DENSO Spirit Spotlight: Britt Autry’s Mission to Make Face Shields

Apr. 29, 2020 News Releases Other Topics

As automakers slowed production of vehicles due to the coronavirus crisis (COVID-19) in mid-March, Britt Autry, vice president of manufacturing at DENSO’s Maryville Tennessee operations, came together with other executives to chart a new course for their employees and plant operations.

“As a company, we have something we call ‘DENSO Spirit,’” Autry said. “It has several elements, and three of them are foresight, credibility and collaboration. Foresight means that we see a problem coming, and we can mobilize our workforce to help.”

Autry and several DENSO engineers wanted to help fight COVID-19 in their area. They quickly moved to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals in need and created a new face shield using materials already on hand. Within a week, they developed an initial prototype and worked on modifications with the help of some amazing nurses at Blount Memorial Hospital. The final face mask has some unique features to help stop the spread of COVID-19, including an elongated shield that covers the ears and allows enough room to wear glasses or other PPE underneath.

DENSO already has requests from regional hospitals for more than 50,000 shields, and recently shipped 2,500 to Detroit area hospitals. Autry said this is a short-term project, as they wanted to quickly fill a local need by making face shields for front line workers.

Thank you, Britt Autry, for your quick action and true DENSO Spirit.



Since the COVID-19 outbreak, DENSO has:

  • Donated nearly 2,000 N95 masks to hospitals in Michigan and North Carolina
  • Joined a D-Waveproject to give free access to a quantum computing systems that could facilitate medical breakthroughs to combat COVID-19
  • Collaborated and supported automakers and partners to help manufacture medical equipment components
  • Started manufacturing thousands of face shields to protect local health care workers in Maryville, Tenn.
  • In Canada, an employee of DENSO’s Guelph, Ontario, facility answered InkSmith’s callfor people to 3D-print face shield components and is sending them to the company for assembly and donation to Canadian hospitals


We, at DENSO, want to send a warm thank you to all of our employees who are demonstrating true #DENSOSpirit with their individual or team efforts to communities and society to get through this global health pandemic.

To see all DENSO’s COVID-19 updates, click here.