Duggal Concludes NYC PPE Production at Duggal Greenhouse; More Than 2.6 Million Face Shields Delivered
DVS Project Greenhouse
It was an emotional day at the Duggal Greenhouse on July 31, 2020 as the PPE production team that had been working at the Brooklyn venue since March bid farewell to the project commissioned by New York City, with a final tally of 2,635,000 face shields provided to first responders.
Workers from all backgrounds and professions beamed with bittersweet pride as Michael Duggal, CEO of Duggal Visual Solutions, thanked them for their courage and commitment through New York’s coronavirus siege.
“For the rest of your lives, you know you were essential to your city, your state, your country and to each other,” Duggal said. “You took care of all those people, and I could not be prouder of what we’ve accomplished together.”
As New York City hospitals battled one of the most severe coronavirus outbreaks in the world, Duggal Visual Solutions quickly shifted its production from printed graphics to face shields and other PPE equipment, partnering with Brooklyn Navy Yard neighbor Bednark Studio to scale the operation, retain staff from both companies, give jobs to local artists and meet the dire need for PPE.
Duggal and Bednark delivered the first 50,000 face shields to first responders on March 28, less than a week after receiving the go-ahead from the city’s Health Department to begin manufacturing in the Greenhouse. As the weeks and months went on, so did the work and the workers. On May 13, the team surpassed 1 million face shields; and on June 30, 2020, 2 million.
While the group enjoyed catered BBQ and much-deserved beers on the Greenhouse’s waterfront patio, we caught up with a few of the essential workers.
“I will always pass the Greenhouse on my ferry rides and look wistfully to my experience here,” said Chris Blake Chappell, an artist whose grandmother worked on an assembly line during World War II. "I'm an artist so I do a lot of things that symbolize that, and regardless of 10 years experience this is my most favorite employment position."
Hardy Rosenstein, who works at Duggal, said he felt fortunate and gracious to help make a difference. He told us he’d be back from his sales desk in a heartbeat if called to return for another PPE production project. "I feel incredibly lucky and gracious to be given an opportunity as a non medical individual to make a difference"
Howard Silverstein, also a Duggal employee, recalled the journey from the first batch of face shields to the final day, through the lens of people protected and lives saved.
"No matter what you throw anybody or anything that's thrown at us, we, as a people always find a way to get together and do the right thing for each other. There is nothing that is too big or too awful that they can throw at us that we will not be able to find a way to not only just cope with it but to actually make the world a better place for having done it and I think that's what we've done here".
Duggal’s Chris Searson said he felt like every single lace of a face shield could potentially be saving a life, particularly amid the fear and intensity at the onset of the city’s outbreak. " For me personally every single lace felt like saving another life"
Reliving its roots in what NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio described as a “wartime factory,” the Duggal Greenhouse served as a large and accessible space for PPE production to take place in a safe and socially distant manner. There were zero reported coronavirus cases during the entire project.
“If our city, our state and our country need us again, I know we’ll be here. And I know you’ll be here,” Duggal said. “I hope they don’t. But if they do, we know we’re made of tough stuff.”