18 years later, Akron Brass Remembers Outfitting FDNY After 9/11 Attacks
September 11, 2019
On Monday, September 10, 2001, Akron Brass employees celebrated the Grand Opening of their new facility in Wooster, Ohio. Cutting a ribbon to signify a new beginning, team members were eager to begin working in the facility, not knowing that the next day would be one of the most important in American history.
It was a calm, clear morning the following day when tragedy struck the United States of America.
Akron Brass, which manufactures firefighting nozzles, valves, monitors and vehicle electronics, had worked alongside the New York Fire Department (FDNY) for years. The FDNY placed a fateful call to Akron Brass for equipment on September13, 2001, as rescue workers were only beginning the long task of uncovering what had buried at what was being dubbed “Ground Zero.”
With fire engines buried under the fallen World Trade Center towers, the FDNY needed several valves, foam products, decontamination tents and more. Heeding the call, Akron Brass employees quickly banded together and focused intensely on the needs of the FDNY.
“It felt like we had all been sucker punched (by the attacks). But being able to make products for those at Ground Zero, gave us an outlet (to fight back),” said Al Schmale, Customer Repair Specialist.
Any order of 200 units requested in a short period of time can be a challenge, but product for FDNY is much more complicated due to the special requirements of the department.
Despite difficulties, the Great Teams at Akron Brass worked alongside other businesses to get the supplies they needed and worked extra hours to see the emergency project through.
“The day after (the event), was amazing,” said Bill Cottrill, Machine Operator at Akron Brass.
“It was incredible to see how many people pulled together to complete the common goal,” said Jeff Rose, Maintenance Technician at Akron Brass.
From team members working extra shifts and taking naps in their vehicles, to team members traveling to other businesses for aluminum slugs and spare parts, the Manufacturing, Assembly, Logistics & Operations teams were Obsessed with getting their products into the hands of first responders working at Ground Zero
After a day of tireless effort and focus on the customer, all the Akron Brass equipment was quickly approved by the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) – which had otherwise closed American airspace –and transported the shipment to a local airport in Ohio.
Surrounded by fighter jets as the only plane in the sky, the private jet full of Akron Brass products headed east with its patriotic cargo.
In the week following the tragic event, David Gindlesperger, Senior District Sales Manager of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington DC, and Northern Virginia, and Bill Ballantyne, Senior OEM Account Manager, visited every attack site, further indicating how important it was to help firefighters on the ground.