Page 34 - Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Magazine
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Helping bridge PPE gaps amid a pandemic
 “How can I help?”
It was the first thought that popped into Mohamed Mory Diané’s head when
the COVID-19 pandemic swept into the United States. Entrepreneurial by nature, Mory had a few ideas.
Correction: Mory had a lot of ideas.
“At first I thought of different ways to
raise money to help, then I thought
about manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE), and then I began wondering if I could partner with someone to develop a home virus test kit,” said Mory, a 2007 Penn State civil engineering graduate who is currently enrolled in the Penn State Online Master of Business Administration Program led by the Smeal College of Business and delivered by Penn State World Campus. “Unfortunately, I did not have the knowledge base or the capital to pursue those ideas.”
His thoughts turned to PPE—specifically, facemasks. As the founder of a start-
up company in the 3D printer additive manufacturing space, Mory has many contacts with factories in China. When that country’s economy began reopening after its battle with coronavirus, he started to receive emails from his Chinese suppliers.
“They told me they were making masks now and asked if I needed any,” Mory said. “I knew that medical workers in the U.S. were reusing masks or even using bandanas. I decided not to sit and watch but instead bridge this gap and connect medical facilities and individuals directly to the manufacturers.”
The ball in Mory’s head began rolling.
An Entrepreneurial Spirit
A native of the West African country
of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Mory emigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was 15. At Penn State, he was
a civil engineering major and a national champion boxer his senior year. The tenacity and drive required for such a feat has carried into his post-college life, as have two Penn State Values: responsibility and community.
After moving around the country due to his line of work, Mory landed in Arizona where he currently works for Arizona Public Service as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Consultant at the Palo Verde nuclear power plant. He founded his start-up company on the side, which gave him the connections in China to launch
KORVEX, a new company that is serving as a bridge between Chinese factories making facemasks and U.S. medical personnel who need them.
“I wanted a company name that sounded medical, but I also grew up on Japanese anime and American comic books, so the name is based on Superman’s father’s birth name, which is Cor-Vex. I just respelled it,” he said.
Things moved quickly. Within a week of having the idea, Mory had a website up and running.
“I’ve been communicating with the suppliers in China and negotiating with them to get quality products for the
best price,” Mory said. “I picked some N95 masks from select factories and carefully verified the U.S. FDA and NIOSH certification of the manufacturers, because only those masks are officially approved for use in hospitals. I’m also focusing on getting them shipped express for free.”
One of Mory’s sounding boards throughout the process was Smeal’s Shawn Clark, the Michael J. Farrell Endowed Professor for Entrepreneurship. Clark teaches the Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship course Mory took.

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