Top state officials and leaders in Utah’s tech sector gathered Wednesday to greet a plane at Salt Lake International Airport stuffed with personal protective equipment.
Leaders said the shipment — one of several arriving in the coming weeks — was sourced by the tech sector, which helped establish overseas supply chains for masks, gowns and other essential products.
State officials commended software company CEO Josh James and Taylor Shupe, a businessman in the clothing industry, for their work getting the supplies to Utah.
James, who leads Utah County firm, Domo, said he was moved to act hearing personal stories from employees about suffering family members.
Shupe, a 2007 graduate of Brigham Young University, is a “factory builder.”
His ventures include sock brand Stance, and Future Stitch, another apparel manufacturer with a presence in China.
“This is something that’s pretty amazing for us to be a part of,” Shupe said. “It’s been our mission to bring these products at no additional charges to governments.”
With significant fraud around the world, where exactly is Utah’s equipment coming from?
“It’s us going in and signing contracts with suppliers that we have relationships with and we’re bringing it in through our own trading company,” Shupe said.
The equipment is coming direct from factories inspected by Chinese officials. Shupe said faulty equipment that’s turned up around the world is often coming from third parties between the factories and buyers.
Utah is paying $1.43 per mask, a price Shupe says is well below what other states are paying.
The supply that arrived Wednesday will be sent to hospitals, health departments and public safety agencies first, state officials said.
Gov. Gary Herbert described public-private partnerships as “the Utah way.”
Lieutenant Gov. Spencer Cox described the purchase and how it came together as a “Dunkirk moment.”