This is the fifth in a series of articles about how the pandemic has affected businesses and organizations in the Redwood area. Returning this week, we hear from another manufacturing company – Altimate Medical and Active Aid. The Gazette is working with Anne Johnson, General Manager of Redwood Area Chamber & Tourism, to present this information.
“The Redwood Area is a great place to build a career and raise a family,” said Johnson. “A popular slogan over the past few years has been ‘Live, Work and Play in the Redwood Area’ because the community has many amenities that attract people to an area, including good jobs.
“One industry that is very different in the Redwood Area is manufacturing. Our manufacturers in the Redwood Area offer our community members great jobs and enthusiastically support local issues and events. These companies take teamwork very seriously. Although COVID-19 affects all companies differently, our manufacturers have continued to customize and develop the products that people across the country depend on. “
Altimate Medical Holdings, Inc. (AMHI) designs and manufactures differentiated medical devices that optimize patient outcomes and maximize the health and wellbeing of end users. Since its inception in 1987, Morton-based Altimate Medical and its EasyStand brand has led the standing industry with unmatched technology.
Paul F. Hickey, President / CEO, said his role as President and CEO began in February 2020, just before COVID-19 in the US and for Altimate Medical Holdings – Altimate Medical (Morton), ActiveAid (Redwood Falls) into one Problem became. and medical positioning (Kansas City, Kansas).
“While this wasn’t seen by everyone as an ideal time for me to join the company,” said Hickey, “managing the impact of COVID-19 soon after my arrival enabled me to get into a new business and work closely with the senior Team to work together. ” and other employees to address an unknown business and health risk. “
According to Hickey, COVID-19 had a dramatic impact on their business in the first and second quarters of 2020.
Hickey stated that Altimate and ActiveAid make long-lasting medical devices for people with disabilities (e.g., cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury) and are classified as critical manufacturers by the state government.
“Our main referral sources for sales are physical therapists and occupational therapists who were inaccessible as of April 2020 due to the risk of COVID-19 spread,” Hickey said. “When these clinicians and their patients became familiar with managing COVID-19 from April through June, they resumed the practice and our sales demand began to recover. All in all, our business was able to recover towards the end of 2020 and sales remained essentially unchanged compared to sales in 2019. “
Hickey is proud of the company’s team and how they responded to the challenge.
“First and foremost, despite all the uncertainties of the 2020 pandemic, we have teamed up to protect each other from COVID-19 and have worked hard to bring our products to people with disabilities,” he said. “From an employee perspective, we worked quickly in 2020 to ensure our workforce is safe by following CDC guidelines as much as possible.”
Hickey said they won the governor’s security award in 2020 and their security committee worked hard to create a pandemic preparedness plan that would help manage each scenario year-round.
“As an example, we’ve made changes to create as much distance as possible between employees while they work, to create barriers to the separation of many work areas, and to allow people who could work from home to do so “said Hickey. “Granted, some of the precautions I took early on to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were now clear to me that they were going overboard and unnecessary, but the only thing I had in mind was the safety of the entire workforce. In retrospect, I think that almost all of the employees feel blessed to have continued to work and safely at work – others weren’t so lucky. “
As a result of COVID-19, Altimate and ActiveAid tested their adaptability as an organization and their ability to be creative.
“There are several examples where we have solved problems and worked remotely during video conference meetings using Zoom or Teams,” said Hickey. “I have personally participated in video calls with multiple countries around the world and in calls with over 100 participants. In all of my years, in-person meetings in the office have been the most effective meetings. Now we’ve proven that we can use technology to work together effectively to improve how we communicate with each other and with suppliers. “
When asked about future plans, Hickey said, “Our outlook for 2021 is fantastic, with high demand for our products and a promising new product pipeline. We therefore plan to grow our business and continue to take care of the people who make Altimate and ActiveAid special.
“We have also just started our employee community giving program to encourage our employees to give back to the community we live in, financially or with their time and talent. I am delighted that we are making a significant impact in the Redwood region.
“Like most people, I look forward to celebrating with the team this fall as well, when vaccine adoption increases and we can gather together with no concerns about COVID-19. Whether it’s a company picnic, a trip to see the twins, or any other event, we will all appreciate these gatherings a little more with COVID-19 in our rearview mirror! “