SYCAMORE, Ill. — A Sycamore company known for taking on big tasks is taking on their biggest yet.
“I think we were one of the first industries to come to a screeching halt,” said John Huddleston Director of Live Events for Upstaging.
“We’re a live event company. We do concert tours. We do corporate events — acts like The Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, Billie Eilish and Paul McCartney,” said Huddleston.
The Billie Eilish tour was in full swing when the concert cancellations began.
But with a warehouse of equipment, a fleet of semis and employees to fabricate product — an opportunity emerged.
“We’re pivoting to whatever’s in demand,” said Huddleston.
They’re now making plastic room dividers that can be easily cleaned and other medical devices.
“This is the mask that we’re currently manufacturing. We got an order from the state of Illinois for 7,200 pieces and that’s just the beginning,” said Huddleston.
Huddleston’s sentiment of helping the community was shared by Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker Monday when he announced the Essential Equipment Task Force and called on talent and manufacturing in the state to produce what they could.
“Trying to stay local within our city, county, northern Illinois, Chicago area, midwest. So that’s what we’re targeting,”Huddleston said.
In addition to equipment, Upstaging can also take raw space — like a warehouse or arena — and convert it into a hospital setting in days.
“We’re strangely well-equipped to do emergency services here and that’s what we’re going to do until we can get together and do live events again. The bottom line is: Let’s keep people working here in Illinois and at our company.”