Health Tech: Brian Stern On How PURO’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall…

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Health Tech: Brian Stern On How PURO’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness

Work ethic. If you’re running a business, it’s a marathon — not a sprint. It’s extremely important to have a strong work ethic. It’s been 13 years since I started my first business and I feel like I’m working harder now than I was then.

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Stern.

Brian Stern, an entrepreneur focusing on technology and new enterprise development in the lighting industry, is the CEO and Co-Founder of PURO UV Disinfection Lighting, LED Supply Co., LLC. After receiving his BS in Business Administration from the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business in 2007, Brian founded, along with partner Webb Lawrence, LED Supply Co., LLC, a wholesale distributor of LED lighting products with a focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. Today, Brian is the CEO of an extraordinarily fast-growing enterprise at the very center of helping to keep people safe and infection-free during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

I grew up in Chicago and was always very interested in science and technology. About two years after I earned a business degree at the University of Denver, I started my first company, which specialized in LED lighting. I was able to utilize my tech and science background, as well as my business degree, to get the company up-and-running — and it’s still operating today!

About four years ago, we started to explore a unique UV disinfection technology and my latest company PURO UV Disinfection Lighting was born.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

One of the most interesting moments of my career happened during the height of COVID-19.

My company PURO specializes in a unique UV disinfection technology and we’re relatively well-known around the Denver area. One night in March 2020, I was putting my two-year-old daughter to bed, when I received a weird call from the City of Lakewood, which is where our office is headquartered. As it turned out, the Mayor of Lakewood was trying to get a hold of me because he had been contacted about a potential need for PURO technology for a large city or government project.

After several phone calls, I connected with the Director of Innovation at New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). I spoke to him on a Saturday night and he asked me if I could be in New York on Monday to discuss whether PURO technology could help disinfect public transportation amidst a global pandemic.

This was March 2020 and I had two days to pack up our technology and fly to New York city. I was on a plane with only three other people and when I arrived, the entire city was shut down.

I met with the MTA, showed them our technology, and we won the contract to help disinfect surface areas on New York public transportation, such as subway cars and city busses. It was a crazy time for me and our company, but after working with the MTA, PURO business exploded.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

It’s kind of cheesy, but my parents have helped me the most significantly along the way. They gave me the loans to start my first business LED Supply Co. and they’ve coached me along the way. My parents had the confidence in me, and I was able to pay back the loan after our first year of business.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I tell a lot of my employees — especially younger employees — that it doesn’t really matter what business you’re in, as long as you work really hard, you’re going to succeed. In other words, outwork your competition.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Work ethic. If you’re running a business, it’s a marathon — not a sprint. It’s extremely important to have a strong work ethic. It’s been 13 years since I started my first business and I feel like I’m working harder now than I was then.

Integrity. In any industry, you’ll start to work with and run into the same people. If you don’t have integrity, it’ll end up catching up to you.

The ability to hire good people. Hire people that are better than you no matter what job they’re doing.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our wellness. To begin, which particular problems are you aiming to solve?

At PURO Lighting, our goal is very straightforward. We are improving the overall wellness of buildings by reducing pathogen loads in the air and surfaces wherever people gather.

From healthcare to schools and wherever large populations of people are in the same area for extended periods of time, our technology safely reduces bacteria and pathogens up to 99.9% — including today’s SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

Our vision has always been to utilize the latest UV lighting technology to help protect people’s health. The first iteration of our products was actually intended for the healthcare space, and while we’ve grown tremendously in our mission to promote wellness wherever people gather, we recently launched PUROHealth, a line of UV disinfection solutions specifically designed for medical facilities.

PURO’s latest partnership with Siemens Healthineers will bring the power of UV-C disinfection to more areas of the health care industry, such as operating rooms, emergency rooms, waiting rooms and more. We also completed the first successful installation of our latest disinfection solution, PURONet UV Disinfection Control System at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

How do you think your technology can address this?

UV disinfection technology isn’t new. In fact, UV technology was instrumental in reducing the POLIO outbreak in the 1950s. But with PURO, we’ve revolutionized the tech. We’ve made it safer, stronger and our technology can improve the health and wellbeing of any indoor space.

PURO also brings automations to the UV disinfection space. Our products automatically keep indoor spaces free from dangerous viruses, bacteria and pathogens, which greatly reduces reliance on operators and staff.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

Every company I’ve started has been about helping people and the Earth.

With my first company LED Supply Co., we wanted to produce energy efficient lighting and reduce the burden on the electric grid. At PURO, our UV technology also supports that mission.

PURO technology can also have a major impact in reducing pathogens in so many different types of indoor environments. I am extremely passionate about bringing more visibility to UV-C tech and making this technology more accessible so that we can help keep more people safe and healthy.

How do you think this might change the world?

There are a lot of problems in the world, but our PURO technology can help solve one.

Not only can our UV disinfection technology help reduce the instances of people getting sick during a global pandemic, it can also be instrumental in keeping people healthy in classrooms, hospital settings and pretty much any indoor space where people gather.

Take healthcare as an example. When someone comes in for a routine surgery and leaves with MRSA, that can be life-threatening. But with PURO technology, these things are preventable. Our tech can actually improve hospital systems and reduce the amount of hospital deaths.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

Are we going to create some sort of superbug resistant to UV defense? The answer is no.

Pathogens have been exposed to UV lighting over billions of years, so it is extremely unlikely that there should be any negative consequences from our technology. Plus, we value safety above all else and have built-in safety features in every product we offer.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”? (Please share a story or an example, for each.)

There are a million problems to solve, and I think when you’re bringing a new piece of technology to market, the goal is to solve one tiny component of the world’s overall need.

As an entrepreneur, I’m trying to solve one tiny problem that will end up leading to other solutions and help people in a meaningful way. In other words, we’re just one piece of the overall solution when it comes to making indoor spaces safer for everyone.

Our UV-C technology is built off of hundreds of years of research, and we couldn’t have gotten here on our own. We have been able to improve upon technology of the past and my hope is that our tech will allow the next innovator to do the same.

Another thing I’d like to share is that almost any piece of technology can make a positive social impact in one way or another. For example, the people who created the atomic bomb obviously contributed to a negative social impact from the bombing. But in addition, the creation of the atomic bomb created nuclear energy and an entirely new category of physics. Any innovation has the ability to make a positive social impact over time, but I believe it’s all about how you use it.

As I mentioned earlier, one of our goals with PURO is to create safer spaces for people to gather. While that is already having a positive social impact during an unprecedented global pandemic, the uses for our technology are endless. For instance, I envision a world where PURO can revolutionize the way we disinfect hospital settings and irradicate hospital-related illness.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

If you’re developing something that leaves a positive impact on society or the environment, which is what all of my companies have been since we started, it will be more successful than something that doesn’t.

There are a million different ways your company can make an impact, and I’d encourage young people to work on solving one small problem within our world. Take PURO for example. Our technology allows spaces to be safer, contributes to less sick days, and eradicates pathogens leading to fewer pandemics in the future. All of those things together will have a positive impact on people, the world, and technological innovation.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I was actually just having this conversation with my business partner the other day. Personally, I run three companies at the same time and it can be extremely exhausting. I was just telling my colleague how I’d love to chat with Elon Musk, since he runs so many companies as a major global innovator. I don’t know how he does it, but it’s definitely inspiring.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers can check out for more information about the revolutionary work we’re doing in the UV lighting space.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.

Health Tech: Brian Stern On How PURO’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.