Hero of the Week: Caroline Shaw, and Her Colleagues at GE Renewable Energy

Photo collage: Courtney Ratner, GE Renewable Energy

For Caroline Shaw, a sourcing manager at a GE wind turbine plant in Florida, the “light bulb went on” after she had to hand out face masks (known as N95s) to a team of coworkers who were tasked with screening their fellow employees for COVID-19. With shortages of masks everywhere it is important to use each one for as long as safely possible.  Shaw realized that she could use the plant’s industrial 3D printer to make a mask cover that will extend its life after seeing a story about a couple in Virginia doing the same thing.  The mask extender idea went from concept to prototype in a day and then it was in field-tests at a local hospital by Wednesday.

Now the company will produce them at scale — GE Renewable Energy is retooling assembly lines in several of its factories in the U.S. to make them. These covers will extend the supply of masks for industrial health so they don’t have to take any away from the medical community.  GE’s corporate motto is “Imagination at Work” and this week it proved to be a lifesaver too.  This is what makes American truly exceptional.  Thanks to Shaw, her colleagues, and many others who are doing similarly ingenious things, we will get through this.  And then she can go back to making wind turbines because we will need them too.

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