Oct. 28, 2011 — More than 60 members of the Greater Baltimore Committee “Insiders Access” Group got a first-hand look at Under Armour’s Tide Point headquarters on October 27 during an after-work reception and tour with Kevin Plank, the company’s founder and CEO.
Under Armour represents “the spirit of Baltimore business today,” GBC president and CEO Donald C. Fry said in introducing Plank to guests at the sold-out event, which was sponsored by the Daily Record.
“We thrive on innovation,” Plank told his audience gathered in the cafeteria of the Cheer Building, one of five buildings on the 14.6 acre complex where more than 1,100 Under Armour employees work.
“I want to build a great company, but I also want to deliver a message of what can happen” for entrepreneurs who pursue their business visions, Plank said.
He acknowledged the now-famous story of how, after graduating from the University of Maryland where he was a captain of the football team, he pursued his own vision for a better athletic tee shirt and transformed a business he started in his grandmother’s basement in 1996 into a performance apparel company that employs more than 4,000 worldwide and is projected to generate more than $1.4 billion in revenue in 2011.
Plank’s vision for Under Armour today continues the focus on innovation that has driven him and the company from Day One. “Great ideas will come from us, certainly,” he said. “But our job is to scour the world, search the earth” for new ideas.
“I want our company to become a hub for aggregating the best ideas in the world,” said Plank who, coincidentally, had just come from Under Armour’s “Innovation Day,” where elsewhere in the Cheer Building inventors and entrepreneurs presented their product ideas to Plank and his team.
Plank said he and his company are also driven by one uncompromising tenet: “We can never violate the trust consumers have in Under Armour.”
What other advice does Plank have for fledging entrepreneurs? “As great as you get, always remember where your home is,” he said.