Global power leader Cummins Inc. is using its U.S.- based mask-making operation, created to guard against the spread of COVID-19 in company facilities, to partner with a minority-owned business that wants to expand.
The equipment used to make masks at the Columbus Engine Plant in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.), has been sold to a Black businessman in nearby Indianapolis, who plans on creating a disability-friendly employer producing masks beyond the immediate response to the pandemic.
“This sale created a new Black American manufacturer,” said Helena Hutton, Senior Director of Cummins’ Center of Excellence for Supplier Inclusion in Strategic Purchasing. “It illustrates Cummins’ commitment to partner with diverse-owned companies and contribute to generational wealth-building with business leaders of color. I am proud to be part of a company that makes deals like this one happen.”
Christopher Barney, the owner of Team Cruiser, a logistics and supply company that has worked with Cummins in the past, hopes to offer masks for sale to the public later this year.
“We were very interested, for two specific reasons,” Barney said. “The first reason is the ability to learn and grow from a manufacturing perspective with a global manufacturing company like Cummins. The second reason is that it provides us the opportunity to impact and serve the communities that we live in by providing jobs and supplying a quality American-made personal protective equipment mask.”
THINKING OUT OF THE BOX
In 2020, Cummins established mask-making operations in the United States, Mexico, and India to provide some 10 million masks to its employees worldwide. With the pandemic seeming to wind down in the United States as more people get vaccinated, and with a healthy surplus of masks at the ready if needed in the U.S., the time was right for the company to think about selling the operations in Columbus, said Cummins Partnership Strategy Manager Tarek Elharis.