When Ryan Woloszyk, P.E., a civil engineer with the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner (WRC), heard how his family and friends were working in the medical field without protective equipment, he knew he wanted to help.
So Woloszyk, along with his friends Dan Kennedy and Clifford Villerot, decided to put their engineering skills –– and their 3D printer –– to good use.
The men have created approximately 1,500 face shields to distribute at several hospitals in southeast Michigan. The face shields are used by employees at Beaumont Troy and Royal Oak, as well as at other local hospitals, who are treating patients who have COVID-19.
“Once we heard about friends and family working in the medical field with a lack of protective equipment, the situation felt personal, and the need to take action escalated,” said Woloszyk, who lives in Metamora and has worked for WRC for 2 ½ years. “For us it was a matter of what we do to help the situation with the skills and knowledge we already possess.”
After prototyping several designs, the three men finally found one that was durable, easily sanitized and comfortable. The process involved 3D printing the headband portions of the shields as well as creating a three-hole punch in the screens to have the ability to create a more streamlined production process and ultimately more shields. WRC donated several rolls of plastic to be cut up to make the face protection portion of the shields.
Unlike other face shields, Woloszyk’s are higher quality, which allows them to be used more than once.
“Quality is our main differentiator,” Woloszyk said. “When we were in the design process, we wanted a product that had a higher quality and reusability. The durability of the plastic allows it to be placed in watered-down bleach. The plastic can also withstand heat so it can be placed in the microwave to be sanitized.”
Though Woloszyk and his friends met their goal of creating 1,500 shields, their work is not quite done.
They were recently contacted by a group handling COVID-19 relief for the Navajo Nation. They are back in full production and plan on sending a total of 450 face shields to them. Their face shields also have been sent to retirement homes in New York, Florida and New Mexico.
“We are so proud to be doing our part to support our communities and our healthcare heroes,” Woloszyk said.
About the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office
The Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office is dedicated to protecting public health and safety, preserving natural resources and a healthy environment, maintaining reliable, high quality service, ensuring the value of investment and contributing to economic prosperity. We set goals that encourage efforts to meet or exceed local, state and federal water quality standards, environmental regulations and safety requirements within our control. To learn more about us, visit www.oakgov.com/water.