DeanHouston switches from signage to mask production in a snap

DeanHouston switches from signage to mask production in a snap

DeanHouston was able to repurpose their unique equipment to produce 60,000 face masks a day to help slow the spread of the virus.

  • Name: Dale Dean
  • Title: Founder/CEO
  • Company: DeanHouston
  • Region: Cincinnati, OH
  • Industry: Manufacturing
  • Vistage Chair: Al Stuempel

When trade shows were canceled due to the coronavirus, it was a huge hit for DeanHouston, a Cincinnati-based marketing communications firm that has a trade show division and makes large printable signage.

"Business just stopped. And so we asked our people to be bold and to be creative. We asked everyone to start thinking about what we can do to stay in business," says Dale Dean, one of the company co-founders. "And one of the guys on the tradeshow teams—Tyler Houston - said hey, we have sewing machines, we have materials, we can make masks. "

By April, the company was able to repurpose their unique equipment and 50,000 square-foot facility to make face shields and masks to help slow the spread of the virus. Their current output capacity is 60,000 masks per day, while the team continues to explore ways to manufacture (sew or weld) masks in high volumes at lower costs to match their printing capacity.

The high-quality masks are 100% polyester (outer cover) and 100% cotton, inner lining. Deans says they have the ability to customize the masks with any design -- "so, personalized, branded washable and reusable masks are the unique aspect of our offering."

For every 10 masks sold, DeanHouston donates a mask to the charity of their clients' choice. If they don't have a preference, the donated masks go to the Epilepsy Alliance of Ohio and the World Affairs Council, "which does a lot for education and children," explains Dean.

"I am very proud of how my team mobilized quickly to get in the COVID-19 fight and to establish a commercial business in the process. Keeping pace is a daily challenge but it has accelerated our efforts to find better and more efficient methodologies, processes and systems to stay up with the exploding demand."

The pandemic has hit especially close to home for Dean, as his two daughters are nurses, including one who is a COVID-19 ICU nurse.

"For the time being helping people to stay safe and slow this spread is what our company mission is all about right now."

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