U.S. Engineering Company Holdings CEO Tyler Nottberg teamed up with other local business leaders to secure 50,000 COVID-19 test kits for the Kansas City area. The world has changed dramatically in the last few weeks due to the outbreak of COVID-19, a disease caused by a strand of coronavirus. And in response, KC-area business leaders formed the Kansas City COVID-19 Task Force in order to “address gaps that won’t be addressed by governments and health care systems because they are so involved on the front line,” according to Nottberg.
The task force consists of Nottberg, NorthPoint Development CEO Nathaniel Hagedorn, Tradebot CEO Dave Cummings, Russell Stover Chocolates CEO Andy Deister and MTAR CEO Taimoor Nana. With a range of expertise and networks, the group hopes to be able to identify ways the business community can assist government and health officials and expedite Kansas City’s response to the pandemic.
But the group also hopes to spur other business leaders to action. As Hagedorn notes in an interview with the Kansas City Business Journal, “This is a battle being fought out in minutes and hours…If we can inspire business people to step up, it can make a big difference.”
Last week Nottberg reached out to KU Health System CEO Bob Page, asking what the System needed, and Hagedorn contacted BGI Genomics, a company that provided testing in China. When they discovered BGI housed 50,000 test kits in a warehouse in San Jose, Calif., waiting for approval for use in the United States, the Task Force quickly raised the $1.2 million for the test kits and two machines to process tests, and bought them. The group then partnered with KU Health, which will provide facilities and staff, and soon after the states of Kansas and Missouri pledged help with logistics. Testing should be ready to begin next week.
From here, the Task Force plans to move quickly and with agility, seeking to obtain more medical supplies and equipment, including masks and gowns. As Nottberg notes in the KCBJ, “The more action we take today, on an hourly basis, the better off we’ll be in the future.”
In a note to U.S. Engineering team members about the Task Force, Nottberg said, “Our communities are proactive and generous…Our organization is about leading with action, not just talk, so I hope this work inspires others around our communities and the country to do the same.”