Dick Elsy was looking forward to retirement from his job running Europe's largest advanced manufacturing research institution. Then, the coronavirus arrived and sent the 60-year-old into a 12-week sprint of marathon workdays.
Faced with a shortage of ventilators as the number of COVID-19 cases was growing, the U.K. government in early March rallied the nation's private sector to repurpose factories and R&D centers to build the lifesaving medical equipment.
The need was urgent and daunting. Hospitals had about 6,000 ventilators, but the government's COVID-19 modeling suggested about 20,000 would be needed to handle the expected volume of critically ill patients.