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Eastern Shore company steps up to create parts for ventilators

Posted at 5:10 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 17:10:12-04

EASTERN SHORE, Md. — On Friday, Governor Larry Hogan will tell us more about when the state can start to reopen.

He's calling the plan "Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery."

In an interview with Politico, he said he'll open the economy gradually, but it will be awhile before we see people close together again.

Hogan has said there are four building blocks that need to be in place to begin the recovery process.

  • Expanding testing capacity
  • Increasing supplies of personal protective equipment
  • Expanded, robust tracing to track cases of covid-19
  • Readying hospitals for a surge in patients.

Part of that is having enough ventilators. On Thursday we spoke to an Eastern Shore company making parts for those life-saving medical devices.

Jim Smith first got his job when he was 12, cutting the grass for the owner. The owner said “you should come work here”, so he did. Now he's at a manufacturing business called NRL Associates, as the CEO and President.

At NRL, they normally make parts mostly for the Department of Defense and some other medical machine parts. Their machines are precise, down to .57 microns.

They just signed a contract to make 4,000 parts a year for a ventilator company. The virus hit and after a call from the feds, now that company needs 4,000 parts a month.

Like most businesses, Jim and his two partners had to cut staff to just essential personnel and now they have to increase production 12 times!

Jim says he could raise his prices because of the hurried production but, he’s kept them the same.

"We’ve experience some price gauging from a couple sub-contractors," he said. "We’ve maintained everything, this is not the time to be doing that. "What’s best for society?, You need 4,000 units a month, we figure out how to get 4,000 a month done and we’re doing it."

They just had their half-a-million dollar machine delivered two weeks ago for this, but they may have to spend another $500,000 for a second one.