Wisconsin-based companies team up to begin making respirator masks

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Mueller Communications LLC

MILWAUKEE — Two Wisconsin-based companies have partnered up to begin making barrier masks for medical personnel and others in need of face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monterey Mills in Janesville is the largest textile mill of its kind in North America and is a supplier of knitted pile fabric used in medical and air-filtration products. The company’s president Dan Sinykin said the masks are washable and allow for either side to be used for protection.

“We’re combining air filtration and insulation fabrics, with a membrane liner to create a highly effective, comfortable respirator mask,” said Sinykin. “The masks are designed to be re-useable, cleaned in an industrial or home washer and available for multiple uses. These masks will be American made with product and labor created here in the U.S. With calls coming in from all over the country, we’re ready now to start producing masks and to answer the call for help.”

Eder Flag in Oak Creek is the country’s largest manufacturer of flags and flagpoles and has converted part of its flag-sewing operations to help produce masks alongside Monterey Mills.

“Instead of sewing together the stars and stripes to make U.S. flags, we’re ready to help fill an urgent local and national need,” said Jodi Goglio, chief operating officer of Eder Flag. “We have the infrastructure and will take necessary steps with our workforce and facility to ramp up production of these masks to the best of our ability. We’re very familiar with Monterey Mills and it makes perfect sense for these two Wisconsin companies to collaborate on this project.”

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A regional health system in the state has entered in a supplier agreement with Monterey Mills to receive the masks, with an initial supply of 20,000 masks to be supplied.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department has requested 2,500 masks, which will be donated.

“It’s wonderful to have two companies in the region coming together to fill this need,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “Both companies are known for their quality products and I have no doubt these masks will be met with open arms by health care, law enforcement and anyone working among the general public during these challenging times.”

Organizations that would like to order the masks can call 877-252-6538 or visit www.safeusamasks.com for more information. Healthcare officials, government agencies and professional services will be given priority.