In mid-2020, as companies around the country rallied and pivoted to fill demand for PPE and other vital products during the pandemic, GEON offered its expertise in logistics, supply, sourcing, technical, commercial and manufacturing operations to SMEs at no cost.
Although 2020 may be a year that many wish they could forget, the one thing we would like to remember is the unification of companies and industries coming together for the greater good.
The basic necessities were in scarce supply in March and April. Everything from meat to flour — but probably most notably, toilet paper — was hard to find. But as consumers cried out for basic goods, there was also a desperate cry for something much more dire: personal protective equipment (PPE). As coronavirus cases quickly shot up, healthcare workers and other frontline industry personnel realized there was a severe shortage of the gear necessary to keep them safe from exposure to COVID-19.
Around the country, like never before, companies donated materials, retooled operations and worked around the clock to get frontline workers what they needed. In Westlake, Ohio, GEON Performance Solutions — a global leader in engineered polymers — was moving quickly to find ways they too could help.
“COVID-19 has had an incredible impact on our community,” said GEON CEO Tracy Garrison. “And we felt a strong sense of responsibility to do our small part to help our community as it combats the effects of this pandemic.”
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Early on in the pandemic, many companies found themselves wanting to help; but without the necessary means to do so — whether due to issues meeting demand, limited resources to implement ideas, or other obstacles. By combining their technical and manufacturing strengths, GEON conceived and developed the innovative program “Project Collaboration” — a hotline and service for designers and manufacturers of medical and healthcare products, and those who found themselves retooling operations to develop COVID-related products.
Through Project Collaboration, GEON offered its expertise at no cost to small- and medium-sized companies to help bring these products to market. GEON’s support included assistance with challenges related to logistics, supply, sourcing, technical, commercial and manufacturing operations.
Image courtesy of Vinyl Sustainability Council
“Our goal was simple,” said Larry Shaw, GEON SVP and Chief Commercial Officer. “To support peer companies and colleagues who wanted to make a positive impact on the pandemic.”
GEON’s response is a timely example of how important social sustainability is for any company in any industry. For this reason, GEON was recently recognized as a recipient of the 2020 Social Impact Award by the Vinyl Sustainability Council (VSC) — a self-funded business council advancing sustainability in the vinyl industry. The award recognizes the efforts of a VSC member that has demonstrated a strong commitment to community well-being and longevity. This annual award acknowledges outstanding projects or programs that address a social concern utilizing a company’s resources to have a positive impact.
“GEON’s response to the pandemic spotlights how one company can facilitate a greater impact by an entire industry,” said Jay Thomas, VSC's Executive Director. “We will make the greatest strides in our sustainability journey when we are working together. And, as we continue to navigate the pandemic, collaboration will be key to ensuring we are providing the greatest impact.”
GEON was contacted by more than 50 companies and able to fulfill numerous requests. In one instance, GEON connected with GOEX Corporation — a Wisconsin plastic sheet manufacturer — to develop and produce protective face shields from PVC. GOEX was already donating face shields to local hospitals but was facing a shortage of raw materials, which caused a disruption in production of a PPE product that was desperately needed in their community.
In response, GEON fabricated a transparent PVC to meet the stringent requirements; ultimately, they were so pleased with the face shields, they commissioned and donated 60,000 medical-grade face shields to Cleveland-area hospitals, schools and first responders.
“Project Collaboration is a shining example of the powerful way business, industry and community can come together to solve a critical challenge,” Shaw said. “The pandemic has been devastating, but it’s been an opportunity to unify for the greater good.”