B. Draddy Producing Masks to Stop the Spread of COVID-19
By Kyle Kelley, PGA.com
From creating great golf gear to utilizing his resources for a great cause, Billy Draddy, Founder and Creative Director of B. Draddy, is setting an example we can all look to follow. We caught up with Draddy yesterday to hear more about his effort to produce masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and his story left us truly inspired.
“If all of a sudden a little shadow of light appears in your head, which is what happened to me, we can all help. You just try to do the next right thing, and this just felt the right next thing.”
This little shadow of light sparked when Draddy received a message from a customer service representative on Thursday, March 19, that a customer had reached out and suggested the company “consider making masks.”
Just a week later, B. Draddy is in production of masks for first responders in Wisconsin as they work to flatten the curve of COVID-19.
“I kind of thought about what they were saying and did a little bit of investigating,” Draddy said in a conversation with PGA.com. “We have heat-sealing machines in Wisconsin and with our Zero Restriction Brand, the idea of sealing stuff off is very familiar to us.”
The combination of the ‘ZR Technology’ and Draddy cotton-knit fabrics provided the perfect solution.
Draddy made the first prototype in his home over the weekend and after recommendations from a military connection, a second prototype was made days later before being sent off to the warehouse for mass production.
The company contacted the local Office of Emergency Management in Iowa County to let them know they were in the process of creating the masks and would be seeking approval for use by first responders.
“Yesterday [March 26] we found out that we were approved for firemen, policemen and emergency workers,” Draddy said. “We want to help as much as we can and try to maximize our capacity. Obviously, the medical professionals are very important, so we hope to get approved for them soon as well.”
Draddy expects the first 1,000 units will be completed by the end of the weekend and will be distributed to local fire and police departments in Wisconsin.
And a new prototype that models a N-95 mask is already in the works.
“I’m working on another protype right now,” Draddy said. “We are going to try to ratchet it up all the way to the most protective mask we can make and see where we can be helpful.”
A simple suggestion sparked an idea, and Draddy is hopeful that by playing a small role, his team will make a big impact.