Laurentians Inspire: Alex Petizian '10 | St. Lawrence University

Laurentians Inspire: Alex Petizian '10

Alex Petizian ’10 has been making big saves his whole life—even now during a global crisis.

Petizian, who was a four-year stand-out goalie for St. Lawrence’s men’s ice hockey team, is responsible for sales and account management at Naizil, Inc., his family-owned business that manufactures vinyl-coated high-tech industrial fabrics that are used for transportation purposes, tents, awnings, and even sports domes.

In mid-March, just as the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, a customer approached Petizian with an idea to manufacture protective gowns for those on the front lines. In less than three weeks, and in partnership with the customer’s company, Petizian’s team had customized and manufactured the required fabrics for the garment, which is now approved by the FDA.

The gowns, which are made from fabric in Ontario and assembled in Quebec, will protect people from any contaminants, are easily washable, and reusable. The partner company is producing between 3,000 and 4,000 of them each week and the interest in them is high: during the first 10 minutes of the interview for this story, Petizian already had 15 new emails in his inbox.

“There’s a [personal protective equipment] shortage in North America, and we’ve adapted our business to help because people are in need,” he says. “That’s our duty.”

Petizian, who majored in economics at St. Lawrence, knows a thing or two about dedicating everything he has to everything he pursues. He backstopped the squad to an ECAC Hockey regular-season title and NCAA appearance, and then went on to play professionally in the AHL, ECHL, and abroad before retiring from the sport and joining the family business. Through the sport and his coursework, he learned how he could accomplish far more teaming up with others than he could alone.

“Being a hockey player taught me that putting 20 heads together is always better than one,” he says. “St. Lawrence had an encouraging environment where I had the chance to work with people who came from different places and had different perspectives and was comfortable discussing and building upon ideas with teammates, classmates, and professors. Everyone at St. Lawrence was always willing to help and wanted everyone to succeed.”

Just as Petizian has led Saints onto the ice and into battle countless times before, he’s looking to do that once again. He’s eager to collaborate with other Laurentians who have a need for the fabric or the gowns they are helping to produce during the pandemic, who can help facilitate the distribution of more PPE, or who can offer any help or additional ideas on how to remove barriers and make their efforts even more valuable than they already are.

“I’d love to connect with any Laurentian out there who can make this process easier or more efficient,” he says. ”Let’s make a difference together.”

Get in touch with Alex: alex@naizilcanada.com

Do you know an inspiring Laurentian who is helping others during the COVID-19 pandemic? Email those stories to Meg at mkeniston@stlawu.edu.