Kevin Plank
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Kevin Plank
Kevin Plank
Kevin Plank - UA photo.JPG
Born (1972-08-13) August 13, 1972 (age 45)
Kensington, Maryland, U.S.
Residence Lutherville, Maryland, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Maryland, College Park
Occupation Businessman
Known for Founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Under Armour
Salary $2,434,209 (2015)[1]
Net worth Increase US $2.1 billion (February 2018)[2]
Desiree Guerzon
Children 2

Kevin A. Plank (born August 13, 1972) is an American entrepreneur and businessman. Plank is the founder, CEO and Chairman of Under Armour, a manufacturer of sports performance apparel, footwear and accessories, based in Baltimore. His net worth, according to Forbes, as of February 14, 2018, is USD $1.8 billion.

Early life

Plank, a Roman Catholic,[3] grew up in Kensington, Maryland, a suburb of Washington D.C., the youngest of five brothers born to William and Jayne (née Harper) Plank.[4][5] His father was a prominent Maryland land developer. His mother is a former mayor of Kensington, who went on to direct the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the United States Department of State under President Ronald Reagan.[6]

Plank grew up playing youth football with the Maplewood Sports Association; a Maplewood team has appeared in Under Armour commercials.[4][7] He left the prestigious Georgetown Preparatory School, a Catholic school, due to poor academic performance and behavioral issues,[8][9] then went on to graduate from another Catholic school, St. John's College High School, in 1990.[8][10] Afterward, he played football at Fork Union Military Academy for a year, trying to get the attention of NCAA Division I schools.[10][11] He was not recruited by the top-tier collegiate football programs.[11]

However, he went to University of Maryland, College Park and walked onto the team there.[11] He graduated in 1996[4][12] with a bachelor's degree in business administration.[13]

His roommate at Maryland was a football player and professional wrestler Darren Drozdov. Following a 1999 in-ring accident which left Drozdov quadriplegic, Plank personally financed his customized wheelchair.[14]

Career

While at University of Maryland, Plank launched Cupid's Valentine, a seasonal business selling roses on Valentine's Day. Cupid's Valentine earned $17,000, which Plank used as seed money for Under Armour.[4] He continued to use the "Cupid" name when he later launched his Cupid's Cup competition.[15]

Under Armour

The idea that led to Under Armour was sparked while playing for the Maryland Terrapins, Plank said he was the "sweatiest guy on the football field".[12][4] Frustrated by his cotton T-shirts' inability to keep him dry and comfortable, he searched for a material that would wick the sweat from his body.[16] After graduating from Maryland, Plank searched for synthetic materials that would keep athletes dry. Using a mix of his own cash, credit cards, and a Small Business Administration loan, he launched the business.[6] Plank tried several prototypes before deciding on the one he wanted to use.[10]

Plank originally sought to call his new sportswear company Heart, but he could not trademark it.[17] He also attempted to name his company Body Armor, but efforts to trademark that name were also unsuccessful.[17] One day, his brother asked him, "How's that company you're working on ... Under Armor?" The name stuck.[17] Plank said he chose the British spelling "armour" because he "thought the phone number 888-4RMOUR was much more compelling than 888-44ARMOR".[17]

Plank initially ran the business from his grandmother's town house in Georgetown.[12] Under Armour's first shirt was the #0037, which Plank sold from his car.[18] He also asked his former teammates to try on the shirts, claiming that his alternative to a cotton T-shirt would enhance their performance on the field. As his friends moved on to play professionally, he would send them T-shirts, requesting that they pass them out to other players in their locker rooms. His first big team sale was to Georgia Tech.[19] In 1996, Plank finished his first year selling shirts with $17,000 in sales.[6]

A turning point for him came late in 1999, when Plank used nearly all of Under Armour's money, and employees agreed to go without paychecks for a few weeks, so the company could take out a $25,000 advertisement in ESPN The Magazine.[20] The ad resulted in $1 million in direct sales for the following year, and athletes and teams began buying the product.[16] Plank's company reached $1 billion annual revenue for the first time in 2010, and Plank became a billionaire in 2011, when his net worth was estimated at $1.05 billion.[21]

Between 2014 and 2016, Under Armour spent close to $1 billion to acquire makers of activity- and diet-tracking mobile apps.[22][23][24] Many long-term employees questioned Plank's strategy and whether the company would produce a return on their investment. Plank spent hours in one-on-one conversations to try and persuade those employees."It was important," Plank said, "that this not just be my decision. The strategy was a success, earning the company the world's largest digital health-and-fitness community, with 150 million users.[24]

As CEO, Plank oversees a company that generated US$5 billion in annual revenue and employed about 15,800 people as of December 31, 2017.[25][26]

Plank is a member of the board of trustees for the National Football Foundation.[27]

Sagamore Farm

Plank bought the 530-acre historic Sagamore Farm in Baltimore County, Maryland, in 2007.[28] The property was once owned by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt.[29] The farm was the home to stallion Native Dancer, who went 21 for 22 during his racing career from 1952-1954.[30] Plank has said he seeks to restore the farm and rejuvenate Maryland's horse racing tradition by raising a Triple Crown winning horse.[31][30] On November 5, 2010, Sagamore Farms' Shared Account won the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (GI).[32] There are about 100 horses on Sagamore farm, with about 40 actively training as of July 2017.[33]

Plank Industries

Beginning in 2013,[34] Plank's real estate firm, Sagamore Development, was leading a $5.5-billion mixed-use development project in Baltimore's Port Covington area.[35] The company had acquired approximately 235 acres in the area[34] and planned to build a mix of offices, residential areas, retail space, parks, boat launches and more.[36][37]

Plank also founded the whiskey distillery Sagamore Spirit in 2013.[38] He was initially approached about creating a vineyard, but being a whiskey enthusiast he asked his business partner to research whiskey.[39] The limestone aquifer on Plank's farm produced water fit to distill whiskey,[19] so Plank and business partner Bill McDermond founded Sagamore Spirits to restore Maryland's whiskey distilling tradition.[38] Its first bottles were sold at stores in 2016.[38]

Plank renovated the former Recreation Pier building in Fells Point, Baltimore.[35] The building was originally built in 1914 to store port cargo and later served as a community center and studio for the television series Homicide: Life on the Street; it closed in 1999.[40] Following Plank's renovation, the building reopened as the Sagamore Pendry Hotel.[35]

Plank Industries also bought and revamped the water taxi in Inner Harbor.[41]

Personal life

Plank married his wife, Desiree Guerzon, in 2003.[4] They have two children.[4] Plank lives in Lutherville, Maryland.[13] As of February 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth at US$1.8 billion.[13]

Activism

Politics

According to the Federal Election Commission, Plank has donated to both major U.S. political parties and to individuals of both parties.[42] On CNBC's Halftime Report in February 2017, Plank commented on President Donald Trump's pro-business philosophy, saying the president was a "real asset" to the business community.[43] Plank's comments drew criticism on social media. As some customers vowed to boycott the brand, three major endorsers--Stephen Curry, ballerina Misty Copeland, and actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson--went on Twitter to express their opposition.[44] Johnson called Plank's words "divisive".[44] In the days following the remarks, Plank bought a full-page advertisement in The Baltimore Sun to clarify his comments. In the ad, Plank said Under Armour stood for job creation, but publicly opposed the president's proposed travel ban.[45]

Plank sat on the President Trump's American Manufacturing Council. He stepped down from the council following President Trump's comments on violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, saying Under Armour "engages in innovation and sports, not politics".[46] Additionally, he publicly opposed President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord[47] and was among the Fortune 500 CEOs to sign a pledge to promote workplace diversity and inclusion.[48]

Philanthropy

Baltimore

Plank donated $1 million through The Cupid Foundation to the Baltimore-based CollegeBound in 2016.[49] The next year, his charitable arm funded 40 summer jobs for Cherry Hill, Baltimore, public school students in the maritime transport industry.[50]

Plank is also active within the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., communities, as a member of the Greater Baltimore Committee[51] and Greater Washington Partnership.[52] He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Living Classrooms, a Baltimore-Washington based non-profit organization dedicated to the hands-on education of young people using urban, natural and maritime environments as "living classrooms".[53] Through his Cupid Foundation, Plank donated $5 million to help create the UA House at Fayette, an East Baltimore community center run by Living Classrooms.[54]

Entrepreneurship

Plank has been a long-time supporter of the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. In addition to sitting on the University's Board of Trustees, he played an integral role in the development of an endowment fund that the Dingman Center uses to invest in viable startup businesses.[55] He is also responsible for the development of the Cupid's Cup business competition. The competition got its name from his "Cupid's Valentine" rose business he began while attending the University.[56]

School giving

In November 2014, Plank pledged $25 million to the University of Maryland to be used for the proposed athletics and academic complex.[57] The project will convert Cole Field House, the school's former basketball arena, into the football facility, a sports medicine center and student entrepreneurship lab.[58] In 2015, Plank pledged $16 million to St. John's College High School in Chevy Chase, Maryland, to fund athletics, academics and entrepreneurship initiatives.[59] Plank donated $1 million to the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 2016 to help 100 more children go to Catholic school.[3]

References

  1. ^ "Definitive Proxy Statement". EDGAR. March 11, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Kevin Plank profile". Forbes. Retrieved 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Green, Erica L. (September 7, 2016). "Kevin Plank donates $1 million to Baltimore Catholic schools". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Dessauer, Carin (March-April 2009). "Team player". Bethesda Magazine. Retrieved 2017. 
  5. ^ Shah, Ritika (January 7, 2016). "How Kevin Plank turned a single idea into a global brand". CNBC. Retrieved 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Graham, Scott (December 29, 2003). "2003 Businessperson of the year: The man behind the 'armour'". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved 2017.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Graham03" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  7. ^ McKenna, Dave (November 24, 2006). "Under Armour uses locals to go global". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Shapiro, T. Rees (November 7, 2015). "Under Armour founder gives $16 million to St. John's College High". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017. 
  9. ^ Murphy Jr., Bill (October 29, 2015). "How the founder of Under Armour went from getting kicked out of high school to running a $22 billion company". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c Palmisano, Trey (April 9, 2009). "From rags to microfiber: inside the rapid rise of Under Armour". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c Fagone, Jason (August 20, 2013). "Kevin Plank, the man under the armour". Men's Journal. Retrieved 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c Roberts, Daniel (November 7, 2011). "Under Armour Gets Serious". Fortune. 164 (7): 156. ISSN 0015-8259. Retrieved 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c "Kevin Plank". Forbes. 2017. Retrieved 2017. 
  14. ^ Ross, Jim. "WWE's Darren Drozdov thrives 15 years after being paralyzed during match". FOX Sports. Retrieved 2016. 
  15. ^ Eichensehr, Morgan (February 22, 2017). "Five finalists chosen for Kevin Plank's Cupid's Cup competition". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved 2017. 
  16. ^ a b Heath, Thomas (January 24, 2010). "Taking on the giants: How Under Armour founder Kevin Plank is going head-to-head with the industry's biggest players". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011. 
  17. ^ a b c d O'Reilly, Lara (November 19, 2015). "15 surprising facts about Under Armour". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017. 
  18. ^ Palafox, Christopher James (2014). "Under Armour's real estate MVP". American Builders Quarterly. Retrieved 2017. 
  19. ^ a b Foster, Time (February 2016). "Kevin Plank is betting almost $1 billion that Under Armour can beat Nike". Inc. Retrieved 2017. 
  20. ^ Allaire16, Christian (May 2, 2016). "20 things you didn't know about Under Armour". Footwear News. Retrieved 2017. 
  21. ^ Durgy, Edwin (December 2, 2011). "Under Armour founder breaks into billionaires club". Forbes. Retrieved 2017. 
  22. ^ "Under Armour acquires weight loss app, MyFitnessPal, for $475 million dollars". The Verge. Retrieved 2018. 
  23. ^ "Under Armour Buys Apps in Bid to Become Top Fitness Tracker". Bloomberg.com. February 4, 2015. Retrieved 2018. 
  24. ^ a b "Kevin Plank Is Betting Almost $1 Billion That Under Armour Can Beat Nike". Inc.com. January 6, 2016. Retrieved 2018. 
  25. ^ "2017 Annual Report" (PDF). Under Armour. 2018. p. 4. Retrieved 2018. 
  26. ^ "Form 10-K". Under Armour. 2017. p. 9. Retrieved 2018. 
  27. ^ "Under Armour Inc". Reuters. Retrieved 2017. 
  28. ^ Sherman, Natalie (December 23, 2015). "Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank embarks on megamansion in Baltimore County". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017. 
  29. ^ McKee, Sandra (April 27, 2012). "Sagamore Farm history comes alive with visit from a Vanderbilt". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017. 
  30. ^ a b Unger, Mike (May 2011). "Ponying up". Baltimore. Retrieved 2018. 
  31. ^ "Kevin Plank, founder of Under Armour, enters horse in Preakness". Sports Illustrated. May 14, 2012. Retrieved 2017. 
  32. ^ "BC Winner Shared Account retired". Bloodhorse.com. November 17, 2011. Retrieved 2017. 
  33. ^ Walker, Childs (July 12, 2017). "50 things to do or see in Maryland sports: Visit Native Dancer's grave at Sagamore Farm". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017. 
  34. ^ a b Patrick Sisson (April 11, 2017). "In Baltimore, Under Armour's owner invests in a $5.5 billion bet on his city". Curbed. Retrieved 2018. 
  35. ^ a b c Hoppert, Melissa (May 16, 2017). "Remaking Baltimore's waterfront, with a splash of whiskey". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017. 
  36. ^ Sun, Baltimore. "Marylander of the Year: Kevin Plank". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 2017. 
  37. ^ Sherman, Natalie. "Plank's Sagamore Development plans start-up hub in Port Covington". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 2017. 
  38. ^ a b c Gantz, Sarah (April 20, 2017). "Sagamore Spirit debuts its distillery in Port Covington". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017. 
  39. ^ Foster, Tom (May 11, 2016). "Under Armour's Kevin Plank enters the whiskey wars". Inc. Retrieved 2017. 
  40. ^ Sherman, Natalie (March 21, 2017). "Historic Recreation Pier reopens as Sagamore Pendry Hotel". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017. 
  41. ^ Campbell, Colin (November 7, 2016). "Sagamore unveils first new Baltimore water taxi, a historic Chesapeake throwback". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017. 
  42. ^ "Search Campaign Finance Data by Individual Contributor". fec.gov. Retrieved 2017. 
  43. ^ Barker, Jeff (February 7, 2017). "Kevin Plank praises Trump as 'passionate' and pro-business". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017. 
  44. ^ a b Mirabella, Lorraine (February 15, 2017). "Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank responds to Trump tempest with letter to Baltimore". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2018. 
  45. ^ Singer, Michael (February 15, 2017). "Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank clarifies Trump comments in Baltimore Sun ad". USA Today. Retrieved 2017. 
  46. ^ Rosenfeld, Everett (February 14, 2017). "Under Armour CEO adds his name to those leaving Trump's manufacturing council". CNBC. Retrieved 2017. 
  47. ^ Barrabi, Thomas (June 2, 2017). "Under Armour's Kevin Plank rips decision to exit Paris climate agreement". Fox Business. Retrieved 2017. 
  48. ^ Wilen, Holden (June 12, 2017). "Joe Sullivan, Kevin Plank among 150 CEOs pledging to improve workplace diversity and inclusion". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved 2017. 
  49. ^ Green, Erica L. "Kevin Plank donates $1 million to Baltimore's CollegeBound Foundation". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 2017. 
  50. ^ Duncan, Ian (May 22, 2017). "Kevin Plank's foundation funds summer jobs for Cherry Hill students". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017. 
  51. ^ Adam Bednar (28 July 2016). "Greater Baltimore Committee backs Port Covington TIF". The Daily Record. Retrieved 2018. 
  52. ^ Sarah Gantz (September 21, 2017). "Transportation workforce development to be top priorities for Greater Washington Partnership". Baltmore Sun. Retrieved 2018. 
  53. ^ Carey Milligan (November 22, 2016). "Kevin Plank, Living Classrooms Foundation unveil UA House in East Baltimore". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved 2018. 
  54. ^ Mirabella, Lorraine (November 21, 2016). "Under Armour re-imagines a community center in East Baltimore". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017. 
  55. ^ Cho, Hanah (October 9, 2007). "2 top UM business alumni set fund". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017. 
  56. ^ Sullivan, Joanna. "Kevin Plank's Cupid's Cup picks College Park startup for top prize". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved 2017. 
  57. ^ Barker, Jeff (November 20, 2014). "Plank giving $25 million for UM athletic, academic project". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2014. 
  58. ^ Barker, Jeff (November 20, 2014). "Plank giving $25 million for UM athletic, academic project". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2014. 
  59. ^ Dinsmore, Christopher (November 9, 2015). "Under Armour's Kevin Plank gives $16 million to high school alma mater". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017. 

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