The Story of Indiana Face Mask
"We’re incredibly grateful for the Geyer family’s commitment to supporting our state and their fellow Hoosiers during these unprecedented times. They stepped up and jumped through all the hoops and applied federally to be licensed to make N95 masks. Out of thousands of submissions, they were one of five in the nation that was approved."—
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb
Indiana Face Mask, at 3300 W. Clark St. near the Jasper County Airport and Jasper County Fairgrounds in Rensselaer, is a company born from necessity and sudden demand.
The 33,000-square-foot building IFM operates out of had initially been purchased to headquarter a new swimming pool filtration manufacturing company. Due to COVID-19, however, the filtration medium that was to be used for pool filters was in incredible demand to make surgical-grade masks.
That particular filtration medium is made by a different Geyer family business, American Melt Blown & Filtration, one of only four companies in the U.S. capable of manufacturing the inside filtration layers. It uses the “melt blowing” technique required to gain FDA approval. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration definition, “melt blowing” is a fabrication method that combines a polymer with very small fibers to form a nonwoven sheet product used for filtration.
Clayton Geyer, a graduate of Indiana University, runs IFM and credits his parents, Fred and Stephanie Geyer, with creating the company name and logo.
Clayton is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company, which started in March of 2020. Largely, IFM had spent much of 2020 fulfilling a contract purchase order for the state of Indiana. The state ordered 2 million surgical-quality pleated masks and 1 million N95 masks.
N95 masks are tight-fitting face masks primarily used in health care and industrial settings to protect workers against the spread of respiratory diseases such as the COVID-19 virus. “At one point, we had the ambassador of South Korea at our production facility insisting we fulfill an order for much-needed masks for his country,” Clayton said.
You might be wondering why an ambassador of South Korea was visiting a small town in Indiana, which would seem surprising in a normal circumstance, but the process to get approved by the FDA or NIOSH in order to make N95 respirators is incredibly difficult and time consuming.
When asked about this arduous process, Governor Eric Holcomb said, “We’re incredibly grateful for the Geyer family’s commitment to supporting our state and their fellow Hoosiers during these unprecedented times. They stepped up and jumped through all the hoops and applied federally to be licensed to make N95 masks. Out of thousands of submissions, they were one of five in the nation that was approved. We’re pretty proud of that and wanted to say congratulations to the family, to all the employees, all the teammates, to Fred and Stephanie and Clayton Geyer for their perseverance and answering the call.”
said Fred Geyer, the President of AMBF, explaining why the Geyer family and everyone at IFM went above and beyond to get the necessary certifications to make NIOSH-approved N95 respirators.
“We’re happy to be able to bring tested, certified and proven PPE supplies to our frontline workers here in Indiana and across the nation. As a company, we’ve always been focused on delivering quality, American-made products, and we’re excited to uphold these same values as we work together with the state and city to launch this new venture in our community,”
At full capacity, the company expects to manufacture 17 million N95 respirators and Class 1/Class 3 surgical masks annually. Indiana Face Mask currently has 31 people producing and packaging masks. When the company announced the startup, it expected to hire 14 additional people to work alongside the Geyer family. But since then, the number has grown to 31, and Indiana Face Mask has plans to expand to further meet the healthcare demands of the American People!
When asked about the company’s response to the covid pandemic, Governor Eric Holcomb said, “They’re not only going to produce millions, which is very comforting in and of itself, but this is one of the stories where they’re hiring more people to come help. That’s a win-win-win.”