Instead of just staying home when General Motors shut down its Indiana pickup plant to protect workers from the coronavirus, Kevin Rowan volunteered to drive three hours a day for 10-hour shifts to help the automaker build hospital ventilators.
“Just watching the news every night, you’ve got to feel compassion for anyone that needs one and doesn’t have one,” he said. “It just breaks my heart when they say there isn’t enough.”
Rowan, normally a material flow coordinator at Fort Wayne Assembly, has used the machinery chops he gained on his childhood family farm to train about 100 voluntary workers to build a power bracket that holds an oxygen controller for the ventilators. GM has a contract with the federal government to build 30,000 of the devices at a parts plant in Kokomo, Ind., by the end of August.
He’s among more than 1,000 workers helping GM make ventilators, face shields, masks and gowns while most of the company’s North American plants remain dark. When the rest of their…