Born：August 13, 1972 (1972-08-13) (age 39)
Kensington, Maryland, U.S.
Occupation：Founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Under Armour
Kevin A. Plank (born August 13, 1972) is an American CEO and founder of Under Armour, Inc., a leading manufacturer of sports performance apparel, footwear and accessories based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States.
Plank is the youngest of five brothers, born into a competitive, tight-knit Roman Catholic family. His mother was the mayor of Kensington, Maryland. He was removed from Georgetown Preparatory School because of poor academic performance, but went on to play football at Fork Union Military Academy. Plank graduated from St. John's College High School, in Washington, D.C., where he remains an active alumnus. Plank then attended the University of Maryland.
At the University of Maryland, Plank avoided rules that restricted student athletes from taking jobs by launching businesses of his own. Plank developed Cupid’s Valentine, an annual business that sold roses for Valentine’s Day. He put away $17,000 from the rose business, which eventually became seed money for Under Armour.
The original concept for Under Armour was born out of necessity, as Plank was the self-proclaimed “sweatiest guy on the football field.” Frustrated by his sweat-soaked cotton t-shirts' inability to keep him dry and comfortable, he started the hunt for a material that would wick the sweat from his body to make him lighter and faster.
From local tailor shops in College Park, Maryland to the garment district of New York City, Plank, upon graduating from Maryland in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, searched for synthetic materials to test his hypothesis. Plank ran through seven prototypes before deciding on the one he wanted to use. He then asked his former teammates to try on the shirts, explaining that his alternative to a basic cotton T-shirt would enhance their performance on the field. As Plank's 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.
A turning point for Plank and his start-up, Under Armour, which was now based out of a Georgetown rowhouse owned by his grandmother, came late in 1999. A $25,000 advertisement in ESPN Magazine spurred $1 million in direct sales for the following year and athletes and teams began buying the product.
In 2003, Under Armour’s first TV advertisement featured a football squad huddled around Plank’s former University of Maryland teammate Eric Ogbogu, shouting “we must protect this house.” The phrase became shorthand for the Under Armour brand and can be seen and heard throughout college football stadiums across the country.
Plank still draws upon his basic athletic values at the office. In lieu of meetings, Under Armour has “huddles,” and posted on the wall in most conference rooms are the “Under Armour Huddle” rules, which encourage workers to “be prepared to huddle,” “manage the clock,” “know your position,” “run the huddle,” “execute the play” and “respect your teammates.” These dictums are at the heart of what has made Under Armour so successful.
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, Plank played an integral role in the development of an endowment fund that the Dingman Center uses to invest in viable startup businesses. Plank is also responsible for the development of the annual Cupid’s Cup business competition. The competition got its name from Plank’s “Cupid’s Valentine” rose business he began while attending the University.
In addition to his involvement with his alma mater, Plank also stays active within the Baltimore and Washington DC communities sitting on the Board of Directors for the Baltimore City Fire Foundation, the Greater Baltimore Committee and Greater Washington Sports Alliance. 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."
On a national level, Plank is also a member the Board of Trustees for the National Football Foundation and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. His involvement in philanthropy has also translated to his business. Under Armour supports the V Foundation for cancer research and has its own Power in Pink campaign, raising funds for breast cancer research and education. In addition, Under Armour supports The Boomer Esiason Foundation, The Rock Foundation, Ronald McDonald House and Conservation Fund. The Company also has a “Give Back” program, encouraging employees to become involved with local charities.