As the coronavirus pandemic continues, there's an ongoing shortage of PPE - personal protective equipment - including respirators. At Crowder Industries of Neosho, employees are now doing their part - making the difference as their motto says - to get more respirators into the hands of the medical professionals, law enforcement, first responders and members of the public who need them. Employees are currently assembling components of 3M 6000 series respirators.

As a subcontractor for Weaver Manufacturing, Columbia, MO, Crowder Industries is working to assemble 100,000 face mask components which attach to the respirator. With the proper filter in place, the respirators became N95 certified - the type in high demand for those on the front lines of the pandemic.

"We started on the components on April 10," Greg Cook, Crowder Industries General Manager, said. "We'll be producing them at least into the second week of June."

The goal is to build components for 100,000 respirators. "When we get 50,000 done," Cook stated. "I will deliver them to Columbia, then we will work on 50,000 more."

The contract came at an ideal time, after La-Z-Boy Midwest in Neosho announced a temporary shutdown at the end of March. La-Z-Boy is Crowder Industries largest customer so the the shutdown0 idled much of the workforce.

The contact with Weaver Manufacturing allowed Crowder Industries to bring back all the employees and hire a few more.

"This is a short-term project that couldn't have come at a better time for the company," Cook said.

With the subcontract worker for Weaver Manufacturing and La-Z-Boy Midwest resuming production, Crowder Industries will be able to keep employment levels at pre-pandemic levels.

On Friday, employees were hard at work on the project. The working partnership between Crowder Industries and Weaver Manufacturing in Columbia, MO will provide a much needed product in the ongoing fight against coronavirus.

Crowder Industries celebrated 50 years in Neosho last year. in 1969, they opened as a sheltered workshop. Their motto is "our people make the difference" and today they are making a major difference for the state and nation by doing their part in building PPE that will provide protection as the pandemic continues.

Crowder Industries is located at 3707 Howard Bush Drive in the Crowder Industrial Complex, Neosho.