"We are now helping to protect people on the frontlines — in the trenches — of this crisis. ER doctors, anesthesiologists, healthcare workers. I feel so fortunate to be able to serve like this."
- Name: Michael Lieber
- Title: President
- Company: Laminet Cover Company
- Region: Chicago, Illinois
- Industry: Retail Trade
- Vistage Chair: Rob Knauer
Michael Lieber's business makes plastic covers of all kinds and sizes to protect furniture, dinnerware and various home essentials. Indeed, the company's niche is that it can "heat seal" plastic.
As the coronavirus spread, Lieber's business slowed down to a halt. Then, he got a call from his son, who currently attends business school.
"He says, 'Dad, do you know how to make a plastic face shield?'" says Lieber. "I say, 'Yes, I can do that.' He connects me with his contact at the University of Chicago, who asks if I can make a sample. We spoke on Sunday morning. By Sunday night, I was able to develop the product and get him the prototype."
Lieber says they needed something specific to finish the design and that he had to find a toolmaker who could create it.
"I say to the toolmaker, 'This is the most rewarding tool you will ever make in your life," Lieber says. "It's like we're making armor for warriors."
"A few days later I was put in touch with a variety of people affiliated with hospitals and doctors' groups, and we decided to add a foam headpiece to the face shield for extra protection. Just a few days later, we delivered the fully finished product to the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County. I can't tell you how rewarding that felt. "
Lieber says he now has "a good portion of my team" working on the masks and is taking requests from all over the country.
At press time, the company had completed 3,000 face shields with orders for 20,000 more. "We've completely shifted the business," he says. "We are now helping to protect people on the frontlines — in the trenches — of this crisis. ER doctors, anesthesiologists, healthcare workers. I feel so fortunate to be able to serve like this."