for the creation of additional PPE in Georgia, the Georgia legislature, with support from Governor Brian P. Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston, passed a tax credit to aid PPE manufacturers, including those existing Georgia manufacturers who did not traditionally manufacture PPE or hand sanitizer but began doing so in response to COVID-19. The new credit is also designed to incentivize more production of PPE and hand sanitizer in Georgia so the state will be better equipped to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and further enhance its position as a national leader in advanced manufacturing.