Documenting a pandemic response: Boyd Technologies subject of film series

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LEE — A high-tech firm that tweaked its manufacturing capabilities to help produce personal protective equipment in the spring is the subject of a documentary series highlighting the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boyd Technologies and Digital Eyes Film of Northampton are teaming up on the making of "Project Frontline," a multipart series on the evolving response to the pandemic, focusing on the steps that Massachusetts has taken to respond to the crisis.

The series is intended to provide a real-time look at how municipal officials and private industry leaders responded when Massachusetts was designated as one of the first COVID-19 hot spots. Most of the interviews for the first episode, titled "The Crisis," have been conducted, and that episode is scheduled to be released the week of Sept. 21. The series will be available on select video-on-demand platforms.

Matthew Boyd, the company's chief commercial officer, said the documentary series will consist of four to five episodes. The second episode is scheduled to be released between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Boyd Technologies is conducting the interviews, while Digital Eyes Film is handling postproduction, he said.

"They do documentary work like this, and they know how to put a story together," Boyd said, referring to Digital Eyes Film.

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Boyd Technologies is a family-owed medical device manufacturer on Route 102 that makes products for the medical and life sciences industries. In May, the company began to switch gears, temporarily pivoting some activities outside normal business operations to respond to what at the time was a shortage of personal protective equipment in the state. Those products included surgical masks, N95 respirators, nasal swabs and point-of care diagnostics.

Boyd also helped support its biotechnology partners that were developing treatments and vaccines for large-scale production.

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In the spring, Boyd said the company was one of the first state manufacturers to become involved with the governor's command center, out of which the Massachusetts Emergency Response Group was formed. Being in that position provided the company with a firsthand view of how the pandemic began to quickly sweep over Massachusetts and the rest of the country, Matthew Boyd said.

"We felt that this was a very compelling experience that we were in the middle of seeing," Boyd said. "We'd gone through months and months of work with the Emergency Response Group. Somewhere in the middle of all that, we sat down internally and said that this is just a great example of how emergency response should work, how collaboration should work, and that this is a story that somebody has to tell. We have to tell it sort of from the inside out."

He said other officials and organizations that Boyd Technologies had been working with had similar thoughts.

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"That was the litmus test, really, kind of speaking to people outside of our internal frame," Boyd said. "Everybody agreed that it was a unique and compelling story."

David Phelps, the president and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems, and Dr. James Lederer, chief medical officer for BHS, are among the nine people who were interviewed for the first episode. The other interviewees include Brian Johnson, the president of MassMEDIC; Carolyn Kirk, executive director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative; Mark Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health; Julie Chen, vice chancellor for research and innovation at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell; and Ben Linville-Engler, industry and certificate director for system design and management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"The three important areas we wanted to make sure we covered were health care, the state response and academia," Boyd said.

Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-281-2755.


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