A family-owned and operated business based out of Grimes, BDI Signs has served the local community for nearly 28 years. Typically the company specializes in the graphic design, manufacturing and production of signs, decals, banners and more. However, with the spread of COVID-19, the local company has focused its current operations on helping manufacture face shields for healthcare workers and first responders.


“BDI has always been and will continue to be engaged with our communities,” said Michael Vaughn of BDI Signs. “From annual celebrations such as Grimes Governors Days and Celebrate Waukee, to supporting our local schools and foundations, to church and community fundraisers, we know the importance of investing in our communities and try as hard as we can to keep our dollars local because we know we are stronger together.”


Early on in the outbreak of COVID-19, the BDI Signs leadership team discussed not only how to sustain their business but also what they could to do to help the communities that they serve. Vaughn said that he had read an article about a Wisconsin firm who started making face shields for their local healthcare system. He sent over the documents and procedures on how to make single-use shields to his team, and they jumped at the chance of making it happen.


“The biggest challenge we faced was sourcing supplies. Some of the items we needed were things we wouldn’t purchase under normal operation so our procurement team spent most of one day working the phones to find available supplies,” Vaughn said.


Vaughn also said that the flexibility and willingness of companies to pivot operations is impressive and that the team has since organized the resources and production space in order to respect social distancing requirements. He credited suppliers with helping find products and solutions, transportation businesses with helping get things where they needed to go, and manufacturers with finding creative solutions to problems in order to get the items made and to people who need them in a timely manner.


“All the companies and people stepping up just shows the desire and compassion that makes this country great. In the end, we all just want to help and not be a spectator and watch things play out. We all have a role that we can play,” Vaughn said.


BDI Signs recently started production on the face shields and have already made and shipped approximately 2,000 shields, with the resources to make approximately 10,000 more.


BDI Signs has also helped community members find new ways to celebrate during COVID-19. This includes banners hung on school fences with special messages from teachers and celebration yard bomb packages in order to help families celebrate birthdays, new babies and graduation, to name a few.


“The biggest thing the community can do is help connect us with the people who have a need. I would hate for one shield to be sitting here in a box if we can get it in the hands of one of our frontline heroes who need it,” Vaughn said. “The folks on the frontlines every day, man, we owe them a party of appreciation when we get on the backside of this. They’re amazing, caring people who are carrying all of us through this challenge.”