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Puritan Steps Up to Keep the Nation Safe


Located in Guilford, Maine, Puritan Medical Products is known worldwide as the most trusted manufacturer of swabs and an ever-expanding line of other medical products. The company was established as a toothpick manufacturer in 1919 and quickly diversified to other wood products and eventually specialized in medical swabs. Puritan Medical products is a family-owned business and a major source of employment in a rural area of Maine.


The Challenge

During the pandemic, as demand skyrocketed for COVID-19 testing kits, Puritan was one of only two manufacturers of COVID-19 testing swabs in the world. Puritan was contacted by the White House and asked to increase production to meet the needs of their COVID-19 testing program. This rapid, demand-driven expansion required an immediate increase in staffing. At the same time, strict regulations and quality control measures meant that the new employees needed a robust onboarding process in addition to on-the-job training.

In my career, I’ve never seen the speed and support for a program like this happen as fast and as well as it did [with Maine MEP].
— Michael Ballesteros, Director of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance

MEP's Role

Puritan reached out to Eastern Maine Community College for assistance in May 2020. Knowing that Maine MEP project managers would be able to develop trainings, EMCC got in touch. Maine MEP, part of the MEP National Network™, developed a 16-hour interactive training program tailored to the requirements for machine operators. This program set the tone for the Puritan culture, emphasizing safety, quality, and FDA compliance. Since July 2020, Maine MEP project managers have trained 1,100 new Puritan employees.

Created July 15, 2022, Updated July 20, 2022