A believer that a business is only as strong as the community that surrounds and supports it, Fiber Optic Center, Inc (FOC) has always invested in our community and continues to find ways to pay it forward during the coronavirus pandemic.

Frontline workers, those directly providing services where they are most needed, are a focus for us at this time….both our FOC frontline workers and those in our community. Though the first occupations that come to mind include healthcare and emergency services personnel, the new landscape of positions and their needs has changed our original course.

The Original Course

Last month, FOC invested in a large inventory of Disposable Medical Face Masks from overseas for three distinct purposes: 1) provide for our staff, 2) donate to nonprofits and frontline workers and 3) sell a portion of the inventory we can procure to those in the most need of a source, doing so at a reasonable cost. The portion sold will help us continue the FOC Donation Program.

Because our supply is not specifically N95 (the government-certified grade for health-care workers) we originally assumed that donating direct to hospitals would not be possible.

Discovery

We quickly learned that many hospitals were requesting mask donations, regardless of grade, to ensure they had medical supplies to battle the coronavirus. Some had even become creative to secure equipment including trying to buy medical supplies from any local businesses (construction, automotive, tattoo artist, etc.) that had stock while closed for business to reaching out all over the globe to access any available supplies. The Food and Drug Administration even went as far to determine that the thick cotton fabric masks being sewn by individuals may be used in a health-care setting, though not in a surgical setting, during these dire times.

With that information about revised guidelines and the conversations with our contacts in the medical field, FOC donated to several medical organizations and hospitals. The feedback was very positive.

Disposable Medical Face Masks are close-fitting to keep virus-laden droplets away from the wearer’s mouth and nose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that a masks’ effectiveness is “highly dependent upon proper fit and use.” Our product is the high quality personal protective equipment that medical workers have been trying to receive. However, they do not have any formal medical certification.

In addition to the donations we had made, locally, we were able to make a large donation to Beth Israel. The Beth Israel Medical Centers have been one of the hardest-hit here in Massachusetts, for patients COVID-positive, in the intensive care unit on ventilators and staff who are either COVID-positive or quarantined. Each group has staggering numbers for them. Their flagship hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, is also at the forefront of the race for a coronavirus vaccine, partnering with the pharmaceutical arm of Johnson & Johnson and the federal government.

Our Knowledge

We continue to use our supply chain knowledge to source, procure, and increase both donations and our ability to offer this product to those in our community searching for a source to order from.

 

Supply chain knowledge supporting a community in the form of face masks

 

Creating New Opportunities

The shortage of personal protective equipment, like face masks, cannot continue to be a serious problem for healthcare workers. We are dedicated to ensuring that they do not have to resort to using less-effective masks or go without while treating patients. Any companies that would like to work, in partnership, with us on this mission should contact us directly at FiberOpticCenter@focenter.com.

With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that all Americans wear face coverings in public to avoid transmitting the coronavirus to others, we are still currently focused on encouraging frontline employees in need to reach out. Many sources are giving delivery options of at least a couple weeks and we currently have product available. In addition to our healthcare and emergency services personnel, those in frontline positions (sanitation, postal, restaurant, town, grocery, gas station, custodial, correction officers, truck and delivery drivers as well as countless other essential positions) please know that we are focused on being a source for your safety and having this product available to you: shop.focenter.com/disposable-medical-face-mask.

FOC will offer both market analysis and leadership that will unite and strengthen our incredible fiber optic industry.

 FOC will continue to monitor the global coronavirus outbreak situation, taking proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of all of our employees, customers, vendors, and their families and following all official government guidance and travel advisories. We are dedicated to being a part of the pay it forward movement during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Ben Waite

About Ben Waite

Ben Waite, President and CEO Ben Waite began his career at Fiber Optic Center (FOC) in 1995. Ben brings his extensive experience in technical field work, business strategy and engineering management to his current position of President and CEO. Ben brings his manufacturing knowledge and experience into customers’ worldwide operations. In addition to his responsibilities at FOC, Ben has been an active member of the New England Fiberoptic Council for many years, including NEFC board positions as Secretary, Treasurer, and President. Ben graduated from Colby College with a BA in Physics, Math, and Science and Technology Studies. He and his wife reside outside New Bedford, with their three children, where they are deeply involved in their community and extended families. Outside of FOC, he can be found coaching youth Baseball and Soccer. Follow @BenWaite_FOC