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COVID-19 Webinar Series: Supply Chain Challenges & Opportunities

May 11, 2020  | WEBINAR

3:00 pm EDT

The spread of COVID-19 around the world has drastically altered the way in which people interact with consumer goods. As shelter-in-place orders went into effect around the world, people flocked to stores to stock up on months’ worth of products normally not bought in bulk, while production facilities were slowed or completely shut down as precautionary measures. As a result, companies have witnessed a significant disruption to their supply chains and have struggled to keep up with the shifting landscape and pace of consumerism and production caused by the wide-spread lockdowns. This strain on systems has brought to light many weaknesses in current supply chains, both nationally and internationally, which must be addressed to secure the global economy. These global repercussions are heavily influenced by the ever-changing economic and political pressures between the US, China, and multilateral organizations such as the World Health Organization, and the perspectives they take on how to address the public health and economic crisis we now face.

Moderated by Concordia Senior Advisor Ambassador Nancy Brinker, this webinar heard directly from United States Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) and Founder and CEO of WeatherTech David MacNeil, about how the U.S. Government is working with the private sector to protect supply chains, ensure a safe reopening of the economy, and a vision of US leadership on the global stage in a time of crisis.



  • COVID-19 has caused many companies to face significant disruptions to their supply chains as they keep up with the shifting landscape and pace of consumerism caused by the wide-spread lockdowns. This strain on systems has brought to light many weaknesses in current supply chains, both nationally and internationally. Senator Scott shared his opinion that in the US the emphasis needs to be placed on buying American products; this will not only bolster the domestic economy but also support domestic jobs, which is critical given the country’s record-high unemployment rate. Senator Scott suggested that US retailers should have utmost transparency around their supply chains to enable US consumers to make informed, sustainable decisions. 
  • Ambassador Brinker asked David MacNeil about the experiences of his company, WeatherTech, in relation to production supply, as well as the steps needed to bolster manufacturing capacity in the US. MacNeil explained that WeatherTech creates all its products in Illinois, with the company’s factories and supply chains based in the US. As a result, WeatherTech’s supply chains have not been drastically affected by COVID-19. 
  • In relation to strengthening the US economy, the speakers alluded to the importance of the US government supporting the middle class through the pandemic and ensuring that supply chains are resilient to enable food, water, and healthcare supplies to get to those who need them most. 
  • The conversation also explored the efforts of the US government to determine the genesis of the pandemic in China and how possible missteps in the response to its initial spread led to broader problems down the road. Especially during times of crisis, the international community needs to work together to find the best available solutions. Central to Concordia’s mission, cooperation between the public and private sectors is vital to containing the further spread of the coronavirus.   
  • With the coronavirus impacting every aspect of the 2020 US general election from its rhetoric to its execution, webinar participants were polled on what specific aspect of today’s pandemic will dominate the 2020 general election rhetoric the most. Respondents answered as follows: 
        • 29% — Social safety net programs, such as the federal stimulus checks sent to Americans
        • 33% — Local, state, and national policies regarding containment
        • 33% — Government-managed testing accessibility and affordability
        • 5% — Direct federal government support for hospitals and health centers
  • Based on the poll results, it is clear that the US government’s response to today’s pandemic needs to be multifaceted. This multifaceted approach is critical to maintaining current supply chains as well as effective communication and cooperation between the public and private sectors.  


For more information, including how to attend future LEADERSHIP SERIES EVENTS & WEBINARs, please email MEMBERSHIP@CONCORDIA.NET