Feyen Zylstra is working behind the scenes in West Michigan hospitals, gearing up frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19.
Locally, FZ’s field workers are operating alongside Spectrum Health and Metro Health-University of Michigan Health to restage underutilized areas like parking decks into COVID facilities.
The work includes upgrading hospitals’ wireless technology, remodeling networks and other infrastructure areas to help accommodate the hospitals setting up testing areas and turning non-clinical areas into health delivery areas.
“As the hospitals have to ‘retool,’ so to speak — temporary staging for testing areas, intake areas, etc. — that all comes with infrastructure needs,” said Derek Hunderman, director of sales and operations.
When hospitals take an area designed for one thing and repurpose it, often times they’re underequipped for the purpose, requiring data, wireless access points, controlled entry points and other infrastructure FZ can provide, he said.
The Renucci House in Grand Rapids, traditionally a place to house families whose loved ones are hospitalized at Butterworth and Blodgett hospitals and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, also is being converted to a testing facility, Hunderman said.
“Like many of us working from home right now, we’ve had to re-work our at-home infrastructure,” Hunderman said. “It’s either re-working infrastructure or introducing new infrastructure.”
Hunderman added FZ scrambled to re-work its own infrastructure in the wake of COVID-19 and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s shelter-in-place order for Michigan. All FZ office personnel are now working remotely, and fortunately, the company has the technology to ensure a smooth transition.
Field members are going about their work, providing essential infrastructure, Hunderman said, and all job sites are well equipped with hand washing and sanitizing stations and other necessary PPE.
FZ currently has about 140 electricians and technicians working in the field, spread across health care, food processing and critical support like the city of Grand Rapids’ sewage biodigester.
“I would give credit to hospitals in this region,” Hunderman said. “Our observation is they’ve had to quickly pivot, and they’ve done a spectacular job.”
Dave Barritt, manager of technical services at Metro Health-University of Michigan Health, expressed gratitude for FZ’s back-end work as the hospital pivots.
“Feyen Zylstra has been an important partner to Metro Health-University of Michigan Health during the COVID-19 outbreak,” Barritt said. “Their technicians have continued to assist us with our onsite technical needs, and we appreciate their support during this challenging time.”