Heroes of the COVID Crisis: How John Rexroad of Masks for Citizens helped address the need for N95 masks in the US
Providing means and ways for others to act within, while always having an open mind and listening. I simply follow morals every day, and work to create a place where others can use their talents and abilities to make their lives and the lives of others better. So my view of leadership is lead by example and bring out the best qualities in others.
I had the pleasure of interviewing John Rexroad.
Mr. Rexroad has been involved with high level projects for over 25 years. Activities include conducting training classes for such originations as OSHA, The AGC, NUY, and Drexel University. Chairman of ASTM netting standards F24, E06, F 2375–09.
Designer of netting system used on the Washington Monument awarded 2 U.S. Patents. Accomplishments include the development of revolutionary technology that has been awarded over a dozen Patents to date.
Mr. Rexroad has designed products and systems for such organizations as NASA, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, Lockheed, G.M., Ground Zero, Decommissioning of the Manhattan Project, Grand Central Station, Wrigley Field and netting used worldwide. Projects include: Seven World Trade Tower — New York, Empire States Building — New York, Oakland Bay Bridge — California, Stratosphere — Las Vegas NV, and Pacific Bell (Seismic Protection System) San Francisco — CA., City Center, Las Vegas NV
Pucuda — Leading Edge has been involved with high level projects for over 27 years. Activities include conducting training classes for such originations as OSHA, The AGC, and Drexel University. Our teams notable achievements include designing and developing of netting system used on the Washington Monument awarded 2 U.S. Patents. Leading Edge is the leader of the safety and netting industry bringing the most advanced technology to bare. Leading Edge has developed revolutionary technology that has been awarded over a dozen Patents to date. Leading Edge has designed products and systems for such organizations as NASA, Lockheed, G.M., Universal Studios, and Ground Zero. Projects include: Oakland Bay Bridge — California, Stratosphere — Las Vegas NV, and Pacific Bell (Seismic Protection System) San Francisco — CA. Las Olas, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have been doing technical standards, and developing and providing solution for over 35 years. I knew there was going to be a need for masks for the public despite all being focused on the hospitals and other need. I wanted to lower the public demand of the N95 masks and get affordable safe, and supply’s flowing to the public. So I focused on that need, and putting together not just a company making and selling masks but a system in place where as many companies as needed can fill the supply line. I look at it as rather than opening a garden hose I built a water main and opened that. It had to have a charitable side as that is core to who I am and what the company’s core is all about. While a COVID-19 pointed me in a direction I used innovation, a firm belief/knowledge in others and the fact I knew what I am capable of.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
For me the most interesting story aside for all of the amazing projects I have been part of is Libera. Libera is a boys’ choir from South London. That came from a friend telling me I might like one of their CD’s. Years later I went to buy another CD and became curious about who they were, I did not even know they were form London. When I went on their website libera.org.uk I saw a couple of concerts scheduled for Pennsylvania and New Jersey and I bought tickets for the New Jersey performance. I had not receive anything from the Morristown Preforming Arts Center (MPAC) about the tickets so I decided to call. I could only find a number for the corporate sponsors and I call them. I was told Libera had just canceled just a few minutes ago. For some reason I called right back thinking maybe I could help with others I knew that moved stage equipment etc. I was told no it’s a money issue for them. When I looked at the MPAC site I saw they did a lot for the school system. I asked one question “what would it take to fix this, I don’t want to see Libera or MPAC lose money? They told me what it would take and I sponsored the performance, which I did not also realize meant that could now come to the United States. I made a simple offer to take the group out to lunch the day of the performance. I sat at the big kids table and met those that made it happen. They were going to New York the following day and I know lots of what to see in New York so I offered to be their tour host. Wow the life lessons those boys learn that they pass to one another is a whole story in itself. I waved goodbye thinking we would never see each other again. Not so, I ended up offering to help them in the USA. It ended up with me producing a PBS National Pledge Drive special. That meant I ended up not just causing a concert to happen at MPAC, but a CD, DVD and top fundraiser for PBS nationally. If you think about it I am just doing what I do. I am creating a water main which benefits many.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Wow that is a hard question and all that comes to mind is actually maybe not a mistake but I will call it one. Friends of mine had a motorhome and we would go and sit and watch the waves at Redondo Beach CA. You need to understand that now I stand in front of thousand and do educations classes, etc. and have appeared on more TV shows then most. But then I was a shy nerves guy. My now wife then just a new friend sat next to me and her lag was touching me…Panic now what do I do? She did not think a thing about it as it was just glancing my leg. It was very uncomfortable to me having a woman next to me. The long and short of this story it took me a long time to convince her to marry me. To this day that story has grown as I tell it to she sat next to this shy boy just wanting to keep to himself and her rubbing her leg against me like a cricket.
Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?
We make a massive impact on most all lives in America and beyond. We (I) write ASTM standards which are used in industry and throughout the amusement industry. We (I) have designed the most revolutionary new products like our shrinking nets that when you go to an amusement part you and your family climbs on. The system on the Washington Monument that was both safety and art was designed and won the National Parks Art review and was used during the restoration and repair after the earth quake. The nets over the city streets like in NYC and the very standard was part of our (my) contribution. I just realized that a claim that every person in America has benefited or interacted with one of my systems or products is not an exaggeration. My nets and my system in every Walmart and Sam’s Club. Go to a sports game and we have played a role in that as well. I never ever lose the charity and doing for others and I include some examples above.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
My cause is making life better for people. I likely have many example and I just can’t single one out. The one that for some reason stays in my mind was when I did one of the things I do which I call random and anonymous, which is my favorite way to do things. I don’t want or expect anything in return. My wife and I were out for dinner and I saw a lady that seemed to have a lot weighting on her. I could not tell what it was but I felt just maybe if I paid for her meal it may provide a bit of a hug. We knew the waitress and days later when we came back the waitress with a note on the back of her order pad. The lady wrote a short note saying she was praying for something nice to happen and god sent me. For me it’s never about me, it’s about them. For me it’s not the larger things it all things combined. It’s all people.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
Well the MasksForCitizens.com is because no one helped, and frankly placed road blocks. I just feel we can take action is ways like this. While I write standards and regulations which become laws, I feel we can do things or wait for government, etc. Could have they helped a big yes, did they help a big no. Here is my personal quote “Inaction is an action with the lowest possible outcome” We are government, we are society, and we can have impact on who our politicians are.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
One setting by example, providing means and ways for others to act within, while always having an open mind and listening. I simply follow morals every day, and work to create a place where others can use their talents and abilities to make their lives and the lives of others better. So my view of leadership is lead by example and bring out the best qualities in others.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- That people think a businessperson is rich and they will take it if it benefits them
- People can be very hateful if it benefits them
- No good deed goes unpunished and its true
- Nice guys finish last
- Don’t let them stop you
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I do feel this is the largest thing (movement) I have ever done. I do feel this brings the most amount of good. It’s not about me it’s about them.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Success for one may be failure for another” My quote from 7th grade
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Well I am afraid to say this as it can be considered political. I would like to have a breakfast with Sean Hannity and discuss everything for the producing of a meaningful to life. I would like to have breakfast with the president and do the same. Hay, maybe both.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Our company social media is: Instagram: @pucudaleadingedge// Twitter: @PucudaNetting// Facebook: @PucudaLeadingEdge
My personal Twitter is: @jrexroad1
Heroes of the COVID Crisis: How John Rexroad of Masks for Citizens helped address the need for N95… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.