CHESTER — U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) chose Whelen Engineering Company, Inc., in Chester as “Murphy’s Monday Manufacturer.”
Founded in 1952 by George W. Whelen III in his garage in Deep River, Whelen Engineering Company specializes in the manufacturing of warning lights, white illumination lighting, vehicle control systems, sirens, and programming software for first responders. Whelen does work for a variety of companies in the emergency warning industry, including law enforcement, fire and EMS departments, Department of Transportation agencies, tow companies, and government agencies around the world. As Connecticut began to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Whelen felt the need to step up and protect frontline workers. The company temporarily reorganized some of their resources to manufacture face masks and full-face shields in their Connecticut and New Hampshire facilities. Their engineers used open-source designs for both pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), which included building a 500-pound injection mold in one of their facilities. The company says it can produce approximately 2,000 shields and masks per day.
“When it became clear that so many of our frontline workers didn't have the PPE they needed to do their jobs safely, Whelen Engineering Company stepped up and got to work. Like so many Connecticut companies, they've transformed their manufacturing centers and started producing critical medical supplies. And now, they can churn out over 2,000 face shields and masks a day. I'm proud to highlight the team at Whelen for their work,” said Murphy in a statement.
Whelen President & CEO, George W. Whelen V added: “Whelen has been innovating and manufacturing in Connecticut for over 65 years. Our community means everything to us, and when we learned about possible PPE shortages due to COVID-19, we immediately wanted to figure out how we could use our resources to help. Whelen is proud to support the dedicated health care providers and first responders who are working hard each day to take care of our community."
Whelen is also active in the community, routinely supporting organizations in Connecticut, including Middlesex Health, the Connecticut Special Olympics, Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation, the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE). The company also supports Chapel Haven, Vista, and Brian House, and partners with Valley Regional High School's manufacturing class. The company’s 1,500 employees work out of two state-of-the-art facilities in Chester, and Charlestown, N.H.
The manufacturing industry plays a crucial role throughout Connecticut communities. Senator Murphy has introduced two pieces of legislation that aim to strengthen existing standards and prioritize the purchase of American-made goods, the Act and the American Jobs Matter Act.