CEMEX USA recently announced a grant award by its philanthropic arm, The CEMEX Foundation, to Houston-based nonprofit TX/RX Labs to fund efforts to develop and make critically-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, face shields and intubation boxes to aid medical professionals, first responders— including police, firefighters and other public servants — and community members in the fight against COVID-19.
“CEMEX has long-valued health and safety as its No. 1 priority for employees and communities, and CEMEX has a strong track record of working with our community partners to make a difference,” says CEMEX USA President Jaime Muguiro. “We are all in this fight together against COVID-19, and through this innovative initiative, we are proud to help fill a critical need and help protect the brave men and women who protect us.”
TX/RX, a manufacturing makerspace and anchor of the East End Maker Hub, pivoted all production capabilities in mid-March to making PPE. Memorial Hermann’s Chief Physician Executive Dr. Jamie McCarthy was having difficulty securing protective equipment for the hospital and reached out to TX/RX Founder Roland von Kurnatowski for help.
TX/RX immediately began prototyping and delivered samples just a day later to the hospital for testing. To date, the nonprofit has manufactured and distributed more than 20,000 face masks, close to 29,000 face shields, 40 intubation boxes, 26 qualitative fit testing hoods and more than 1,200 nasopharyngeal test swabs across the Greater Houston area.
The $100,000 CEMEX Foundation grant supports TX/RX’s continued innovation and ongoing development of PPE to help up to 20,000 people.
“At CEMEX, we always strive to be a good neighbor and be involved in the communities where we live and operate,” says CEMEX USA Regional President—Texas Region Scott Ducoff. “TX/RX Labs adapted quickly to manufacture the PPE needed early in the COVID-19 outbreak and freely shared their designs so others across the country can join in and scale the initiative. They continue to innovate and develop other types of PPE as needs evolve. CEMEX USA and the CEMEX Foundation are proud to work together with TX/RX through this ongoing effort to protect healthcare providers and first responders on the front lines.”
“Our flexibility and agility are key to meeting immediate needs as well as solving long-term problems. With the CEMEX Foundation’s donation, we expect to be able to exponentially increase production to meet the demand we are continuously receiving. We appreciate their support in furthering our PPE initiative and funding grassroots innovation,” von Kurnatowski says.