This article is part of a series featuring Utah-based companies and what they’re doing during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Innovate, launch and grow.” This is the mantra Colby Jenkins and his team at the Atwood Innovation Plaza live by.

During the coronavirus pandemic, entrepreneurs at Makerspace at DSU continue to produce plastic parts and assemble masks for first responders. The plaza recently printed respirator masks for the Washington City Fire Department and St. George Police Department.

“With our available resources, our Makerspace director, Zack Manweiler, and his university scholar intern team recognized the need in our community and answered the call of local first responders,” said Colby Jenkins, director of Atwood Innovation Plaza. “Together, they designed and 3-D printed hundreds of cost-effective, sturdy, reliable and reusable masks. These masks greatly enhance first-responder protection and reduce costs at the same time.” 

The Atwood Innovation Plaza is a 55,000 square-foot state-of-the-art entrepreneurship center at Dixie State University that offers resources for innovating, ideating and growing businesses. The plaza includes nearly 8,000 square-feet of prototyping and manufacturing equipment and is one of the largest Makerspaces in the state of Utah. The center is open to the community where innovators perform small-run manufacturing on 3-D printers, laser cutters/engravers, wide-format printers and more.

“My role here is to help everyone connect and enable the innovation ecosystem we’re building to produce what we intend — ideas, companies and jobs,” Jenkins said.

Other Atwood Innovation Plaza teammates include Steribin and Soft Cell Biological. These companies contribute to the COVID-19 response by lending their expertise to improve testing and sterilization efforts.