ABERDEEN, S.D.(Aberdeen American News)- In January 2020, 3M Aberdeen received a call to ramp up its production of N95 respirators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Twenty months later, the plant has produced its 1 billionth mask, a feat that would typically take as long as four years, according to a news release.
In the past year and a half-plus, employees at 3M worked 24/7 to produce respirators, and some lines are still operating on that schedule.
The Aberdeen plant has added hundreds of workers from 27 states, and there were more than 1,000 employees at the height of production, per the release. As part of its recruitment process, 3M used direct mailers, billboards and radio advertisements to entice perspective employees.
The plant announced in May 2020, that it would be adding 120,000 square feet. That work has been done, and the Aberdeen facility now consists of 560,000 square feet.
“I’m just really, really proud of our team here and how they’ve been able to react and step up to the plate,” Andy Rehder, plant director, said in the release. “I’m grateful for the sacrifices people made working 24/7 to help get frontline workers the (personal protection equipment) they use while helping to care for others.”