Columbus-based Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) is getting out of its mask-making operations it launched during the pandemic. The powertrain maker says it has sold the equipment to Team Cruiser, a Black-owned supply company in Indianapolis.
Cummins started manufacturing its own masks two years ago to provide the personal protective equipment to its workers around the globe, making more than 10 million during that time.
“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 U.S. operations in Columbus, Indiana,” said Cummins Partnership Strategy Manager Tarek Elharis. “The company never intended to produce masks beyond the pandemic.”
Team Cruiser says it plans on creating a disability-friendly workplace to produce masks beyond the immediate response to the pandemic.
“We were very interested, for two specific reasons,” said Team Cruiser Owner Christopher Barney. “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.”
Barney says he hopes to offer masks for sale to the public later this year. He says the company is working with several veterans’ groups and organizations serving people with disabilities to create a safe workspace with career opportunities.