Another company shifts gears to produce masks and save jobs

It's the one piece of personal protection everyone needs in the COVID-19 pandemic, but face masks aren't always easy to come by, especially for first responders and healthcare workers on the frontline. That's why The Marena Group, a medical device manufacturer, is the latest company to shift gears.

"When the world changed, we changed," said Dale Clendon, CEO of the Marena Group.

At the Lawrenceville headquarters Wednesday, Clendon explained how the company recently reorganized the supply chain to go from making compression products for plastic surgery patients to washable face masks with antibacterial protection.

"We took our entire organization and turned it around in two weeks and expanded our production because the demand is so tremendous," said Clendon.

The non-surgical masks are made at the Lawrenceville plant that's been producing medical devices for 25 years. Congressman Doug Collins helped the company secure federal approval under the FDA Emergency Use Authorization.

"We believe that helping businesses open ultimately protects our supply chain and save Georgia jobs," the Congressman said before touring the Gwinnett County plant Wednesday. “That’s what’s great about free enterprise. We can take a product and anticipate a future need that not only health workers but also hair salons, barbers, and others will need by providing this equipment.”

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Clendon said he was able to keep all 150 Marena employees on the job and is now poised to expand the facility and add 50 additional employees to accommodate the demand for mask production. The masks are available for sale to individuals and large medical facility companies.

Company officials said the masks are manufactured with the antibacterial product Silvadur to guard the user’s face, nose and mouth and can be washed 50 times without losing effectiveness.

While the masks provide a physical barrier against larger respiratory droplets, germ particles, and splashes, company officials say the masks will not act as a barrier against smaller respiratory droplets or germ particles.

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