Arlington mask manufacturer faces financial challenges as COVID-19 pandemic response evolves

TIM CHAN / APR 9 2022

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Bielamowicz has been going to the Capitol monthly since March this year to speak with the House Armed Services Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee. He also reached out to the office of U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s health subcommittee.“

We deserve to be part of the solution when we did it out of patriotic duty when others waited to be paid to do it,” Bielamowicz said.

U.S. Reps. Jake Ellzey, R-Waxahachie, and Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, have visited the company to show their support, according to the company. Both congressmen represent parts of Tarrant County. Eshoo’s office, Ellzey and Burgess did not respond to requests to comment.

U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, visited the company on June 1. Veasey said his goal is to have policies that keep American companies competitive. Veasey, who also serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said he’ll speak with Eshoo about the company’s struggles as well.

Many counties, universities and hospitals are buying imported masks without verifying the authenticity of those products because they’re going for the lowest bid, said Jana Lynne Sanchez, spokesperson for Project N95. 

United States Mask is working with the nonprofit to become one of its suppliers as the company produces one of the only high quality masks for children in the country, she said.

“We didn’t expect to be relevant in this pandemic at all,” Bielamowicz said. “We just believe that things like N95 ought to be made here in this country.”

The mask shortage showed how vulnerable the country was, Sanchez said. It’s important to have a strong national production of respirators for security, health and economic purposes.

“Too many Americans were walking around with masks that weren’t good,” she said. “So having a domestic supply of reliable masks is very good for our national defense. We can protect ourselves better if we know that these masks are made to a high standard and locally.”

Veasey, the Fort Worth Democrat, echoed Sanchez. It’s important to have products, not just masks, to be made in America, he said.

“When we can get DFW companies to do it, then that’s even better,” he said. 

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