From its New Jersey headquarters, which under normal circumstances would be occupied with hundreds of employees, the head of the U.S. arm of arguably the largest nutritional vitamin manufacturer in the world sits alone, but with others in mind.
After the onset of COVID-19 brought about the cancellation of a slew of trade shows, DSM North America was left with thousands of its WellStix product on hand with expiration dates ticking, presenting an opportunity for the Parsippany-based company that resulted in the donation of 10,000 pieces of the product to police departments in Parsippany and Cranford.
“I reached out to them,” DSM North America President and General Counsel Hugh Welsh told NJBIZ. “Let me give you these things” if you can use them, he said.
Originally produced for children as an easy and appealing way to get nutrition, DSM’s immunity product WellStix are a mix of vitamins A, C, E and zinc in powdered form. The mixture is produced at a facility in Schenectady, N.Y., but a lot of the vitamins that comprise it are produced at the company’s Garden State plant in Belvidere.
After distributing the excess product produced for now-defunct exhibitions to its own employees at essential plant sites across the country – a multinational company, DSM North America has 38 sites in North America – the company produced even more to donate.
According to Welsh: “I have more and I’m looking for folks that might need to improve their immunity,” particularly first responders.
And, he’s willing to make the delivery, like he did with donations to the police departments that serve DSM’s home-base of Parsippany, and his own hometown in Cranford.
While some businesses have faced closures in the wake of COVID-19, DSM is deemed an essential operation and all of its North American sites are up and running, but employees that can work from home – which accounts for the empty Parsippany office – are.
And even though he was the only person at the company’s headquarters on Thursday, according to Welsh that morning DSM decided it would produce an immunity-boosting multivitamin to distribute to its employees worldwide.
But, it’s not just DSM that continues to come together in the face of the pandemic.
At its Belvidere plant, which boasts almost 300 employees, Welsh says the company also makes food ingredients – a product that is pretty-obviously essential. But, there are plenty of less obviously essential players across the New Jersey manufacturing community that give DSM’s products its legs.
Those making packaging or providing transportation, “we can’t do what we do without them,” Welsh said commending the spirit among the state’s manufacturers to make sure that what needs to get out does just that.
“I’ve been very humbled and inspired by the New Jersey manufacturing community that’s come together,” he said. “You really find out who’s who in a crisis and it’s been a pleasant surprise to see who’s pulling together in the New Jersey community.”