Dan Sinykin knows all about the importance of face masks in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sinykin is the president of Janesville-based Monterey Mills, which began producing masks in late March with Eder Flag of Oak Creek.
Initially, they were producing 1,000 masks a day.
Now, it’s up to 65,000 daily, with production of the washable and reusable masks spread across the country.
One other thing: Sinykin is just now recovered from contracting COVID-19. He suspects he and his wife got the virus while traveling through O’Hare International Airport March 15. His four children, he said, have also come down with the virus.
“I haven’t been able to smell or taste anything since St. Patrick’s Day,” Sinykin said Monday.
Sinykin discussed the firm’s push to create face masks during a webinar hosted by the Greater Milwaukee Committee.
The firm provides fabric to a variety of industries.
“Five weeks ago, we pivoted our manufacturing capabilities to provide a three-ply textile, washable reusable safety mask,” he said.
He said on March 17 he got his management and development teams together to develop a face mask and reached out to Eder Flag three days later.
Eventually, key orders came from UW Health and Advocate Aurora. Other orders have come from the Milwaukee VA, Marshfield Clinic and first responders throughout Wisconsin he said.
“We’re now supplying the Wisconsin National Guard, the City of Madison, Sauk County Department of Health Services, Sixteenth Street Community Health Center and numerous nursing homes and senior living centers throughout the state,” he said.
He said masks have also been provided to Ariens Corp., Ixonia Bank, Daniels Sentry in Madison and Seneca Foods.
The firm is now selling masks online to the public through safeusamasks.com.
The firm has committed to donating at least 5,000 masks to first responders and families living in hard-hit areas in Milwaukee, including the 53205 and 53206 zip codes.
“We hope to partner with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee to help manage our donations,” he said.
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