Laurence Kalinsky is a co-founder of Phoenix Quality MFG, LLC, a new American manufacturer of PPE designed with the goal to bring manufacturing jobs back to America while decreasing reliance on foreign-made PPE supplies.
Whether we want to believe it or not, the world as we know it has changed. COVID-19 has swept into our world like a silent hurricane, impacting every nation across the globe, and affecting the lives of tens of millions as we grapple with loss of life, loss of income, and a general loss of personal and collective identity. But as a Trojan family, what we haven’t lost is hope.
Enter Laurence Kalinsky, a 2004 Marshall School of Business Alumni, who was among those whose businesses were directly impacted by the shut down. An international business consultant, focusing on helping young companies scale, the market for his services took a major hit in March with the shutdown closing his doors almost overnight. But instead of hanging his head, or attacking the job market, the former “Pound The Pavement” business plan award winner, pivoted to help not just himself but many others affected by the pandemic, by doing what entrepreneurs do best – build something from the ashes. And thus Phoenix Quality Manufacturing was born and America has a new PPE factory in the Appalachian region of Ohio.
The Company is currently completing construction on the its 23,000 sq ft. facility in Southeast Ohio with its first product line, the PQM FreedomAir civilian face masks, currently available for purchase in November. The initial civilian grade masks will be designed as the prototype and market entrant as the Company works towards its FDA and NIOSH certification to achieve full N95 status. Regardless of the grade, the introduction of a reliable supply of high quality face masks should help ease pressure on the supply chain that has been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the CEO of the company, “More than a half a year into the pandemic, PPE inventories have evaporated or are being restricted by unfair trade practices and unprecedented global demand. Companies are relying on a handful of large companies to support the masses, but their efforts are just not enough as countries begin national mask mandates, and global bidding for product becomes even more fierce. With local Ohio production we can be part of the U.S. solution to help reduce price gouging and the reliance on fraudulent product associated with importation from foreign countries. As a global community we can’t stand idly by and have our people continue to pay the toll both health wise and in our pocket books. This is why we are taking manufacturing into our own hands with product made in the Appalachian region, a region that really is hit hard economically and can use a revitalization. My overall goal is to build a sustainable business that creates hundreds of jobs by making ‘Made in Ohio’ synonymous with PPE manufacturing and have it become a rallying cry to spur economic growth and innovation that allows for independence in the supply chain.”
According to Laurence, with an initial capacity to produce 6 Million masks per month, the company can address both large and small lot orders. In fact, PQM has designed their logistics and distribution operations to be able to serve a market that has been underserved during the pandemic by allowing customers to buy as little as 25 masks. Laurence continued, “One of the biggest issue in the market is that individuals, small and medium businesses, school systems, etc. are having a terrible time finding higher quality product without having to pay for more inventory than they need. By offering smaller lots we feel we are filling an important gap in the market.”
With a November start date, and already taking orders, the company has already laid plans to expand to 175,000 sq ft., to diversify into other PPE products, and a goal to ultimately use environmentally friendly biodegradable materials in the production. As Laurence noted, the company needs to take baby steps to create a long-term sustainable business. The company has plans to hire upwards of 100 factory workers in the next 24 months in Southeast Ohio, with plans to increase to over 200 employees by 2024. More importantly PQM sees themselves as part of the movement to help jumpstart the next great American manufacturing boom to help alleviate long term PPE supply issues. In fact, Laurence is hopeful that more American competition comes online in the form of additional manufacturing capabilities, using the analogy that one new gas station isn’t enough to spur the new PPE manufacturing revolution needed to satisfy global demand during and post COVID.
“In a world with a new normal, those that have the ability to help have a moral responsibility to put their best foot forward to do something. Even though we may not always like it, despite our color, creed, political beliefs, etc. we are one-people.”
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The company is also currently offering membership to a Monthly Mask Club, where subscribers are shipped their supply every month. They can be purchased in 3, 6, and 12 month terms, either paid up front for a discount or by automatic monthly billing. Regardless, it is a guaranteed supply of high-quality masks that allows for the avoidance of scrambling for reliable products.
Support a USC alum – buy from an American manufacturer. Go to www.freedomairmasks.com.
PQM, is an Ohio based LLC founded by a group of manufacturing and supply chain veterans led by USC Marshall alumni Laurence Kalinsky and Ohio business owner Alan Stockmeister. With an assembled team of quality management, supply chain and manufacturing experts that have over 100+ years experience working on manufacturing & supply chains for some of the largest companies in the world, including Fortune 500 companies, the management team is uniquely positioned to quickly and capably source PPE for the North American marketplace.
A vision that we could bring manufacturing back to the United States.
A vision that we could create new jobs by building a factory(-ies) in underserved markets.
A vision to decrease the reliance on foreign made supply which is ripe with fraud and price gouging.
A vision to ensure that everyone who needs higher quality PPE won’t have an issue getting it.
A vision of a new enterprise that could be looked upon as a tent-pole for a new American-made
manufacturing revolution in the Heartland of the U.S.
The Company is currently accepting orders for its fall and winter production schedules at www.freedomairmasks.com. Job postings can be found at www.PQM.US, and Laurence can be personally reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.