Platinum Global Sourcing in Shelby Township still has some personal protective equipment left and is trying to find other organizations that could  use some help.

Platinum Global Sourcing in Shelby Township still has some personal protective equipment left and is trying to find other organizations that could use some help.

Photo provided by Platinum Global Sourcin

Business donates PPE items worth $150,000 to local organizations

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published December 17, 2020


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A Shelby Township business recently made a donation of more than $150,000 in personal protective equipment to local organizations in need and is looking to help even more that may be in need during the pandemic.

Ken (KW) Williamson, the CEO, and Susan Williamson, the president of Platinum Global Sourcing, have been donating PPE items to numerous facilities in Michigan, as well as North Carolina, in hopes of helping people stop the spread of COVID-19.

The business still has some left and they are trying to find other organizations that could use their help.

“If you know of any, by all means let us know,” said Ken Williamson.

Some of the organizations that the business has already donated to are:
• Covenant House in Detroit, which received 6,000 KN95 masks and 40 hand-held infrared thermometers.
• Pope Francis Center in Detroit, which received 6,000 KN95 masks and 80 hand-held infrared thermometers.
• Downtown Boxing Gym in Detroit, which received 500 KN95 masks, 12 hand-held infrared thermometers and 500 three-ply masks.
• Detroit Rescue Mission, which received 1,000 KN95 masks, 12 hand-held infrared thermometers and 1,000 three-ply masks.
• Mission of Hope in Flint, which received 200 KN95 masks and 40 hand-held infrared thermometers.
• Miscellaneous community businesses, which received 9,400 KN95 masks, 480 hand-held infrared thermometers and 21,600 three-ply masks.

“We are thrilled to know we have in a small way made a difference for many of these people,” Ken Williamson said.

He said the reason they decided to donate these items is that they ended up with a very large amount of inventory once the market was saturated, so rather than sitting on them, they wanted to help as many people as possible.

Kate Taveggia, the client relations manager at Platinum Global Sourcing, remembered the fear across the nation when the pandemic started.

“Ken (KW) Williamson, not missing a beat, was on top of what he thought would be the best thing he could do at the time, to order as much PPE as we could get from numerous suppliers that he has harbored close relations with over the last 30 years. Platinum Global Sourcing was receiving 20-30 calls a day from hospitals, fire departments, police departments, dentists’ offices, restaurants, medical offices, nail salons, etc., asking for our help,” she said.

She said they then began what was a long and exhausting undertaking over the next several weeks to get all the proper Food and Drug Administration certifications and packaging requirements for all the PPE items, in order to get them through customs and into the hands of hospitals, first responders and police departments.

“Hundreds of thousands of these items sat in customs … while we continued to watch the news and grow more apprehensive. One of our trucks was literally highjacked outside Chicago with 200,000 pieces of three-ply masks, and another was confiscated by the U.S. government in transit from Houston to Detroit,” Taveggia said.

She said she was amazed at some of the things that happened.

“It felt so unreal,” she said. “We witnessed things we would have never imagined in a million years. The hardest part of all of this was having to call our local heroes and let them know these much-needed items were not coming or at least would be delayed. This killed us because we knew they were relying on us and it is not how we run our everyday business.”

“When the items started to get released, we had shipments coming in every day, and our team kicked it into high gear — overnighting and personally delivering whatever was coming in our door, and we would ship them back out just as fast,” Taveggia said.

When everyone had their supply, their last big shipment arrived shortly afterward, which they personally ordered in an effort to help small businesses that could not order large quantities.

Along the way, the business experienced some setbacks.

“Our goal was to help supply these to as many Michigan small companies as possible. We even spoke to Sen. Pete Lucido, who put us in touch with the Governor’s Office and the Michigan Procurement Department, thinking this would help us and them. This unfortunately did not pan out for us, and in fact, Ken was asked to testify last summer in Lansing on what transpired with our PPE products vs. the state of Michigan,” she said.

She said that because their last shipment arrived so late, Ken and Susan Williamson made the final decision to donate everything. Their goal remains the same, which is to help everyone they can, so they began donating tens of thousands of KN95 masks, three-ply masks and medical-grade hand-held infrared thermometers.

Platinum Global Sourcing considered having one company come in with a truck and pick it all up at once, but they wanted to continue supporting smaller charities, churches and families in need, Taveggia said.

She said the pressure was nothing they had ever experienced before, and during the past eight months, Ken Williamson was going through radiation treatment for eight weeks straight; he and Susan Williamson still worked 90 hours a week for five months straight.

“Although it has been a long road, we do believe we have helped hundreds of thousands of people cope with this COVID pandemic and pray none of us ever have to go through this again. We are proud to not only live in Shelby Township, but we are also proud to have our business located here. It is a great community, which is why we did our very best to support and help as many small business owners as possible,” Taveggia said.