Hamilton-based fabricator raising money to produce face shields for front line workers

The COVID-19 virus is still rampant, but luckily there exists strong protection for those working on the front-lines.

To protect those workers from debris, fluids, and unnecessary contact with their face, many are using face shields. Each day as the number of people infected increases, so does the demand for these invaluable pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for those fighting against the virus.

It has been heartwarming to see how the Hamilton community has banded together to lend a hand where possible. One such company is Hamilton-based fabricator North Design Build.

North Design Build is a fabricator of trade show booths, branded events, signage and retail displays. Normally, the team at North would be gearing up for the busy spring and summer seasons full of events and festivals. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all events have been cancelled or postponed leaving North’s director Kenneth Tschernow’s newly renovated 7,000 square foot production facility in West Hamilton and his team of workers on idle.

When the Government of Canada reached out for help with the shortage of PPE, North answered the call right away. Tschernow was contacted by an Ottawa number, a government official encouraging him to “keep doing what you’re doing” and that they would be in touch about next steps.

The call resulted in North repurposing its Multicam CNC router table and production team to mass produce polycarbonate face shields for front-line workers at the medical standards required.

However, the cost of materials for this project is adding up quickly.

Tschernow reports, “We will produce however many are needed, and more. Our biggest challenge is keeping up with the cost. We are using high-end materials, of which are in short supply. Loosing steam due to a lack of funding is an ever-increasing worry.”

To help mitigate this barrier to production, Schernow has setup a GoFundMe page where donors are able to pledge funds for the production and distribution of protective face shields.

What’s even more grassroots is that donors are also able to request where they would like the face shields to be sent. “We know there is a huge need for more PPE donations. This is a great way for anyone to help”.

North Design Build is currently producing face shields destined for hospitals, clinics and private nursing services within Northern Ontario and Toronto areas. Beyond Ontario, Tschernow is also helping divert much needed raw materials to a similar initiative in Los Angeles, California and is helping other companies by providing information and instructions of how to manufacture face shields.

North is planning on teaming up with Hamilton-based companies and neighbours Mables Labels and The Form Firm in the hopes of doubling their output each day.

Tschernow ascertains, “Our heroic front-line workers need proper protection and we’re committed to making sure this shortage never happens again.”

Within 24 hours, North Design Build has already reached 40% of their initial fundraising goal. “We’re thrilled with the amount of support we’ve received in such a short time”. North has the resources in place to manufacture 1,000 shields at the moment but will need much more capital to keep production running to meet demand. Consider helping this great initiative by contributing here.


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