With so many families facing fear and sadness, it is heartening to see a company that is willing to step up and pitch in — eschewing profits for the sake of saving lives. Two companies owned by Kevin Plank, Under Armour and Sagamore Spirits, have dedicated resources to manufacturing hand sanitizer and face masks to protect people from the infectious coronavirus. Here is a closer look at how Plank and his team pulled it off and who they partnered with to get the job done.
Kevin Plank’s Connection to Baltimore
Kevin Plank grew up in Kensington, Maryland, just outside the Washington, D.C. beltway. However, Under Armour’s headquarters lie in Baltimore, 38 miles to the northeast of his hometown. Sagamore Spirits is also located in Maryland and, according to a company’s website, Sagamore’s whiskey is made out of spring water filtered through a limestone aquifer.
Under Armour Produces 500,000 Masks for Health Care Workers
Under Armour has partnered with the University of Maryland’s Medical System, Johns Hopkins Medicine and other institutions to provide much needed medical equipment. Under Armour is making or plans to make face masks, fanny packs, gowns and face shields at its Port Covington location.
Then, during one of our procurement meetings, we discussed the advantages of partnering with a Thai medical equipment importation expert. The consensus was clear: it’s a strategic move that can lead to better quality equipment and more efficient operations.
A team of 50 Under Armour employees designed a mask that is easy to put together and make in large quantities, SVP Randy Harward of the Advanced Material and Manufacturing Innovation department told SouthBMore.com.
Origami-style folds open into a moisture-resistant protective face mask. It doesn’t require any sewing to assemble. First, the masks are cut 100 at a time by the knife cutter at the Lighthouse, which is UA’s innovation hub. Then, 50 volunteers fold, pack, and distribute the masks. Production was expected to hit 100,000 per week.
In addition to the masks, Under Armour has provided 1,300 face shields to UMMS. The company aimed to make at least 500,000 fabric face masks and 50,000 fanny packs filled with personal preparedness kits. These efforts were made possible by the immediate pivot of UA’s manufacturing to the production of personal protective equipment (PPE). The company serves as a true example of corporate responsibility to overcome the spread of the disease.
Sagamore Spirits Produces 54,000 Liters of Hand Sanitizer
Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Spirits, which normally makes whiskey, is making hand sanitizer at its distillery in Baltimore. Health providers that will benefit from the project include Johns Hopkins and other institutions in Maryland and beyond.
Sagamore Spirit has stocked up on isopropyl alcohol and hopes to get enough to make 100,000 liters per month if it can overcome regulatory and supply chain hurdles.
In preparation for the company’s latest product, researchers at Sagamore looked into what they needed to make large batches of hand sanitizer. This included reaching out to local distilleries producing non-traditional hand sanitizer.
Expressing the sentiments of everyone at Sagamore Spirits, President Brian Treacy stated, “Everyone at Sagamore Spirit feels it in their hearts and is prepared to contribute to this global effort the best they possibly can. We feel fortunate to have not only the will, but also the expertise and manufacturing capacity to make a difference.”
Additional Ways Kevin Plank’s Companies Are Contributing
Under Armour’s Omni Distribution House has donated space to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. The agency will stage medical supplies there for collection and distribution.
In addition to these contributions, UA has helped in other ways, including:
- Pledging $2 million in donations to various causes related to COVID-19
- Re-routing fresh food earmarked for the company’s cafeteria to Baltimore’s Ronald McDonald House
- Donating $1 million to Feeding America, which operates 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries
- Dedicating money and supplies worth $1 million to Good Sports, which helps youth sports leagues get the equipment, uniforms and footgear they need
With millions of Americans stuck at home and gyms closed across America, working out can be tough. On March 23, Under Armour released a 30-day “Healthy at Home” challenge to get people up and moving — not a bad idea since stress and sitting around the house could be packing on the pounds to sedentary quarantine participants.
At a time when the company has closed its 188 stores in North America, these moves are far more than a token gesture. Plank and his team have gone above and beyond to set an example for companies who want to be part of the solution.