Five Oakland County Manufacturers Share $147K to Make Gear for Health Care and First Responders in COVID-19 Crisis

Five more Oakland County manufacturers will share $147,000 in “Saving Business, Saving Lives” grants to make personal protective equipment such as masks and face shields used in the fight against the coronavirus.

Oakland County Executive David Coulter announced the grants today, which come from a $1 million fund he proposed and was approved by the county Board of Commissioners to incentivize Oakland County manufacturers who can shift production to include personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns, face shields or medical device components. More than $660,000 has been shared by 18 companies.

“Oakland County manufacturers continue to step forward to help in this fight against the coronavirus,” Coulter said. “Personal protective equipment remains critical for our recovery. Health care workers, first responders and others have an ongoing need for this important protective equipment. I applaud these companies for their willingness to help.”

The “Savings Business, Saving Lives” grant is part of larger job stabilization effort by the county, which has committed more than $100 million to small businesses, communities and residents who have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The companies receiving grants are:

Charm View Beauty and Sew, Southfield
Owner Bridget Grier
Traditionally a beauty shop and sewing instruction business providing classes for youth and adults in how to sew. Pivoted to produce face masks with N95 filters and cloth gloves.

AC Steel Rule Dies, Madison Heights
Owner Randy Genord
Custom design, manufacturing and assembly of steel rule dies for automotive suppliers, die cutters and printers. Pivoted to produce tooling and fixtures for companies that produces N95 masks, face shields, gowns, ventilators. Also builds custom partitions and barriers.

iMBranded, Pontiac
Owner Jim Whitehead
Traditionally produced architectural mill work, large format graphics and shop graphics. Pivoted to produce sneeze guards, floor and tabletop signage, hand sanitizer stations, social distancing floor signage and floor strips.

Novi Signarama, Wixom
Owners: Beth Powers, Mike Powers
Traditionally produced signage for marketing and wayfinding as well as vehicle graphics.
Pivoted to produce desktop, countertop and hanging acrylic shields, specialty signage for social distancing and hand washing stations.

D’Still, Royal Oak
Owners: Rich and Tonya Lockwood
Traditionally produced a variety of small batch whiskies in house at their tasting room in Royal Oak. Pivoted to produce hand sanitizer.

Each proposal was reviewed by a panel. The panel members are:

    • Manager Alain Piette, MI-SBTDC Technology Team
    • Dr. Carmine Jabri, co-founder of E.M.M.A. International Consulting Group, Inc.
    • Jaideep Rajput, director of commercialization for Beaumont Health Services
    • Michael W. Long, Ph.D., executive director of Oakland University Mobilization Zone
    • Julie Killian, CPA, Clayton & McKervey
    • Dan Radomski, director, Lawrence Technological University Centrepolis Accelerator

County Commissioners Janet Jackson, D-Southfield; William Miller, D-Farmington and Michael Spisz, R-Oxford, participated in an advisory role. A business applying for a grant needed to demonstrate the ability to execute the project during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Eligible use of funds includes:

    • Procuring necessary equipment to manufacture supplies
    • Logistics, shipping, technology upgrades
    • Other costs related to operationalizing new product lines