HARRISBURG, Pa. – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin highlighted the efforts of Whirley-DrinkWorks!, a second-generation, family-owned business specializing in design and manufacturing of plastic products that pivoted its production to make face masks in response to the state’s critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE) through DCED’s Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal (MCAP), which mobilized manufacturers producing COVID-19-related products and supplies or could pivot to producing COVID-19-related supplies.
“Longstanding Pennsylvania business Whirley-DrinkWorks! has been invested in the wellbeing of its community for decades, so it’s no surprise they stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic with solutions for our commonwealth,” said Sec. Davin. “Not only have they developed masks, but they continue to create innovative technologies that will protect their consumers throughout the country as we continue to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.”
Whirley-DrinkWorks! is listed on DCED’s Business-2-Business Interchange Directory (B2B). As of the end of July 2020, the MCAP received 3,285 submissions for face mask production.
The company began producing reusable and disposable masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the safety in touchless options, in May Whirley-DrinkWorks!’s technology team also developed a concept for touchless fountain valves. The valves are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified and Whirley-DrinkWorks! will begin shipping orders to colleges, universities, and schools within the month. Additionally, the company is developing a UV sanitization device that will sanitize drinkware and destroy all harmful pathogens in less than 20 seconds. This concept planning began at the end of March when Whirley-DrinkWorks! learned that people were feeling unsafe refilling cups or using refill stations and is currently in its testing phase for estimated shipping to begin in October.
“From the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Whirley-DrinkWorks! recognized the need for properly sourced and manufactured PPE products. As we implemented our COVID-19 practices and procedures, it was apparent that PPE would be an integral part of creating a safe work environment. After selecting our manufacturing partners, we were able to successfully supply high quality PPE to other Western Pennsylvania businesses, in addition to customers outside of the region looking to reopen their operations,” said Whirley-DrinkWorks! President Mark Charbonneau. “Like so many businesses, we have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we continue to develop innovative, new products and equipment. We truly appreciate the support received on this endeavor, and our expectation is the B2B Portal will provide us with a platform to successfully market our products and manufacturing services.”
Whirley-DrinkWorks! was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Warren, Pennsylvania. The company is renowned for being a pioneer in initiating the mass marketing of plastic travel mugs to convenience stores that promoted “coffee club” memberships.
The B2B Interchange was created by DCED to directly connect organizations and businesses searching for COVID-19-related products and supplies and was the third web application developed by the Wolf Administration to serve the critical supply needs for Pennsylvania.
Company and product information provided in the directory is gathered in good faith as a means of connecting Pennsylvania businesses and organizations that are seeking various PPE and other related items to combat the COVID-19 crisis. The information made available is from those entities who voluntarily contacted the commonwealth through the Manufacturing Call to Action Portal or the Pennsylvania Critical Medical Supplies Procurement Portal.
Currently included in the directory are manufacturers of N95 masks, KN95 masks, fabric and other masks, surgical masks, thermometers, hand sanitizer, face shields, medical gowns, and cleaning and disinfectant products. Additional supplies and materials can be added as DCED identifies potential manufacturers. Businesses that would like to be added to the directory or those with questions should contact RA-DCEDPAMCTAP@pa.gov.