Original News Article: Richmond Times-Dispatch
Hanover manufacturing company shifts some production to making material for medical gowns

A Hanover County manufacturing company has shifted part of its production to make materials that are used in personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health care workers in the fight against COVID-19.

INDEVCO North America’s manufacturing operations in Doswell make coated paper, plastic and building materials. Its Specialty Coating and Laminating business makes products used in food and industrial packaging, while its Barricade Building Products unit makes house wrap products.

While housing starts are down and gowns and other PPE have been in great demand, the company started to transition some production in March to manufacturing medical isolation gown materials to help protect medical personnel and first responders.

“I have three nurses in my family, and they have been washing material and re-using it for months,” said Geoff Baldwin, president of INDEVCO North America’s paper division.

“Isolation suits were actually on our radar” as a business, he said. “With the COVID-19 crisis, we felt there was a need to accelerate our program to make [the materials for] isolation gowns for a variety of reasons.”

The business units, which employ about 150 people, share the same industrial complex in Doswell, which also is home to the company’s North American headquarters.

The company’s specialty coating and laminating business now manufactures isolation gown rollstock that is sold to suppliers that cut and sew isolation gowns, along with apparel makers and other companies now producing disposable medical gowns.

The company’s products are sold nationwide and some international markets, Baldwin said. “We can serve anybody across the country that needs the material, and we are working with three different Virginia-based companies.”

Until recently, PPE materials were heavily sourced from overseas manufacturers, the company said.

INDEVCO North America said it considers the shift to manufacturing isolation gowns in line with its corporate philosophy: “What is good for the community is good for the company.”

“As local manufacturers,” said Pierre Khattar, CEO of INDEVCO North America, “we have a social responsibility to pivot production to help keep our communities safe and healthy. We’re taking assets geared towards construction and producing isolation gown fabric that will protect givers and receivers of care in clinics, hospitals and nursing homes.”