Jeff Somple: Mack employees essential to nation's health

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During World War II Mack was called upon, like so many manufacturers, to help America in its time of need. It was an era in which we made artillery shell casings, booster tubes for bombs, firing blocks, fuse setting rings, gas mask parts, mess trays and some of the first plastic canteens. Mack helped keep the troops armed and nourished, and by converting certain items from metal to plastic we freed up important raw materials to be used to manufacture tanks, ships, airplanes and the other instruments of our victory. It is also a history that brought Mack to Vermont, as the company opened its original Arlington location to ensure production would continue should an attack impact the New Jersey operations.

Today Mack is securely footed in Vermont, but unfortunately like early 1940s the U.S. faces a serious threat. This time, however, the country is not at war with other nations, but rather a virus, an unseen danger. Yet as Mack did then, we do now, mobilizing our strengths to the benefit of our nation.

As a "manufacturer of medical devices, equipment, testing equipment and supplies" we are a provider of essential services under Vermont's Essential Persons List for COVID-19 Response. It is not just lip service. Every day Mack's hard-working employees are making filters that are used in pharmaceutical manufacturing, helping ensure important medications are available to patients across the country. Every day Mack's doors are open is a day in which our people manufacture complete Class III medical devices that diagnose and treat life-threatening illnesses. When our lines are running we are making components for diagnostic and test equipment, parts for defibrillators, infant beds for NICUs and cutting edge antimicrobial devices.

The truth is Mack does not have its own products. Instead we manufacturer them for many well-known companies whose products serve America's needs every day. Even beyond medical equipment Mack plays an important part in the energy infrastructure, providing products that allow for an uninterrupted power supply at hospitals, nuclear power plants and radio towers during outages. At our facilities in the Carolinas employees are making truck parts that help keep America's freight moving so all of us can get the goods we need to keep our homes running.

Due to the pressure COVID-19 has placed on supply chains, 3D printers are being turned to in order to produce parts for critical medical equipment. Those printers are made by Mack employees. In fact we make two products, one that prints in plastic and another that prints in metal. Truly innovative technologies that are proving their value as you read this. Meanwhile, Mack's prototyping and engineering divisions are already engaged in the next generation of cutting-edge medical technologies.

We are the partner behind the scenes, bringing these technologies to life. It is important work - in fact many of our customers have asked us to ramp up production to meet global demand in this time of crisis - and is something our team members take pride in. While our employees are proud of what they do, Mack takes great pride in them. People are our greatest asset, which is why we are working hard every day - enacting strict disinfecting protocols and social distancing measures - to create a safe environment while making additional accommodations for those who need it.

As we all face a new uncertainty, Mack stands Vermont strong so that when our loved ones, friends, neighbors and even those we have never met, need the technologies Mack makes they will be there. While these people will never know the device that helped saved their life was touched by a Mack hand, we will, and we are happy to play our part.

Jeff Somple is president of Mack Molding Co.

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