Holy Cross students and siblings Mary Anne ’22 and Paul Wiley ’20, together with their cousin Luke Knox ’22 and their younger brother Mathew, are designing, producing and donating face shields to local healthcare workers on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus.
The foursome spoke in detail about their motivation and the process behind the creation of the face shields in interviews with WMUR and the Concord Monitor, as well as Boston 25 News.
The concept came about after the Wileys’ parents, both healthcare workers in Concord, NH, fell ill with the coronavirus. Since then, the cousins have manufactured and donated 40 face shields to Concord Hospital and they’re currently in the process of making more for other local hospitals in need.
“Our hope by donating these masks is to equip our heroic healthcare workers with protective safety gear that will allow them to provide the best care to their sick patients, while also staying safe themselves,” said Wiley ’20. “We want to hopefully prevent someone else’s parents from becoming infected and go through what our family has.”
Active members of HC Launch — the Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society‘s student-run incubator — the cousins are no strangers to entrepreneurial ventures, having won several of the college’s annual Shark Tank competitions.
Paul Wiley ’20, a chemistry major in the Health Professions Advising Program, was the first freshman to win the competition back in 2017, which awarded him $12,000 to grow his business idea of creating custom, handcrafted executive products. In addition to the monetary prize, Wiley ’20 was also paired with an alumni mentor and given yearlong memberships to Worcester Clean Tech Incubator, Venture Forum and Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The cousins and founders of Wilox, are currently working on another venture, the production of a long-lasting hand sanitizer, a product that won first prize in last year’s Shark Tank competition. Paul wanted to make a sanitizer that would last, so he teamed up with his cousin Knox, an economics major.
After months of research and development using the College’s biology labs, they came up with a formula that allows the sanitizer to bond with skin cells until the skin exfoliates. That innovation allows the sanitizer to be effective for hours.
Also an economics major, Mary Anne Wiley ’22 is in charge of sales for the innovative sanitizer. And like her brother and cousin, she credits much of their success to the College’s business department for its entrepreneurial encouragement.
“I’m a member of Women in Business at Holy Cross and that has really taught me how to connect with people and how to move business ideas into action,” Mary Anne told the Concord Monitor.
Currently, the three Wileys and Knox have an assembly line producing the face shields in the Wileys’ basement in Bow, NH. And in addition to making more face shields for local hospitals in need, they are also working on designing custom shields for dental offices across the state, since those shields would have to sit farther away from the face.
“We have personally experienced how this virus can cripple and impair our loved ones and we are dedicated to helping others stay safe and healthy,” said Knox.
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