Third generation, family business in Burnaby helps source safety gear during COVID-19 crisis


BURNABY (NEWS 1130) — A Burnaby-based manufacturing company is shifting gears to boost medical supply stocks during the pandemic.

Justin Williams, with Williams and White, a third-generation, family run-business, says they have partnered up with Bauer to make thousands of protective face shields.

“We’ve been contacted by health-care companies. We have pretty wide supply-chain connections due to our traditional business in the manufacturing field and, so, we’ve been really pounding pavement, even working all weekend trying to figure out what we can do to help.”

He says the third-generation, family-run business initially stocked Save-On-Foods with barriers to make sure customers are keeping their distance from each other and grocery store workers.

He tells NEWS 1130 they’ve already manufactured thousands of face shields and they’re doing what they can to match other companies with Personal Protective Equipment.

“We’re getting requests from people across North America. I just got a request from a fire department in New Jersey looking for face shields, but also everyone’s looking for all types of other PPE and so, we’ve been doing whatever we can to either find ways of producing it or source it.”

He adds their supply chain is strong, so they’re also helping other companies source reliable safety equipment.

“Most is doing local and if it’s not being done local, if we’re talking to people, we are only using people that we’ve known for many, many, many years.   We’re going to just make sure we can do whatever we have to do to meet demand and we’ve been reaching out to other producers to kind of coordinate the effort.”

He says, when his grandfather started Williams and White, they were supplying forest companies and now, they build custom machinery for the aerospace industry.

They’re also branching out into the medical field.

Meanwhile, other grassroots efforts to help boost medical supply stocks have prompted concerns about equipment being properly sourced.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says she’s been inundated with requests, so the Ministry of Health has a special team vetting out possible fraudsters.

“So we have been able to weed out a number of them and actually connect with a number of people who’ve had some very good ideas and some very good supports that we can use…. There is a team that is validating all of these and also assessing the products for safety. As we mentioned, particularly when there’s products coming in that aren’t from our usual suppliers.”

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