JELCO: ‘We want to do our part to help in the current crisis by supplying high quality PPE’

Seamstresses work on personal protective equipment (PPE) at JELCO in Cullman. (Jasef Wisener)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman manufacturer JELCO, Inc. is now producing personal protective equipment products related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Philip Clemmons, president of JELCO, said the company began sewing hospital gowns and washable face masks for local requests and has also expanded production to a more specialized flame-resistant face mask for electric company utility workers and others.

JELCO has produced gowns for Cullman Regional and is fielding inquiries from local sources as well as operations across the country that are clamoring for gowns and masks. Everyone in the health care industry knows they are in short supply.

Clemmons stated that the migration to manufacturing this type of PPE was a natural move for JELCO since the company has been a leading manufacturer of fall protection safety equipment for years in both Canada and the United States.

The facility, located off of Old Hanceville Highway in the John H. Cooper Industrial Park, has recently hired new employees and is continuing to expand the workforce to keep up with demand.

Clemmons said Lisa Dickson from the Cullman Career Center has been instrumental in helping with JELCO’s staffing needs.

“There is a great collaboration among local companies and organizations to help with the current crisis,” he said.

Clemmons sees a great future in PPE production and the sewing industry in general. He hopes to work with Wallace State Community College on developing training programs for sewing machine operators.

“It appears that a lot of PPE production is going to be brought back to the United States and there will be some great job opportunities in this industry,” he said. “I am excited about the potential.”

JELCO has made significant investments in equipment over the past few weeks that not only help address current business needs, but also posture the company for future business and job growth. The company ordered more than $100,000 worth of sewing machines and other equipment in early April and has plans to invest in even more equipment.

“We want to do our part to help in the current crisis by supplying high quality PPE,” Clemmons said. “I am proud shipments of products made here in Cullman are going to local sources but also around the world. We have a great team here in place at JELCO.”