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Waverly's GMT Corp. changes gears to create critical pandemic essentials

Waverly's GMT Corp. changes gears to create critical pandemic essentials

From the Coronavirus update Northeast Iowa series

WAVERLY – A local manufacturing operation stands ready to provide critical needs to industries that may be lacking supplies during the widespread coronavirus pandemic.

With customers like Lockheed Martin and John Deere, businesses deemed critical to the defense and agriculture industries, Waverly’s GMT Corp. has been considered an “essential” business and will remain open as Gov. Kim Reynolds extended her order to close all non-essential businesses through April 7.

With large-scale custom fabrication capabilities, GMT is currently able to accept additional volume in its three large Waverly facilities. The company has nearly 180 employers, and nearly half of them are cross-trained to operate different machinery. GMT’s operation focuses on engineering, iron machining, steel fabrication and assembly with presses and shears up to 600 tons, 30-ton crane capacity and sophisticated welding systems.

CEO Steve Snedegar said GMT is committed to serving its community as well as other industries that have not been deemed essential and were forced to temporarily close.

“We’re bracing for that. We want to help where we can. I think it’s responsible to prepare for that scenario,” he said.

For businesses needing any custom equipment or those that are changing their operations to make critical supplies, Snedegar said GMT is prepared to launch alternate manufacturing methods during this difficult time.

“We stand ready to help them convert their assembly in manufacturing from whatever they’re making to whatever they want to make,” Snedegar said.

Some ethanol plants are changing course and making hand sanitizer, for example, said Jamie Kramer, human resources manager at GMT.

Also serving other industries, including construction and wind energy, GMT formed an Infectious Disease Incident Management Team last week. The executive, senior and front-line leaders from the company’s three plants are developing employee health and safety, supply chain and plant operational action plans and policies.

The company is incorporating all federal, state and local recommendations surrounding COVID-19 into the IDIMT Action Plans and corporate policies. Personal hygiene, plant cleanliness and social distancing protocols have been established to minimize the risk of infectious transmission.

But Snedegar said he is also committed to his community and helping local businesses stay afloat.

“With everything going on, money is flowing out of our communities, people are locked in and not traveling as much … it’s concerning to me that our local businesses are suffering,” he said. “You don’t want to see shops close, they’ll be there for us when all this passes, and it will pass.”

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