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News | May 3, 2021

Clothing and Textiles works overtime to support White House masks mission

By Mikia Muhammad DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

To provide more than 25 million cloth face masks to communities hard-hit by the pandemic, Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Clothing and Textiles team members expedited contracting processes and worked hundreds of overtime hours.

In late February, the Department of Health and Human Services requested DLA’s help providing the masks to community centers across the country to support President Joe Biden’s National Strategy to defeat COVID-19. Locations include more than 1,400 federally qualified health centers, about 125 tribal organizations and 200 foodbanks for distribution to surrounding communities.

A pre-award contracting team headed by Clothing and Textiles Supplier Operations Director Steven Merch conducted market research and create a solicitation for American-made mask production within 10 days of the request.

Overall, the team compressed a typically six-month contract award process into six weeks, he said. The competitive acquisition resulted in numerous proposals and evaluations to determine whether solicitors could supply 100% Berry Compliant, or American-made, masks. Three awards were made.  

“These contracts are another example of DLA utilizing the burgeoning American personal protective equipment industrial base to support domestic requirements,” Merch added.

C&T’s technical team worked with HHS to develop technical requirements and review award documents including filtration test reports, vendor labeling and samples. The customer support team also verified delivery locations, confirmed delivery quantities by size and processed material-release orders for each community center location, he said.

Leighann Mazoki, chief of the Resolution and Personal Protective Equipment Division, as well as C&T contracting officers Baotran Dao, Robert Fagan, Randy McArthur and Stephanie Gallagher, each worked up to 12 hours a day including weekends.

“This monumental task would not have been possible without each of us working together so fluidly,” Fagan said, adding that C&T’s best-value contracting approach also ensured masks met delivery times and quality standards. 

Writing award documents normally takes about a month of the six-month process, McArthur added. 

“As a team, we accomplished the task in a week in order to meet the [White House’s] deadline,” he said.

He and other team members also continued their regular duties while meeting the special mission.

DLA Distribution is packing, shipping and tracking follow-on deliveries to final locations.