A Morris County teacher was honored for turning his home into a makeshift manufacturing plant where he helped produce more than 12,000 pieces of protective equipment for workers using 3-D printers.
Jason Erdreich, a Randolph resident, was selected for a “Mazda Heroes” award in recognition of his efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, the automaker’s North American branch announced.
“This year has been full of challenges and we wanted to lean into our brand’s heritage of finding innovative ways to brighten people’s lives,” Mazda North American Operations President Jeff Guyton said in a news release. “We were inspired to create the Mazda Heroes program to honor all those who are working tirelessly to uplift their own communities. We hope through Mazda’s acknowledgment of their efforts, they’ll feel empowered to continue to give back to those around them.”
Erdreich, a middle school shop teacher, used his technical expertise to gather 3-D printers to produce the badly-needed PPE for healthcare facilities and other frontline workers. The 3-D printing technology allows users to produce physical objects from digital files with the special printers. Various items can be made with the printers, which often use less material than other manufacturing methods.
The Madison Public School District teacher also incorporated his 3-D printing project into his teaching by designing remote learning courses for his students around the manufacturing technology.
“He solves problems, in and out of the classroom,” Erdreich’s wife, who nominated him for the award, said in a video accompanying the announcement.
“With massive shortages of PPE, local front line workers were desperate for any life-saving protective gear to keep them safe so Jason rounded up about fifteen 3-D printers from his school, brought them home and hooked all together in our living room,” she added.
Based on the submissions nationwide, Mazda North American Operations selected 50 winners “based on their demonstrated selfless acts, creative thinking, and contributions to community,” according to the company. Each winner will be given a Mazda MX-5 Miata 100th Anniversary Special Edition, the news release said.