Shawmut pivoting for COVID-19, as it did for WWI, WWII, other wars

Posted April 22, 2020


WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – While many textile companies are jumping in to help provide critical supplies for the frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are perhaps only a few with the perspective of having had to pivot their businesses multiple times to help in national emergencies over the last century.


Shawmut Corporation, a textile manufacturer based here, that had stepped in to provide supplies in WWI, WWII, the Korean War and Desert Storm, is now ramping up to help deliver much-needed gowns to frontline workers in the coronavirus pandemic.


The fourth-generation, family-run company – with plants across the country specializing in high-performance textiles for automotive and medical applications – is working with the Massachusetts Manufacturing Emergency Response Team and federal officials, including members of FEMA, to prepare to support the production of as many as 2.5M isolation gowns per week with both gown materials and finished gowns of its own design in coming months. 


The company's 94-year-old former CEO and current chairman Justin Wyner recalled Shawmut Corporation pivoting its production and jumping in to make field jackets and parachutes in WWII, long underwear in the Korean War and Signal Flags for operation Desert Storm. 


To reach the 2.5M/week production capacity, Shawmut said it will be redirecting equipment and labor in its plants in Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Michigan, as well as Tijuana.


Source: Shawmut Corp.

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