April 2020

Providing critical support in the USA

Don Macleod (PhD Electrical Engineering 1982), President and CEO of Applied Motion Products, has adapted working practices in his company to assist critical work in the USA.

Just as the impact of COVID-19 has been felt worldwide, the response of the Leeds community can be seen globally, too. Applied Motion Products, based in Watsonville, California, produce motion control products for a wide range of clients. When COVID-19 cases rose rapidly at the beginning of March, state and local government authorities issued a “shelter in place” order, meaning residents had to stay in their homes and Applied Motion Products was forced to close.

But for Don, it soon became clear that they needed to do something to help. “We supply products to the ‘critical infrastructure sector’ of the economy – so that includes medical products, healthcare, food supply chain, energy, communications and others – which makes us an ‘essential, critical infrastructure business’, too. We soon received letters from many of our customers, requesting we remain able to supply them with product.”

"This crisis will eventually go away, life will return to normal but the support of our employees, and their contribution will always be remembered."

Don Macleod
President and CEO, Applied Motion Products

Don and his team set about making plans to deliver to those who needed them. The team had to adapt their working practices in order to function as close to normal as possible. “We implemented strict training and protocol for all employees. This meant wearing masks, gloves, temperature checks, disinfection procedures, closed break rooms, no meetings, no visitors, no travel, increased social distance and implementation of maximum work from home practice.

“Our priority is employee safety. Conditions are not ideal and there are many restrictions, but no one has complained. Any employees that are at work now have volunteered to come in.”

And as Don points out, the fact they do so makes a real difference. “Some of our customers are directly involved in COVID-19 activities such as testing for the virus and blood analyzers, and we are also working with customers that make ventilators. Our team have really stepped up to enable this work to happen.

"This crisis will eventually go away, life will return to normal but the support of our employees, and their contribution will always be remembered.”