Vail Mountain School, local businesses using ‘microbial mitigation’ system
Synexis is making inroads into local area, including Vail Mountain School, town of Vail, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail
Vail Mountain School intends to open Aug. 24. To do that, the school has taken steps including installing “microbial reduction” equipment from Synexis.
Head of School Michael Imperi said the school has installed between “70 and 80” units from Synexis in the school’s ventilation systems. Installing that equipment puts the school in the company of several Fortune 500 firms and the Los Angeles Dodgers as Synexis customers.
The school and Synexis linked up because Synexis Senior Vice President Douglas Bosma and his family moved to the valley in 2019, and the family put its three kids into Vail Mountain School.
Imperi said that the school was looking at Synexis and other systems before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The school had been looking at upgrading its heating and ventilation systems as part of long-term planning. Bosma told school leaders about Synexis, and the company became one of those evaluated.
But that’s getting a little ahead of the story.
The Synexis story began with founder James D. Lee, a U.S. Army Veteran who entered the private sector. As Lee was working to create the first sensor networks in New York City’s financial district, he son found real-time technology didn’t exist to detect biological agents.
According to the company’s website, the goal was to “develop technology that would work around the clock in occupied spaces to reduce microbial threats.”
Lee and his team developed a system that uses “Dry Hydrogen Peroxide” to mitigate microbial contamination. The company was founded in 2001.
Growing in the high country
Bosma said Synexis is currently operating or being installed in 58 buildings from Frisco to Glenwood Springs.
While virtually every business has enhanced its cleaning routines, Bosma said putting Synexis units into buildings’ ventilation systems allows Dry Hydrogen Peroxide to get to surfaces cleaning might miss.
Bosma said Synexis isn’t intended to replace cleaning, but to “add an extra layer of protection.”
Bosma said Synexis uses data to both create its systems and back up its claims.
Imperi said he’s been impressed with the science and research behind the company’s claims.
Before the Vail Mountain School system went live last week, a Synexis scientist took dozens of swabs around campus. Those microbial results will be compared with other samples collected after the system is running.
The idea, Imperi said, is to enhance safety for students, staff and faculty. Looked at from a pre-COVID perspective, the system is intended to help people in school stay more health and reduce absenteeism.
Just the seasonal flu in enclosed spaces can spread rapidly. While there isn’t yet hard data available for the COVID virus, the company does have data on absenteeism for buildings in which it’s being used.
And Synexis is rapidly gaining clients in this area.
Vail Mountain School recently sent an internal memo to board members and others. That memo has generated a lot of interest from potential clients, Bosma said.
Bosma added that clients have taken notice of nine years of data on existing systems. And, he added, the company is talking to several school districts in both the mountains and on the Front Range.
The company has also been talking with home builders, restaurant chains and others. Bosma said Synexis has also had contact with “one or two” resort companies that he declined to name.
Ski and Snowboard Club Vail is currently a client, as is the Minturn Recreation Center. So is the town of Vail, which recently signed a contract to use Synexis devices in all town-owned buildings and facilities.
Vail Town Manager Scott Robson said town officials see using Synexis as another way to enhance cleaning in those facilities.
“We’ve heard really good feedback,” Robson said. “The (town) council and public works (department) are quite excited about it.”
At Vail Mountain School, Imperi said the board “did a lot of research” into Synexis and other systems.
“We talked with some Fortune 500 (firms) and the L.A. Dodgers,” Imperi said, adding that the baseball team carries portable Synexis units on road trips.
Cleaning has taken on added importance in the days of COVID. But Imperi said Vail Mountain School is in business with Synexis for the long haul.
“Once COVID is a distant memory, we’ll still be mitigating,” Imperi said. Given the potential impact on the safety of everyone at the school, “It became a no-brainer for us.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com.