Press Release- Field Hospital Cots
PioneerIWS – Dalton, Ohio
PIONEER is an Amish family-owned business in Dalton, Ohio. Founded in 1978 by Wayne Wengerd, PIONEER’s core business, for over 40 years, has been the design and fabrication of agricultural equipment (Pioneer Equipment Inc.). Over the years, the company has evolved from manufacturing horse-drawn plows (which it still makes today) to carriage gears, (Pioneer Carriage) and more recently to industrial workflow solutions (PioneerIWS); which includes mobile workstations, custom steel fabrication and more. Today, the company has about 50 employees, including seven of Wayne’s sons and one daughter.
As COVID-19 appeared and spread through China, then Europe, and now the United States the family grew concerned about the potential impact the pandemic could have on their business and their employees. The threat quickly came too close to home when two of the Wengerd brothers were exposed to the virus at a trade show. While they did not contract the virus, they did have to quarantine for 14 days after exposure. During this time Eddie Wengerd, General Manager of PIONEER, read in the newspapers about the acute shortage of hospital beds and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
This prompted the question, “How can we help?” PPE was in high demand, but not something PIONEER, as primarily a steel fabricator, was equipped to produce. The increasing demand for hospital beds, specifically hospital field cots, seemed to be a place they could contribute. PIONEER moved quickly and began collaborating with a number of other manufacturers in northeastern Ohio.
In just two weeks PIONEER went from conversation, to concept, to delivering the first PioneerIWS Field Hospital Cots to Long Island, New York on April 3rd. Another 1,000 shipped to the Greater Columbus Convention Center, in Columbus Ohio on April 8th.
PIONEER retooled their manufacturing facility to mass produce hospital cots with another 2,000 plus in production and requests for product from six different states. “Our goal is to be able to produce 1,000 cots a day if needed.” said Project Manager, John Wengerd, who led the PIONEER team in setting up the new, incredibly lean assembly line that is able to produce over 100 field hospital costs per hour – one completed cot every 30 seconds. “This was made possible by utilizing our new Industrial Workflow Solutions (PioneerIWS); Flexturs Workstations and Rolling Shelf.” Visit www.pioneeriws.com for more information.
“We approached other local businesses for assistance with the project – specifically those with expertise in other areas, like fabrics,” said Eddie Wengerd, General Manager of PIONEER. “The response was overwhelming with leaders of other businesses going above and beyond with urgency. Those connections, and our talented team of committed employees, formed a spirited collaboration to make it happen – and happen very quickly.”
Some brought ideas, others brought connections, and all remain a vital cog in the production process. Brent Nussbaum, CEO of Miller Weldmaster played a huge part in the project from day one, producing prototypes and connecting PIONEER with Seaman Corporation, and Brian Graber owner of Arise Tents. David Swartzentruber owner of Zentru Home Furnishing, Jason Weaver president of Weaver Leather, and James Miller of Snyder Manufacturing are also key contributors. Josh Troyer, co-owner of VIZTECH, a local marketing firm, was instrumental in getting the word out to customers.
A key ingredient to the distribution of Field Hospital Cots was Lyon Group from Chicago, IL. The Wengerd brothers connected with Lyon at the MODEX tradeshow in Atlanta in early March during the early stages of the pandemic. “Steven Turner & Bill Heafey, representatives from Lyon, have already distributed 1,000s of cots and have been a pleasure to work with,” said Steven Wengerd, Sales Manager of PIONEER. “We are shipping medical cots throughout the country, including to the following states: OH, NY, MD, CO, CA, NC, UT, and AR.”
Companies in PIONEER’s own supply chain have also assisted including Scott Palmer with Ryerson, Jack Nissan with Alro Steel, Ted Zuercher with Metal Dynamics, Mt. Eaton Pallet, and PIONEER’s coating supplier Hentzen Coatings. In addition, with all the logistics involved, John Masters Trucking, CRW Trucking, and Simms Global have all made contributions.
“We believe in standing together in times of adversity. In difficult times we have an opportunity to pull together and seek ways to make a difference,” said Daniel Wengerd, CEO of PIONEER. “It is simply our duty to help our fellowman in time of need – and be a light to the world in these latter times. Our business belongs to the Lord. We are called to serve others and be faithful stewards of His resources in this journey of life.”
For more information about this project, or PIONEER, call PioneerIWS at 330.516.1502, or visit www.pioneeriws.com You can also learn about all the contributing companies through their respective websites.
Stay safe and trust in the Lord in this time of adversity. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
Prepared by Leon Wengerd