Local plastic manufacturing company producing thousands of face shields

Spartek hoping to make up to 9,000 face shields by next week, CEO George Parke says

SPARTA, Wis. (WKBT) – A local plastic manufacturing company is making face shields to help try to prevent the spread of COVID-19. and keep our front-line health care workers safe.

Just two weeks ago, Spartek CEO George Parke says he was watching the news when something caught his attention.

“They were showing a couple who is making face shields with digital printers,” Parke said.

He then thought to himself that his own company could make them.

“We can come up with a quicker, faster, better shield to help out with this pandemic,” Parke said.

Last Saturday, Spartek began production.

“We have acquired enough material for 200,000 face shields thus far,” Parke said.

The company is making two types of shields, one of which cannot be used more than once.

The other has a few more parts, but it can be used over and over again.

“They can remove that shield, clean the frame, throw the shield away, snap a new shield on, and now they’re back in business where they don’t have to replace the entire unit,” Parke said.

Production is already ramping up.

“We hope to be making roughly four to five thousand by the end of this week,” Parke said. “And starting next week, we’re gonna try to push up to eight to nine thousand…By the end of this week though, all of our front-line operators will be making a shield about every 30 seconds.”

All of those shields made go to benefit our local healthcare workers.

“We’re excited about it because as you can imagine with the surge expected to get here in about three to four weeks, we are looking at needing any type of protective equipment we can get,” Gundersen Health System executive vice president Michael Dolan said.

Now one idea put into action could make a big difference to our community’s health.

“We want to give back to the medical workers who work on the front lines,” Parke said.

Parke says Spartek is hoping to make up to 12,000 shield kits a day soon.

The company plans to donate to both Gundersen Health System and Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, as well as county health departments in La Crosse, Monroe and other surrounding counties.