Davids Highlights Kansas Small Manufacturers in First Small Business Subcommittee Hearing as Chair

April 29, 2021
Press Release
Lenexa Manufacturer, Overland Park Small Business Investment Company Both Featured Hearing Witnesses

Representative Sharice Davids used her first House Small Business hearing as Chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access to highlight issues facing small manufacturers in the Kansas City area. She was joined by hearing witnesses Claudio Dente, President of Dentec Safety Specialists in Lenexa, Wes Hampp, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Holleway Capital Partners, in Overland Park, and Kimberly Glas, President and CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations, an organization representing many small personal protective equipment manufacturers across the country.


During the hearing, entitled “Supply Chain Resiliency and the Role of Small Manufacturers,” Davids and committee members examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on supply chains for small businesses and discussed the challenges small manufacturers expect to face in the post-COVID economy. Davids highlighted small US manufacturers making personal protective equipment and her bill, the SUPPLIES Act, which would provide grants for small-and medium-sized businesses who shift their production to supplies needed to fight COVID-19.


“As our country reopens, the demand for personal protective equipment remains. We should be using every tool we have, including activating our small businesses here in the U.S., to ensure we can meet the demand for these life-saving items and create a stockpile of medical supplies that are made in America,” said Davids. “I was incredibly proud to provide a platform for local Kansas businesses to share the amazing work they have been doing this past year to both support our community and create jobs. Now, we need to support them so they can continue to grow. The SUPPLIES Act cuts government red tape, keeps people at work, and helps small American manufacturers—so that they can continue to help us.”


Watch Rep. Davids speaking with Glas on the SUPPLIES Act HERE.


The witnesses shared how they were affected by the COVID pandemic, and their need for continued support through grant programs like the SUPPLIES Act. For example, Lenexa-based manufacturer Dentec was able to increase domestic supply of reusable respirators during COVID-19, but also struggled to keep up with backorders due to financial constraints.


“My objective was that we would be able to convert customers from foreign suppliers to American made products, which we believe has happened,” said Claudio Dente, President of Dentec Safety Specialists in Lenexa. “The obvious benefits for the state of Kansas and the USA are increased tax revenue and jobs for US Citizens…There is no easy answer, however, based on my personal experience and opinion, I believe it should be a combination of financing and government orders to help companies such as Dentec Safety participate in initiatives of this magnitude.”


Watch Dente sharing how federal dollars helped save his company during the pandemic HERE.


“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed glaring weaknesses in U.S. supply chains and the need to have more domestic manufacturing. 60 years ago, the United States was the manufacturing engine of the world, but in 2020, we were unable to make adequate supplies of paper masks,” said Wes Hampp, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Holleway Capital Partners, in Overland Park. “We need policies that focus on supporting manufacturing with an emphasis on small business investment. Tomorrow’s large and advanced manufacturers are small businesses today.”


“We appreciate the support from the Defense Production Act, but we also need federal production grants and tax credits to ensure manufacturing capacity. Chairwoman Davids, I want to highlight your bill as well, the $100 million fund set aside for small businesses,” said Kimberly Glas, President and CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations. “[The SUPPLIES Act] is an important tool moving forward, and we need more of that moving ahead.”


Watch Glas speak on how small businesses need federal support similar to the SUPPLIES Act HERE.


Davids is a leader on supporting American small manufacturers. Besides the SUPPLIES Act, Davids’ bill the 504 Modernization and Small Manufacturer Enhancement Act recently passed the House and would improve the 504 loan program and enhance the ability of small manufacturers to access affordable capital. Davids also fought to secure $10 billion for the Defense Production Act in the recently passed American Rescue Plan, to ramp up domestic production of PPE and other critical supplies, address supply chain shortages, and help restock the national stockpile. She has called on the Biden Administration to ensure that a portion of these funds are targeted towards small-and medium-sized businesses.