When a neighbor needs a helping hand, people come together to ensure they have resources they need.

Local industries are no different, and though they usually provide a check for an organization instead of direct assistance. It’s the current crisis that has two of the local industries working together to help increase the supply of a much-needed item.

To satisfy a growing need for hand sanitizer in Polk County, both GEO Specialty Chemicals in Cedartown and Meggitt Polymers and Composites in Rockmart teamed up to manufacture a limited run of a hand sanitizer and disinfectant, using an approved World Health Organization Formula.

GEO handled the production of the hand sanitizer, and Meggitt took on bottling duties as part of their efforts to give back to the community.

The GEO Cedartown lab, engineering and process techs quickly, safely and successfully identified raw materials and converted an idle process reactor to service for the batch of sanitizer. They ran two back-to-back batches and sent it onward to Meggitt, where their employees repackaged into household size 64 ounce bottles.

Their runs produced enough material for 2500 bottles, which is 8800 lbs. worth of disinfectant/hand sanitizer. What was produced is being distributed to Meggitt’s 1,200 person work force in addition to the 100 that will be distributed at GEO.

“We are so proud of the collaboration between these two industries and their willingness to answer the call to help provide necessary supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Development Authority’s April Lucas said in a statement. “We are also thankful for our State partners, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Georgia Tech for helping to secure resources to make this possible. We have great industries and even better people in Polk County!”

The balance of packaged material will be distributed by the Development Authority of Polk County to ensure that local hospitals and county offices to be used where there is the greatest need from a list generated by the Development Authority office.

“As a specialty chemical manufacturer our business is quick turn around and efficiency of products from moderate to complex chemistries for a wide variety of industries including; paper & pulp, oil field, construction material, agricultural applications and many more,” said Tyler Grimes of GEO Specialty Chemicals. “So we have quite a bit of experience turning products around quickly, although this was very fast, even for us. This was something everyone was on board with immediately.”

A Meggitt official added that they had already looked into ways they could help, and the partnership worked out perfectly.

“These are unprecedented times. This pandemic has made us all realize the importance of family, friends and community. Our engineers were already looking at ways of producing hand sanitizer to protect our employees,” said Meggitt Vice President Michael Viscosi. “When the Polk County Development Authority approached us to partner with GEO Specialty Chemicals, it seemed like an ideal opportunity to support not only our colleagues but the local community and particularly first responders, who are working round the clock to keep us well.”

He added that “As a result, we have jointly produced, packaged, and distributed 1,200 gallons of WHO Formula #2 Hand Sanitizer. It was a pleasure working with GEO Specialty Chemicals and goes to show how local businesses can pull together and give back to the important communities that support us.”

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