The COVID-19 pandemic has required much of front line medical personnel. However, other individuals have worked to address the crisis by implementing innovative equipment with the ability to limit the spread of illness within hospitals, schools, and commercial buildings. One such member is Sam Perkins (Washington and Lee University, 1980).
Perkins was an entrepreneur before he even knew what that word meant. During high school, he helped establish his Boy Scout Council training troop. As an undergraduate at W&L he was one of the founders of Chi Psi, a fraternal organization that shares traditions and values, respect for oneself and others, and responsibility to the university and community.
After briefly working for a law firm, the entrepreneur in Perkins decided it was time to start his own firm. After all, that’s what entrepreneurs do … they build. He loved building his firm, assisting others in building their companies as their legal advisor, and coaching his associates to maximize their potential. It was during those days that Perkins developed a reputation for assisting start-ups.
Perkins has been a partner in more than five different start-up companies located across the Southeast. His penchant for start-ups led him to leave law and co-found pūrGenix® in 2009. However, he had no idea when he co-founded the company how this concept, which he believed held promise, would serve a vital need during the current pandemic.
Even before the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, hospitals and nursing homes were already concerned about the possibilities for hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). In healthcare, these nosocomial infections (meaning one that is contracted because a toxin or infection is present in a particular environment) can be life-threatening to individuals with compromised immune systems. Hospital air-handling systems using the pūrGenix® designed arrays can help dramatically reduce the opportunities for the spread of HAIs, including, the spread of illnesses such as COVID-19.
Hospitals and other care facilities employ a range of technologies and procedures for making certain surfaces and air are clean. One of the greatest areas of concern is the cleanliness of the air handling units (AHU). The air that moves through these units and their interior surfaces can transmit or retain infectious pathogens. By using ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) technology, pūrGenix® creates an intense energy field that kills or deactivates infectious pathogens in both the passing air and on HVAC interior surfaces.
One of the side benefits of pūrGenix® is that the UVGI technology continuously cleans the coils in an HVAC system. This cleaning process ensures that there is lower HVAC chiller energy consumption and that the life of these units is extended. This approach to cleaning the HVAC cooling coils eliminates the need to use chemicals in the process. It also has the benefit of preventing cleaning chemicals from vaporizing and entering the hospital’s air-stream.
As Perkins explains, “I initially thought that an ultraviolet curtain of energy was all about saving money on energy and operating costs, but thanks to the insight of a friend who is an architect, I realized that it was more about health. We redirected our focus toward honing the technology into a system designed to stop the spread of germs. It has taken a decade to develop a field-proven technology that stops the spread of germs in buildings, but we’re finally there.”
The unexpected emergence of COVID-19 thrust pūrGenix® into the limelight. The ability to stop the spread of germs brought notoriety to pūrGenix® when its first pūrHospital®, Harrison Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana, Kentucky, became ground zero for COVID-19 in that state. For the past three and a half years, Harrison Memorial has had zero central line associated bloodstream infections and zero hospital-acquired pneumonia cases. Further, the hospital has experienced zero surgical site infections in 11 of the past 14 quarters. Equally as important, to date, there have been zero transmissions of COVID-19 among patients and staff at the facility.
As Perkins says, “If we can help a hospital do that, just think how we can help you. How can you not enjoy helping building owners create healthier environments in which people work, learn, collaborate, and heal, and all of this, while naturally reducing costs and extending equipment life?”
After all, that’s the way great entrepreneurs think.
pūrGenix® now serves as the platform for the pūrBuilding™ and pūrHospital® brands. To learn more about pūrBuilding™, click here to watch a video. More information about the pūrHospital® may be viewed in the video below.