With Arizona municipalities given the power to order people to wear face masks in public, a Mesa company appears well-positioned to reap a boon.
US Power AZ PPE says its poised to produce more than 12.5 million disposable surgical face masks a week for wholesale to a wide range of distributors who can reach thousands of people.
The company manufactures three-ply, recyclable masks with a 95 percent effectiveness against viruses at its new facility in the Gateway Technology Commerce Center on Ray Road near the Phoenix Gateway Airport.
Formed at the onset of the pandemic earlier this year and owned by Bob Yost, seven people are in leadership positions in the business and are now preparing to hire 40 employees, spokeswoman Anna Marie Maldonado said, adding “our hope is to be at 60 with incremental increase in demand and higher production by the end of 2020.”
The company’s three-year plan includes the development of “next generation smart healthcare infrastructure to include smart testing centers” and personal protective gear,” Maldonado said.
Maldonado said Power AZ PPE has the capacity to produce 50 million masks a month.
“We are a wholesaler selling in large quantities for everyday use,” she said.
“Our intent is to meet the everyday need for nonmedical use – for example, students getting back to school, professionals getting back to work, churches starting in person worship, restaurants needing supplies for employees and guests and hotels needing supplies for employees and guests.”
“We have one very successful yet humble owner who owns and operates various ventures and who relies on an amazing leadership team running the day to day of Power PPE,” she added.
Company president Kevin Thorpe said, “We are proud Arizonans and are eager to provide an American-made product to help protect our communities.
“We all want to get back to business as usual, but taking health and safety precautions is going to be part of our new norm,” he added, stating he was “honored to step up to provide safe, reliable and environmentally conscious protective wear to help people stay healthy and feel better about returning to work, school and play.”
The company said the masks “will meet the highest quality and safety standards and will be available in both adult and children’s sizes.”
Mesa Mayor John Giles hailed the company’s mission, stating, “The health and safety of Mesa residents is my number one priority, and for many of us, adapting to our new reality will require daily PPE.
“I applaud the consideration Power PPE has taken in designing and manufacturing daily PPE that not only limits the spread of COVID-19 but is also affordable and recyclable,” said Giles, who is expected Monday to order people to wear masks in public.
Thorpe said he foresees the need for an “extraordinary number of masks” and said kids returning to school will create a need for a million a day in Arizona alone.
Kyrene School District became apparently the first in the state to announce all students and teachers who return to its 25 campuses will be required to wear masks.