CPA member Zekelman Industries funded $1 million of a $1.1 million operation to airlift 534 American citizens out of Kabul, Afghanistan.
Zekelman’s donation went to fund two flights that were part of the Task Force Argo mission in and out of Kabul. The steel tubing manufacturing in the U.S. and Canada was first contacted by Army veteran Jim Young, a manager of Austin, Texas-based commercial real estate firm Sabot Development. Young reached out to Executive Vice President Mickey McNamara and Chairman and CEO Barry Zekelman who hopped on board instantly.
“We went all in when our good friend and business partner Jim Young reached out to see if we could support this,” Zekelman said.
“We felt privileged to be able to do so — to support those who have served and to play a part in rescuing American citizens, lawful permanent residents, spouses and children. It was the right thing to do. When we say, ‘Life Reinforced,’ it’s more than a marketing campaign to us; it’s a purpose statement. And this is a great example of what it means.”
The Task Force Argo team handled all the logistics and completed the mission in six days. The team is continuing to work to secure safe passage for all evacuees to their final destinations.
The Task Force is run by volunteers, including Department of Defense personnel, active duty service members and veterans, current and former intelligence officers and police, elected officials, former special operators, military pilots, diplomats, defense industry executives, and subject matter experts.
The Task Force tracks, safeguards, feeds and houses families in Afghanistan while they await evacuation. They also fundraise, which is how Zekelman got involved. They also pay for privately chartered flights to move families around once out of Afghanistan.
They work through formal and informal channels within the U.S. government and do not interact with the Afghanistan government or militias of any kind.
Zekelman Industries includes the operating divisions of Atlas Tube, Picoma, Sharon Tube, Wheatland Tube, Western Tube and Z Modular. It is the largest independent manufacturer of hollow structural sections and steel pipe.