Colin Wityak is a jewelry manufacturer in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And COVID-19 has him into a seriously tough corner. He has 14 employees that need to keep working, as the virus has crushed 80% of his sales. Colin, however, knows well how to “improvise, adapt, and overcome.” So he is “pivoting” — retooling his business and organizing a supply chain to create masks, and face shields.
Re-tasking jewelry equipment to make something other than jewelry is challenging…and expensive. His PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) application was accepted, but when the funds will arrive is anyone’s guess. It’s the federal government, after all. He had been hoping it would come in this week so he could “keep the lights on” and pay his staff.
They have several 3-D printers as well as the molding and casting equipment for the job. Going from making jewelry for Second Amendment proponents, groups like Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, as well as others, to medical equipment can be done. It’s not as easy as you might think, but it’s doable.
Colin’s family has several family members that served in the Marine Corps. All have made an imprint on him that provides fortitude and resolve when things get sporty.
He forges ahead in spite of the obstacles against him. His Mom became chronically ill, and now he fights to keep her insurance going. It has been a difficult road to walk. The coronavirus has derailed his plans and left him, as he put it, “backed up against the wall.”
He told us he needs to get some orders coming in for the masks and face shields. The prototypes have been built and are ready to for qualification. He just needs someone to give the “Go code” to get the raw materials to put everything into production.
All small businesses are in a similar position as Colin and his small staff. Eventually the cash runs out. Every worker is important, and every business owner needs assistance with keeping people employed, and a way forward to make money. Colin will ultimately win, we truly believe that. We wish him the very best as he fights this disaster the way that would make Devil Dogs everywhere grin – and he will ultimately overcome.
Featured photos of 3d printed masks with NIOSH filters: provided by Colin Wityak