Indy businessman buys face mask factory from Cummins, promoting industry diversity – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather forecast
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis-based company, team cruiser is set to take over a mask manufacturing operation from Cummins Inc. While the masks will help fight COVID-19, the sale of the business is designed to help create equity.
Cummins said the sale was tied to its commitment to supporting black-owned businesses. Team Cruiser is already testing hardware to prepare to deploy masks in the thousands. Although this is a business move, it is a chance to create generational wealth, but also to fulfill an ongoing need.
The production of masks turns two years after the start of the pandemic. In 2020, Cummins opened its mask manufacturing operation. Now they have passed the reins and are selling the manufacturing rights to Indy-owned Team Cruiser.
“It’s nice to be able to have the opportunity to do something here that will have an impact and employ people,” said Team Cruiser President Christopher Barney. “Not just people of color, but hopefully people with disabilities and things of that nature, that we can give them the opportunity to earn a good living.”
A company that was founded on truck manufacturing and has now branched out into truck upfitting with things like plow couplers for cities and municipalities.
“Opportunities to buy manufacturing companies are very rare,” Barney said.
Barney said this venture is a groundbreaking chapter in the company’s 25-year history.
“We usually bought a product and sold it, or repaired the product that would belong to someone else. Well, it gave us a real opportunity to integrate and grow vertically,” he said.
Purchasing manufacturing rights provides the equipment needed to maintain production. This will eventually produce a product that will be available for hospital systems, schools, municipalities, and anyone else looking to buy.
In a statement, Cummins representatives said, “This exemplifies Cummins’ commitment to partnering with businesses of diverse interests and helping build generational wealth with business leaders of color.”
Barney says that having worked in business for so long, he plans to pass the next chapter on to his children.
“We don’t see this as an isolated case. We see this as an opportunity,” Barney said.
Team Cruiser expects to have operational operations by the third quarter of the year and to be fully operational by the end of the year.