Tom Treinen has transformed his HPLED Products Lighting company into a seller of personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Noblesville resident’s company sells commercial, industrial and resident LED products into the marketplace.
“In January, there were some lighting orders, and those were going to be delayed because of the outbreak of this disease that is spreading in that part of China,” Treinen said.
Treinen wasn’t in a hurry for the product, so he just told them to send when they could. He soon learned that workers wouldn’t be allowed back in their factories after the Chinese New Year because of COVID-19.
“Then we got asked by those vendors if we needed personal protective equipment,” he said. “At the time, I said no, because it hadn’t gotten to the states yet. Three or four weeks later, I’m calling them back to see where we can purchase the product because then there was this outcry for PPE products.”
At the time, the state of Indiana put out a call to seek companies that can turn its manufacturing into making PPE.
“We reached out to the state, and that’s what got the ball rolling for us,” he said. “We started to investigate that we could sell PPE products because we are in this desperate need into the states. We turned our focus toward that in late February or early March.”
At first, Treinen said the emphasis was on getting the equipment to first responders and health care workers. Soon, the emphasis shifted to essential workers.
“We thought this would be a pretty short time, maybe last four or six weeks,” Treinen said. “I was basing that on my manufacturing partners in Asia who were telling me that they were starting to reopen after six to eight weeks.”
But the COVID-19 resurgence and mask requirements have continued to increase the need for PPE. Treinen, whose suppliers are in the U.S. and Asia, said there are not enough manufacturers in the U.S. to keep open. An average hospital was going through 25,000 N95 masks per day, he said.
“They were needing 10 times the masks that they were used to getting,” Treinen said. “There was going to be a shortage because of that. There weren’t enough manufacturers to supply that kind of need.”
Treinen’s company has donated PPE products to Riley Hospital for Children and other health care organizations. Treinen’s son, Michael, died at age 19 in 2008 following a battle with leukemia. The Michael Treinen Foundation, operated by Treinen and wife, Kelly, holds an annual Turkey Trot, a 5K run and family walk, on Thanksgiving morning.
“We help leukemia and cancer organizations that supported us,” he said.
The different type of masks has HPLED Products has available are 3-ply medical masks, regular face masks, N95 and KN95 masks and face shields.
“While there is a need, we are going to continue to help the supply chain,” Treinen said.
Demand for lighting products has been down because construction projects have been put on hold with the current economic situation, Treinen said.
For more, visit hpledlighting.com.