Collaboration, innovation key to community project to produce protective gear for local use

Today’s show is going to be a bit different. But then again, these days is anything normal?

A little over two weeks ago, a group of creative, innovative people gathered in an online meeting to answer a simple question: what could they do to help the frontline workers in the local battle against COVID-19.

Supplies of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, long-term care homes, first responders and others were in jeopardy.

These are essential for safety and to keep these critical people at work so the rest of us can be safe. What could be done?

The result was an unprecedented collaboration between talented people, dedicated volunteers, generous companies and caring individuals to meet the local demand.

The results are astonishing, showing not only that people can work together, but they can overcome and adapt in the face of incredible challenges.

This is their story told by those inside on behalf of the many who have stepped up to meet the challenge within Northumberland.

It is not only a story about logistics, innovation and hard work, but also one of caring and generosity, two words that are continuously repeated these days when talking about the community spirit demonstrated by all involved.

First, you will hear from Chris Gillis, manager, applied research business development Whitby campus of Durham College. He will describe how one of his colleagues got out in front of these ideas to create protective equipment on a small scale to meet local demand. He will then tell us how Northumberland picked up on this idea and pushed forward.

Then, in the second segment, you will hear from Wendy Curtis, executive director of the community futures development corporation and Venture 13, along with Brian Read, a Cobourg industrialist.

They will tell the story from a different perspective. This time, you will hear how the genesis of the collaborative group actually started more than a year ago. And, from that foundation emerged something called the producer alliance, a coming together of manufacturers, engineers, producers and an army of volunteers working in buildings, garages, basements, and backrooms to create the parts for a range of personal protective equipment for Northumberland.

Originally aired: April 17, 2020

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