[ NewsNation ] /
Nightly Three Hours Newscast on WGN America. No Opinions, just News. Click to learn more.

Local boat company adapts business around pandemic


PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Early on during the virus outbreak president of JetBoatPilot on Highway 390 in Panama City, Will Owen, realized there was a new demand on the horizon. 

Owen said that utilizing resources already on-site, typically used to create boat products, the staff was able to begin designing personal protection equipment such as face shields and sneeze guards. That is when 850Medical was formed to help differentiate the product.

The company’s goal is to provide protective equipment to industries helping keep workers safe while interacting with clients entering their premises to do business, Owen said.

“It has just been overwhelming to see how many people actually truly needed a face shield, we thought the masks were important, but the face shields were equally important,” he said.

The evolution required a massive reorganization of their warehouse to help streamline the production of the shields, Owen said. He also explained that with the help of local partners they were able to attain the necessary supplies.

He said originally they were donating the new equipment to local facilities, but eventually, they had to transition into selling the protection to keep up with demand.

With the increase in work, Owen went from 14 employees to 34 employees. He said he is happy the company could not only provide a much-needed service to the community, but they were also able to hire people looking for jobs. New employees include an out of work hairdresser and local college students on the hunt for a summer job, he said.

“This is our way of being able to keep our business going, keep our employees working, which by the way we started with 14 employees  now we are at 34 employees all because we decided to do something to help out the community,” Owen explained.

Owen said he is confident both companies, JetBoatPilot and 850Medical, will be able to meet the needs of the respective communities they serve.

More information on 850Medical can be found here.

Report a coronavirus-related news tip

We’re working to cover how COVID-19 is affecting Floridians like you, beyond what official information is being released.

Have you or someone close to you been monitored, quarantined or tested — and can you share about the process? Are you a medical professional dealing with this who wants to share your experience and needs at this time? Are you a student or worker affected by closures? Are there questions you have about the coronavirus and COVID-19 response that haven’t been answered? We want to hear about your experience.

We cannot provide medical advice. Please speak to your doctor about any symptoms you’re experiencing

We understand this is a sensitive and private issue and we are willing to protect your identity if you request it. Please include a valid email and/or phone number so we can follow up.

Please fill out the form below or email news@wmbb.com

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local News Video

News 13 This Morning celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Mr. Woodworth's Fourth Grade Class

Impact of COVID-19 on hunger in the panhandle

NAS Pensacola opens after securing safety from bomb threat

Phase 3 Reopening impact on Beauty Industry

Residents react to phase three

More Local News

Golf Pass