A Scotsman in Greenville called some people he knew and caused about 1.5 million face masks from China to land on a tarmac at GSP.
It wasn't anywhere near that simple, Neil Ferrier said Sunday afternoon as politicians, reporters and representatives of Prisma Health and Boeing watched a Dreamlifter land with the cargo at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport's Cerulean Aviation facilities.
"The full story of it would probably read like a movie script," said Ferrier, owner of Discommon, an industrial design company. "It has been an astonishing series of events. I shouldn't have been surprised. South Carolina is an incredible place for us and it was basically one phone call before we had 100% dedication to see this though from the partners involved."
Like health care systems everywhere, Prisma Health is constantly looking for supplies of personal protective equipment in its battle against COVID-19.
Discommon designs and sells high-end luxury products that usually have nothing to do with medical supplies. However, Ferrier was aware of the PPE shortage and his connections in China said they could make medical grade masks. He contacted U.S. Rep. William Timmons who reached out to Prisma Health, and soon the state's largest health system had another source for PPE.
International delivery of PPE has been problematic since the COVID-19 pandemic began causing heavy use of medical supplies around the world.
Ferrier made a call for that, too. Through his connections from college, the Clemson University alumnus reached out to Boeing and soon had a way to move the masks from China to Greenville.
"I was standing off to the side on my own, a little in awe of it all," Ferrier said shortly after the Dreamlifter touched down. "I own an industrial design firm and we say that great design is solving a problem beautifully. And I think what is so incredible here is that 50-plus people and a whole number of companies have come together to solve a problem beautifully."
The shipment bypassed extensive delays and eliminated shipping costs, according to a news release...