How Craig Zeman Got Creative In The Fight Against COVID-19

Face shields being made and modeled

Normally, we keep you safe via fire protection, reliable technology, and life safety solutions. During a pandemic, we keep you safe with all of those things plus by getting creative and utilizing our collective resources. 

Enter Craig Zeman, Electronic Systems Designer at Midwest Alarm Services, and his 3D printer. You see, we were prepared for disaster in nearly every way - redundancy for power outages, system failures, working from home and more - thanks to Dan Turner and his amazing IT team. Not only that, we had procedures in place from previous pandemics (SARS/2003 and H1N1/2009-10). But, we never predicted a need of this magnitude for PPE, specifically masks, face shields and sanitizer. This massive need coupled with global panic buying created a challenge for us, as it did for so many businesses. 

How The Idea To Print 3D Face Shields Was Born

It was Anna Davis at Per Mar Security Services (parent company to Midwest Alarm Services) in Eau Claire who first offered to knit masks. And it was Kathy Loy of Per Mar in Madison who quickly reacted to the crisis by amassing PPE stockpile orders. Kathy simultaneously coordinated pandemic disinfection and cleaning controls but, unfortunately, learned of the PPE backlog only a few days later. 

These events are what led Craig to leap to our rescue via his 3D printer, a gift he’d bought for his children a couple of Christmases prior. He ran the idea by Doug Richard, President of Midwest Alarm Services, and Doug spoke to Brian Duffy, COO of Per Mar Security Services. Both were a go! However, approved 3D printing specs would need to be located, supplies would need to be ordered and a distribution system would have to be created before we could call this a win. 

“We are extremely fortunate to have individuals as thoughtful and extraordinary as Craig be a part of the Midwest Alarm Services team. Craig saw a need and took the initiative to be part of a solution. In times like this, it really highlights how valuable someone like Craig is.” – Doug Richard, President of Midwest Alarm Services       

Craig Started 3D Printing Face Shields From Home

First, he searched online for clinically approved guidelines and found a few forum posts from the National Institute of Health (NIH). Thanks to a fast track clinical trial (due to high demand), the NIH was able to approve this design in days rather than months. Craig found their website with the instructions for making your own PPE, plugged the design into his printer and started printing face shields. 

Using transparency sheets from his local Per Mar supply closet and spools of string plastic, Craig’s first plastic shield face mask prototype was done in about two hours. A Zoom call was used to show everyone the design in a socially distant and safe manner. 

Once approved, Craig was asked to print 75 face shields and eventually an additional 200 were made due to demand. This allowed our staff to enter nursing homes and other facilities requiring extra protection from COVID-19. Some facilities required this type of face shield and we wouldn’t have been able to serve our clientele safely without them! 

“We are very fortunate to have Craig on our team for many reasons; I never would have guessed that one of them would be his 3D printer. He has been very generous with his time and talents to the benefit of our entire organization.” - Brian Duffy, COO of Per Mar Security Services

It Was a Total Team Effort

In addition to the folks listed above, Michele Flater, Accounts Payable at Per Mar Centre, was able to source supplemental 3D supplies since nationwide stockpiles were depleted. Since Craig didn’t have time to research materials while working his regular, full-time job, this was a huge help. Before long, Craig had spools of plastic and additional transparency sheets, the two supplies needed to print face shields on his 3D printer. 

Midwest Alarm Services techs were the first to get the shields, thanks to Jason Reeder, Madison Operations Manager, and he also made it so that all field personnel would have access to them. The finished face shields are now taken from Craig’s home to the local Madison office and are distributed via mail by Colin Vick, Per Mar Physical Security - Regional Vice President, who was also a champion of the idea from the start. As for sanitizer, a local business did a 360 with their current business to produce sanitizer that we were able to source, which also helped us tremendously. 

“We are a big family in the same boat going through it together. It was a team effort and I couldn’t have done it without the help and inspiration of everyone else. I’m just a part of it and so glad management was supportive and encouraging!” - Craig Zeman, Midwest Alarm Services