The vast majority of the United States work force has been forced to remain at home now going on several months. This has been to help stop the spread of the coronavirus as the millions of American citizens shelter in place.
However, with the shelter in place and the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 the medical industry has found itself short of important supplies, including masks. Additionally, with state governors throughout the country recommending (if not mandating) the use of masks, people spanning the United States have found it hard to purchase affordable masks that both protect them and stop the spread of the virus. To help with the production of these masks, several clothing manufacturers have picked up the slack in order to up mask production.
Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour, has taken up this call with UA now producing masks in its factories. However, Kevin Plank hasn’t stopped there as he looks for other ways to help assist with fighting COVID-19.
Kevin Plank’s Baltimore Businesses Giving Back
Kevin Plank owns several businesses throughout the greater DMV region. This includes Under Armour and Sagamore Spirit Distillery. The two companies, like many other businesses throughout the United States, were not deemed essential, and as such, were forced to shut down. However, Kevin Plank saw the possibility to not only help with the fight against COVID-19 but also provide working opportunities to those individuals who wanted to remain working.
For starters, Sagamore Spirit is a company that produces whiskey and other alcoholic spirits. Due to its ability to produce alcohol, Kevin Plank and Sagamore Spirit decided to stop production of whiskey and instead focus on the production of antimicrobial hand sanitizer. This was especially important back in March when stores around the globe were unable to keep hand sanitizer in stock.
With the production switched over to make hand sanitizer, Sagamore Spirit has, to this point in time, been able to produce 54,000 liters. Much of this has remained in greater Baltimore and throughout Maryland, although it has also been shipped to other areas of the country that have run low on hand sanitizer. Initially, the hand sanitizer went to Johns Hopkins, as well as other Maryland health providers.
Most masks produced by other companies require sewing. There are a number of issues when it comes to masks needing this feature. For starters it slows down the process. This means companies are limited to the total number of masks they can produce. Additionally, when masks are not crafted by individuals who are experienced in mask making, the stitching can become a liability, leaving gaps in the fabric which might expose the wearer. Instead, Kevin Plank’s Under Armour focused on the creation of no-sew masks. The no-sew masks, which are assembled by Johns Hopkins Health System volunteers, could then be worn without fear of inferior stitching.
So far, the team at Under Armour has produced over 20,000 no-sew face masks, which have gone on to be distributed for non-clinical staff usage. Asymptomatic patients have also received the masks from Under Armour.
To help with any additional mask needs, Under Armour has outfitted its high-speed fabric cutting machines to cut 100 pieces for the masks, which allow the company to produce up to 300,000 no-sew masks per week. To help with the distribution of the masks and to make sure those who need the masks most receive them, Under Armour has partnered with a number of health care providers, which includes the University of Maryland Medical System.
Additional Community Support
Kevin Plank has a direct connection to Baltimore and the surrounding communities. In order to help the community Mr. Plank hasn’t stopped at the creation of hand sanitizer and no-sew masks. His companies have also donated $2 million to charities and non-profit organizations specifically for the fight against COVID-19 and to help those who are in most need of assistance. Under Armour has also donated food, supplies, not to mention additional storage space for medical service providers throughout Maryland.
Kevin Plank’s Connection To Baltimore
Mr. Plank has long had a strong connection with the city of Baltimore and Maryland in general. He grew up in the town of Kensington, which is just outside of Washington D.C. While he did attend a number of schools in the surrounding area, he eventually went to college at the University of Maryland in College Park. Since then he has gone on to become a billionaire with his Under Armour company. Thanks to his connection with Maryland, he decided to base the operations of UA in the state of Maryland and conduct many of his external ventures in Baltimore as well.