Although the effects of the pandemic are still present, we’ve come a long way since the beginning of the crisis. We’re now able to offer better protection against COVID, go to school and work, and socialize again in ways that once felt impossible. This recovery is thanks to the ways in which many, including business leaders around the world, stepped up to help their communities.
When local governments were struggling to find the resources to keep schools and other facilities open, local businesses stepped up. NJF Worldwide is a global manufacturing company started out of Neptune City, NJ, and became one of the leading providers of COVID tests and PPE in New York, New Jersey, and across the country.
“I’m always thinking of ways that my next business move can benefit my community,” said founder and CEO Ryan Leonard, “So when I saw the situation in New York I was ready to step up to the plate.”
NJF Worldwide was able to provide over 80 tractor-trailer loads or over $160 million worth of iHealth Rapid Antigen tests to the New York City public schools. Whereas before the public school system had been struggling to find the resources, this allowed the schools to stay open, making sure the students had the access to the education they need. NJF handled the order from start to finish and was able to complete it in a record 7 weeks, about half the time the order was expected to take.
“I will jump in any seat necessary to get the job done,” said Leonard. “Whether it’s driving the trucks or making phone calls. I have a hands-on mentality.”
In addition to providing tests for the New York City public schools, NJF has leveraged technology in the invitro and infectious disease space to provide test kits for at-home use and for doctors and laboratories across the country. The company has also supplied masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and other PPE throughout the past two and a half years of the pandemic. They focused on filling gaps that had been overlooked or neglected by state and federal governments and were able to keep millions of people safe in the process.
NJF has a history of turning adversity into opportunity. Leonard founded the business in 2011, shortly after being honorably discharged from the US Military. While he was still dealing with the difficulties of adjusting to civilian life, he was also faced with the loss of his grandfather and his younger brother. He did not crumble, however, and instead used his heartbreak to fuel his mission to grow NJF into a successful company that could give back to his community. He had sworn an oath to protect and serve his country abroad, and saw his business as a way to keep his promise in the states. He had the opportunity to do so during the pandemic when he was on the front line with local, state, and federal officials across the country.
While many businesses suffered during the pandemic, ones like NJF that were able to step up and help their communities have grown since the start of the crisis. These are the businesses that are prepared to turn a crisis into an opportunity, and they are the ones leading our post-pandemic recovery and development.
“Growing up, my mom always told me to be a leader and not a follower,” said Leonard. Since then I’ve led my peers and my battle buddies in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and I continue to lead my staff and community in the uphill battle to be Only the Finest, just as our slogan states. I believe that remaining true to my values is the way forward, no matter the situation.”