By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
Two companies have come together in Oshawa to create face shields for frontline workers fighting COVID-19.
Rob Tenwensteneind, the CEO at 10west Commercial Graphics & Signs, and Bill Cowley, the owner of Durham Label Inc., both operate a business in Oshawa and were facing hard times as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
According to Cowley, this all came about when his next-door neighbour, whose business had also dried up, came to him and suggested they make face masks.
“He came over to me and he said, ‘Hey, can you manufacture these?’ and I said, ‘Sure, we can put these through,’ and that’s how we started,” he says.
He says they’ve now been making 50,000 masks per day, and have sent some to Peel Region paramedics, Enbridge, and more.
Robson Siqueira, the project manager at 10west Commercial Graphics & Signs, has been handling the project, according to Cowley. Siqueira notes they’re regularly a commercial graphics company, and when COVID-19 first hit Oshawa they had to lay off all of their workers.
“Just from reading what was necessary to help out, Rob put a little concept together, we started working on it… and just put it on Facebook for his friends,” he explains.
What started out as them just helping out as much as they can with some of their equipment to get out in front of things, eventually resulted in some of their workers being brought back, and from there the demand grew, and so did the refinement of what it is today, as they now provide face shields across the province.
After reaching out to the government to let them know what they are doing, Siqueira notes they are now working to get their MDEL certificate so their products are approved for use in Canada.
“These shields are considered class one medical devices, with class one medical devices, the government basically put it out that if you are distributing them or making them, you don’t necessarily need and MDEL, but we felt it was necessary for us to apply for, and… we hope we get our certificate in the next week,” he says.
Siqueira says both organizations are really proud they are able to make the face shields in Canada, and are able to use Canadian resources to secure the products they need.
“That really makes us happy to know that everything is kind of done here – that was really important to us,” he says.
He’s also proud to give people reassurances about what products they would get.
“We never thought it would come this, but we’ve always been a company that’s small, but we’re extremely flexible and our flexibility allows us to do a lot of different things,” explains Siqueira.
He notes Tenwensteneind is very creative and progressive.
“So when he comes up with something to do, he pushes for it to be done as best and efficiently as possible,” says Siqueira.
As graphic design is a major part of both businesses, Cowley and Siqueira explain the masks can be custom designed, and if a company wishes to have their logo put on the face shields, they can do so.
Siqueira notes a number of companies, such as Lakeridge Health and Metrolinx, have reached out, but are waiting for them to receive their MDEL license.
For companies interested in getting some face shields, they can visit faceguard.ca to find out more.
“If they need anything they can just fill out the form, and just send it to us, and then we send an order confirmation and we fulfill their orders,” explains Siqueira.