Ohio Development Services Agency awards Mentor PPE maker $500,000 grant

07/27/2020  |   Posted By The News-Herald

RB Sigma LLC of 6111 Heisley Road recently was awarded a $500,000 Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring Grant.

On June 4, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced the program, which provides grants to small manufacturers so they can repurpose existing facilities to make personal protection equipment or reshore PPE production to Ohio.

 RB Sigma, which received an $8,000 Mentor Economic Development Grant earlier this month, was founded four years ago to offer organizational training in Lean Six Sigma. President Justin Bloyd switched gears in April to join the COVID-19 cause.

“The grant will be used to buy additional N95 and surgical mask machines, and packaging equipment,” said company President Justin Bloyd. “Funds will also be applied to research and development, and training for recently hired technicians.

“When it’s all said and done, we’ll have 10 total machines. Three additional machines will arrive in mid-September.”

The total amount of the funds available were $20 million dollars and RB Sigma was one of 68 companies in the state to get an award.

“Only a handful received the maximum amount for $500,000,” Bloyd noted.

Awards were based on need for the type of product to be produced, speed to market and production volume capacity, said Todd Walker, Ohio Development Services Agency chief communications officer.

As of July 26, the company had made more than 150,000 N95 masks.

“We started full production last week, so things are going really, really well,” Bloyd said. “We have our first shipment going out.”

This is in addition to being a distributor for makers of gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer, face shields and PPE kits. RB Sigma has now shipped more than 20 million in PPE, he said.

Bloyd called the grant an honor.

“The N95 masks we are manufacturing have been rated as a 96 by an independent testing lab,” he added. “These results are excellent indicators that we should receive NIOSH and FDA approval.

“We are proud to be manufacturing these masks for the Greater Cleveland area and are currently in the process of hiring an additional 15 operators and technicians so that we can be producing on three shifts, Monday through Saturday.”

The business also has opened a warehouse on Tyler Boulevard and is looking to hire 25 more people within the next year.

“We will train and there’s going to be full healthcare benefits, medical, dental, vision, and we pay half of the medical,” Bloyd said.

On May 5, the company opened its storefront for the general public to purchase PPE-related items. In addition, it donated 1,000 N95 masks and 500 surgical masks to the city of Mentor’s frontline workers.

For more on PPE available to local business and the general public, visit rbmedicalsupply.com. Job applications may be sent to info@rbsigma.com.

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