WEST BRIDGEWATER (CBS) – The Baker administration announced it’s investing millions in making PPE in Massachusetts. The state is handing out more than $6 million in grants. One of the biggest grants will go to a West Bridgewater company, run by the same family for more than 100 years.
Shawmut Corporation used to make car parts and performance wear, but now they’re shifting gears and teaming up with one of Boston’s biggest developers.
“Having the grant there, it just gives you that extra push to say we’ve committed to the state and that we’ve got to get this done,” said Joe Fallon, of the Fallon Company.
Shawmut Corporation stepped up early in the pandemic to help supply hospital gowns to health care workers across the country. Now, working in a partnership with the Fallon Company, Shawmut is getting new equipment to become an N95 mask production plant.
“We expect to start production in February, perhaps a bit sooner,” said James Wyner from Shawmut. “We’re prototyping next month. We have equipment arriving every day.”
The company hopes to churn out five to six million masks a month at first, then scale up to 80 to 100 million masks next year.
“For us it’s making sure we provide the best possible mask you could make and let’s face it, this is life or death for many of these first responders,” Fallon said.
“In a global crisis, your local community actually becomes like a critical point of contact,” Wyner said. “And that’s really where the resources have to be to solve the problem.”
The new West Bridgewater facility will create between 200 and 300 jobs.