How One Fabrication-based Brooklyn Company Combats Covid-19 One Face Shield at a Time

Behind the scenes with Founder, Michael Bednark amidst the middle of quarantine and business restructuring.


Written by: Production Department

On April 10th, 2020 - Production Department went behind the scenes to interview Michael Bednark of Bednark, a fabrication, technology, scenic design, and logistics company based out of Brooklyn, NY.


“The (industry's) change is rapid, it's like an explosion.”


What is the history of Bednark prior to the COVID-19 outbreak?


Incorporated in 2007, the company started with design and photoshoots before they entered into the event world in 2011, and then into experiential around 2011-2012. Bednark has continued to grow and change with the industry, "the change is rapid, it's like an explosion" Bednark said. They have always made sure that their clients and workload wasn't all in in one specialty or industry. During the past 6 years, Bednark has been branching out into more retail and custom-mill and commercial work. The company takes pride in diversifying their work so that all their eggs are not in one basket, which naturally allows people to grow, like Project Managers and Carpenters.


"Our first thought was 'what can we do to fight the virus?'"


How did you feel right when all of the COVID outbreak news first happening?


"Everyone was rushing to get stuff done. We were in shrink mode, analyzing laws and figuring out strategy. We prioritized consolidation, and kept thinking we have to ride the storm, ride this out. Leadership team met 3 times a day, and every day our plan would change. New York City was on complete lockdown the week of March 15th and our first thought was 'what can we do to fight the virus?' Then started reaching out to social media, and anyone in the government that we knew."


How did you pivot your business?


Bednark realized that 3D printing was not viable in the quantities that was needed and the process was too slow. They were told face shields would be needed and they knew that they could produce the shields. They proceeded to make a bunch of prototypes, and had them approved by Dept. of Health in NYC. "Experiential is deadline driven, which helped us move quickly." The city gave an order that allowed them to buy material and get going. They hired 100 people and partnered with a location; Dugal Greenhouse who have 50 staff members dedicated to the project. They have a waitlist for employment of more than 800 people. So far, they have made 300,000 shields, at about 30,000 shields a day. "Now the market is saturated, so now we are looking at how to shrink down again and prep for the next 4 weeks. We have a couple healthcare clients and are working with them to build out new pharmacies, or mobile care vehicles now that everyone is doing online doc visits."


How do you plan to proceed with your business from here on?


Bednark will continue to change with the industry. They think that there will be more government type work. "We let public works go to wayside, are going to figure out how to get more government contracts, and give back to our communities."



"Our industry makes shit happen and gets shit done, and it has showed."

What are your general thoughts about the Pandemic's outcome?


Bednark's biggest hope is that people come back nicer, their better selves, and with new perspectives. "10 years have been so focused on technical environments that we lost human experiences. I am hoping everyone can get back to that and understand what is really important in life. Overall, we are thankful to be a part of it. Our industry makes shit happen and gets shit done and it has showed. If it happens again - once you do it once, you can do it again."


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Sources:

Interview with Michael Bednark

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