Monday, April 19, 2021

Our Experience During COVID


ClorDiSys Solutions, Inc is coming up on our 20th anniversary at the end of this year.  We’ve had a lot to be proud of, including simply lasting 20 years.  I’ve worked at ClorDiSys since 2006, technically earlier as I helped out during college as my father and his partner started the business in my garage.  I have personally been proud of all that this company has achieved, including its growth to a company with a global reach, but more for its success in helping our clients keep their critical environments clean, allowing them to safely do their work feeding the world, developing cures for diseases, caring for their patients, and so much more.  When COVID hit, we knew we were in a place to help.  but none of us could have imagined just what was to come.  As a contamination control company, we were used to helping companies in a time of crisis.  Usually though, the emergencies were personal to that company, and they came to us 1-2 at a time.  COVID-19 affected everyone all at the same time.

I'll never forget the call I got from John Lowe of Nebraska Medicine.  I had worked with him years before on a research project, which led to them beta-tested some of our UV systems and eventually using them during the ebola crisis of 2014 as their Biocontainment Unit treated and discharged all the patients that arrived.  His phone call was pretty short, letting me know that they tested UV light as a method to disinfect N95 masks as the supplies were severely limited.  Before I could comment on how awesome that sounded, he told me they were publishing that story in the New York Times.  The next message was very clear, "get ready."

The next four months were a blur. We literally had to add phone lines to keep up with it all.  We came together though, sometimes running through the office with two phones in our hands, other times creating new workflows to manage and meet demand on the fly, and always being empathetic to whoever called for help.  At the time, it was stressful.  Our team had to scramble to source components from new vendors to keep up with demand in a world where supply chains were tested and global shipping was severely hindered.  We were able to streamline our production, building equipment more efficiently than before.  We stayed late, testing equipment the same day it was built in order to ship it out faster.  Our team drove packages over to the shipping company at the end of the day after our daily pickup so our clients didn’t have to wait an extra day to receive their products.  The Marine's have a slogan, "Adapt, Improvise, Overcome," and we borrowed that mission statement for the rest of the way to do our jobs so that others could do theirs.  At a time when many businesses were forced to close, we were able to help out our communities by hiring workers to meet the swelling demand.  At the peak, we doubled the size of the company, converting our office spaces into socially distant production spaces.  The impact our team had went further than we ever imagined it could.

Our Disinfection Services Team was tapped to travel across the country to treat facilities shut down by the virus.  It’s a weird feeling being in an empty airport traveling during a pandemic to go into a building that its employees are banned from entering.  People thanked us for doing our job, that was also a weird feeling.  There were a number of businesses where we provided a weekly high-level disinfection to reduce the risk of infection and increase employee comfort levels.

Our Lantern UV systems are being used by EMS, Police and Fire Departments across the country to disinfect their vehicles between uses. 

Many of our UV light systems were used to disinfect N95 masks according to the "Nebraska Protocol" in an effort to stretch stockpiles as supply dwindled globally.  

Our Torch UV systems were utilized in Mobile COVID-19 Testing Centers, routinely disinfecting them to reduce the risk of contamination between a positive patient and a negative patient.  We even placed a few of our Torches on television sets as production started back up.

Our Flash-Tunnel, a UV disinfection tunnel, is being used to disinfect the COVID-19 vaccine packages coming off the production line.

Our Flashbox and Flashbox-mini UV chambers are helping to disinfect shared tools and items, including ID badges, thermometers, pens and more at security gates, visitor’s entrances, and other entry points.

Recently, our CD Gas Decon Team performed a decontamination of a COVID-19 vaccine production facility, ensuring that it was free of pathogens prior to it going online. 

It has been great seeing our products and services help so many people in so many ways during this pandemic.  It has been far more fulfilling seeing our people step up to help out over the course of this past year.   At the time it was stressful, but looking back, its remarkable to know the positive impact that our team was able to provide to so many people in such difficult circumstances.  None of us at ClorDiSys were ready for what the past year would bring, but the way our team handled itself has been what I’m most proud of.   

Kevin Lorcheim

Sr. Manager