Lending a hand in Houston
With more than 400 employees in the Houston area, Leidos supports NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) with programs ranging from complex logistics to scientific research to enterprise IT. In recent days, however, the Leidos team has found new ways of helping NASA and the Houston community.
Andy Hahn, a software developer for the Cargo Mission Contract (CMC) at JSC, learned that the non-profit TXRX Labs was asking owners of 3D printers to begin creating and donating parts for personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare teams caring for COVID-19 patients.
Andy immediately turned to his at-home 3D printer to begin producing parts for medically compliant face shields and brought the idea to Leidos. Leidos owns a commercial-grade 3D printer, and the Houston teammates Kris Zapalac, Russell Guerra, and Kyle Mouch quickly agreed to help. The company’s Houston chapter of its Hispano-Latinx Leidos Asociación (HoLA) Employee Working Group also chipped in with necessary supplies. Using both Andy’s and Leidos’ 3D printers, the team anticipates making around 900 face shield components by the end of April. Leidos volunteers are collecting the parts for donation to the Memorial Hermann Health System.
While the 3D printers work on face shields, other skills from the CMC team have also been tapped to help create PPE during the pandemic. Teri Lane, a subcontractor on CMC, has always loved sewing, so she volunteered to make face cloth coverings to donate to local healthcare workers. But her side hobby quickly escalated as Leidos and NASA teammates requested cloth face coverings to use at work.
Leidos has a full-time seamstress on staff to support the design and fabrication of the clothing that NASA astronauts wear. After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that individuals wear face coverings or cloth masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19, NASA asked if the Leidos team could produce 1,000 of these cloth face coverings for JSC employees.
Teri perfected the pattern using 100% cotton and a few innovative design techniques to improve the fit and use available materials. Elastic has been difficult to procure, so Teri found a way to use copper wire as a nose piece and spandex straps for a comfortable tight fit. The team has also been working to find more than 100 yards of material, which has not always been easy given restrictions on supply chains.
Bryon Glover, the sustaining engineering section manager for CMC, and Ernest Sanchez, CMC program manager, have been organizing the logistics to produce 1,000 cloth face coverings in less than two weeks. Now, Leidos has two employees cutting the fabric and three seamstresses sewing the face coverings. They are making the design with two layers of cotton using different colors so each cover has an easily identifiable inside and outside.
The team plans to deliver the cloth face coverings to NASA by April 24. They anticipate needing up to 2,000 total in order to provide them to the Leidos teams in the Houston area as well, so they’ll continue to leverage volunteers to create cloth face coverings and deliver them to teammates across programs for as long as they are needed.