Durham company hires more employees after shifting to produce face shields during COVID-19 pandemic

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Several companies across the country and at home in North Carolina are stepping up to help create personal protective equipment to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Bright View Technologies normally makes optical materials, but when the virus hit, the vision to help came naturally.

"As COVID started happening one of our engineers came to us and said we have the material, we have the machines and equipment to make face shields," said Jennifer Aspell, President of Bright View Technologies.

That conversation took place on March 23 and by March 26 Bright View had its first order from the state. To date, the company has produced more than 400,000 face shields.

"The strategy was three pronged: How do we protect the health of our employees? How do we operate in our business? And third is how are we responsible to our communities?" Aspell said.

The outcome was three fold as well. Bright View was able to stay in business, serve the community, and also employ roughly 30 people who had been laid off.

"We hired 30 people as independent contractors and what we do is complete curbside contactless pick-up delivery. They (contractors) pick up kits of material; they go home and assemble them; we store and pack them; and we ship them off to our companies," Aspell said.

Jason Kennamer dropped off hundreds of masks and picked up hundreds more kits to put together.

"I changed careers and became a pilot and was supposed to start airline training in the middle of March and that was cancelled and now I'm putting together face shields," Kennamer explained.

"It's great to be able to help out," Kennamer said.

But this is also about health. Studies have shown face shields might offer more protection plus help the hearing impaired.

"The shields allow you to see facial expressions whether you need to unlock phones or read lips or just want to see someone smile," said Aspell.
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