Construction Equipment GLOBAL
Building Tomorrow - Safety in Focus
Volunteers from Shippensburg in the U.S. have produced face shields during spring. They set up workshops in their own garages and the initiative stayed on a grass-root level.

Producing important equipment

They volunteer in the midst of a global emergency

The Building Tomorrow Project

Far from everything is normal since the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic. During spring, Volvo CE employees around the world have spent their spare time producing important personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to help fight the virus. Meet a few of those who mix the power of initiative, technical skills and a strong will to do good.

The U.S. is one of the hardest struck countries in the world when it comes to the spread of the coronavirus. Like everywhere, hospitals and healthcare workers struggle to keep patients and staff safe. Important equipment like face masks, gloves and face shields are used constantly and a steady flow of material needs to be secured. In Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, where Volvo CE has one of its sites in the U.S., Brian Rudge works as Engineering Manager. He has been working from home since the beginning of March, and quickly learned about the shortage of PPE that the local hospitals experienced. So, when his boss Tony Zambito reached out to ask if Brian was willing to represent the Shippensburg site in a new Volvo Group North America covid-19 PPE task force, the answer was a definite yes.

“We set up a campus to connect each of the sites, and share ideas and materials to help combat the virus in the areas surrounding our Volvo facilities. For Shippensburg, we chose to operate from our own houses in more of a grassroots style operation,” tells Brian.

Producing face shields

A very concrete example of the production of PPE in Shippensburg is the story of the face shield. Brian started building a prototype himself right after he joined the PPE task force.

“It wasn’t perfect, but we could continue to tweak it to make it work. I then sent an email to my colleagues and asked if anyone was willing to help with 3D printing. That alone led to that 15 people joined the effort immediately.”

Within a few days, the prototype was developed to the standards that were required, and the team could produce up to 250 face shields each week. Face shields in particular are much sought after products and has been lacking in many hospitals in the area.

Building Tomorrow - Safety in Focus
Brand new face shields to be distributed to healthcare units.

A point of pride

The Shippensburg campus’ efforts feed into the broader Volvo Group North America pandemic outreach. The group is providing financial aid, medical supplies, purchasing expertise and other in-kind donations to nonprofits in multiple locations across the U.S. and Canada.

“I’m proud to be part of a company that cares so much for people. We have so many talented employees, a huge pool of resources and a lot of unique character and culture at the Shippensburg site. It seemed clear that we should get involved and help make a difference,” says Brian, who himself has volunteered in many ways throughout his life and recently trained to become a volunteer firefighter for his community.

Need for material

Overseas, in Eskilstuna, Sweden, equal efforts have been made to support with PPE production. Here, local healthcare contacted the Automation & Connected Services (ACS) at Volvo CE.

“They were expecting to run out of material and reached out to us. For me, it felt natural to help out. Since the short term lay-off, we have had a lot of time on our hands, and I have friends that work in healthcare. It felt like an ideal opportunity to give back to the local community,” says Mally Mclane, Solutions Leader, Volvo CE Eskilstuna.

He and several colleagues started to do four-hour shifts over two weeks, producing face shields. Other co-workers went to the actual hospitals in Eskilstuna and helped making gowns for the staff. And the circumstances for these sessions were somewhat special. In early spring, Susanne Karlsson, Manager Brand Management, was contacted by her son’s daycare friend’s mom, who herself works at Region Sörmland, the authority that is in charge of the PPE distribution in the region.

“She told me about a local competition that had just been launched, where companies could participate and have an ‘After Work’, where they would produce gowns for the staff. I though this could be a great opportunity to both gather some colleagues and make a difference together,” says Susanne Karlsson.

Building Tomorrow - Safety in Focus
In Eskilstuna, employees donated time and effort to produce gowns on their spare time.

Bringing out the best

Said and done, she and a few colleagues started a chat group and they soon had two events organized. In total, they have produced 2,500 gowns together. To care for a covid-19 patient, a total of approximately 57 gowns are needed in one day.

For Susanne Karlsson, the initiative and this period have meant a lot.

“It gives you a purpose in a way. I have also learnt to not take anything for granted. I think it has brought out the best of us as co-workers. I hope that will continue after the crisis,” she finishes.

Other volunteer initiatives within Volvo CE

The need for masks, hand sanitizers, visors – but also food – is almost endless in times like these. Here are some other examples of what has been done during spring in the Volvo CE family.

Brazil

  • Volvo Group Latin America has engaged volunteers to manufacture face masks for donation, and Volvo CE Brazil is a part of the initiative.
  • Partnerships have been set up with other entities to distribute 40,000 hygiene kits for truck drivers and to arrange maintenance of hospital ventilators.

South Korea

  • 70,000 masks have been distributed to employees, business partners and customers.
  • 500 hand sanitizers donated to all business sites and key customers.

India

  • Employees have volunteered to pack dry ration items to be distributed to migrant laborers and homeless people in Bangalore.
  • Distribution of food packages to almost 4,000 migrant laborers in Bangalore.

China
Read more about the many initiatives here 

Related Articles

Throughout the corona pandemic, Volvo CE China has supported both the country’s employees, customers and the society as a whole.

Meet Volvo CE dealer Pat Charron, who volunteers at an annual fundraising event to combat hunger and homelessness in his area.

A Volvo CE India dealer and customer worked with townspeople to dig a new water source for an area severely affected by drought.