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Mukilteo contractor's pivot to making hand-washing stations is saving jobs

The hand-washing stations are at construction sites, grocery stores and homeless shelters. This focus on sanitation is now keeping this company afloat.

MUKILTEO, Wash. — Many businesses have had to close their doors amid the coronavirus crisis, but one Mukilteo contractor has come up with a way to save jobs. 

When its business was pretty much at a standstill, UMC Inc. shifted focus in order to keep people employed.

"We went from a napkin sketch to here we are, you know, two months later, with several different variations and almost 200 sinks sold,” said Jerry Bush, CEO of UMC Inc. 

The company has pivoted its business model, building mobile hand-washing stations for construction sites, healthcare facilities, homeless shelters and even grocery stores.

"As a mechanical infrastructure contractor we make a lot of sinks and so it was a natural fit just to keep our job sites going, but then there was the wider need of hand-washing stations,” said Steve Brooks, Vice President of Business Development. 

Stations are equipped with touch-free dispensers and sinks attached to standalone units, designed specific to needs of each business. 

The focus on sanitation is now keeping the business afloat. 

"It's a small part of our business, but absolutely, it's employing 30 people that otherwise at least a good portion of them would be on standby would not be working," said Bush.

While business is picking back up, Bush says the company is still down about 100 people.

With so much uncertainty surrounding the future of some projects and the health of the economy, Bush says the company will continue to come up with creative ways to stay relevant. 

"While the demand might wane for hand wash stations I think going forward. The demand for cleaner buildings more sanitary buildings, the ability to wash hands and hygiene stations will continue well into the future with or without coronavirus,” said Bush. 

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