Outlier Automation: Switching Gears to Produce Hand Sanitizer During Covid-19

| By Kaela Roeder

Certified LGBTBE® suppliers are changemakers in any context. Now, as the world faces down a pandemic, their drive and skill becomes more important and relevant than ever. Outlier Automaton LLC, which is in the process of obtaining its certification from NGLCC, is no exception.

“Outlier Automation is an industrial automation integrator focused on software development for a variety of industries,” said co-founder Liz Brooks-Zak. 

The company provides a variety of engineering services, including programming automated machines that fill pharmaceutical vials, irrigate farms, or run processes for creating plastics. Outlier Automation also works with industrial customers to add equipment to their facility that makes their workers safer while performing product assembly. 

Outlier Automation is also in the process of becoming certified through NGLCC. 

“We have found tremendous support through our personal and professional networks and other companies eager to do what they can to help us. We are looking forward to continuing to expand our network through NGLCC,” Brooks-Zak said.  Brooks-Zak went on to say she  is excited to certify Outlier Automation, as it will bring increased visibility to the company and their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“We don’t see a lot of diversity in the U.S. manufacturing space, especially when it comes to queer-identifying folks. We want to inspire other LGBTQIA+ individuals to join the industry, and we want to support other LGBTQIA+ owned businesses where we can,” she said. 

“We started Outlier Automation 10 months ago with our own savings and no external investments,” said Brooks-Zak.  “We’ve since been profitable and thriving with several projects.  Between our skillset as co-founders and spouses, we have wide technical and business experience which helps us deliver value to our customers.  As engineers, we enjoy helping customers improve their facilities and operations.”

Now, Outlier Automation is providing assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic by producing hand sanitizer.

“We’ve been proud to lend our skillset to produce such a large volume of hand sanitizer in a short amount of time and with a completely grassroots effort,” said Brooks-Zak.

Outlier Automation joined a group of engineers and business owners to produce hand sanitizer through a group called COVID-19 Response LLC.  Sandymount, a colleague of theirs, owns a beer processing company that had the idea to use their facility to blend and supply hand sanitizer to help meet the sudden demand.

“He was looking for others to help out, and we at Outlier had been thinking of ways to help in this pandemic, so we were excited to join the effort,” Brooks-Zak said.

The team quickly realized that the volume of supplies needed was much greater than initially anticipated. Outlier Automation heard not only from grocery stores, but from hospitals, police departments, and other first responders who were in critical need of hand sanitizer.

“Our intention behind the project has always been to help our communities, so we agreed that when the pandemic dies down, we will dissolve the LLC and donate profits to charities involved in economic rebuilding efforts,” said Brooks-Zak.

(Co-Founders of Outlier Automation, Liz Brooks-Zak (left) and G Brooks-Zak (right))

If you’d like to work with Outlier Automation, reach out to [email protected]. If you are in need of hand sanitizer, following the FDA-approved recipe, the company can put you in touch with their distributor.

Have you repurposed your business to aid with relief efforts related to the spread of COVID-19? Tell us your story so we can spotlight the work that the LGBT business community is doing in this time of need! Click here to submit your story.

For additional ways to help you, your business, and the LGBT community during this time, visit the NGLCC COVID-19 Resource Hub for the LGBT Business Community.