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An air-flow analysis of Zogic's warehouse in Lee. The company is using air-purification fans to create a safer environment for employees.

Zogics Using COVID-19 Fighting Fans To Keep Staff Healthy

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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LEE, Mass. — Zogics is installing COVID-19-killing air purifications fans in its Lee warehouse and company gym to keep employees safe and healthy. 

The company which provides cleaning and sanitation supplies for facilities, has also teamed up with the manufacturer, Big Ass Fans, to be able to offer the disinfecting fans to customers.

The fans use UV-C and ionization technology to dramatically reduce the transmission risk of a variety of pathogens including SARS-CoV-2. CEO Paul LeBlanc believes that this is the first deployment of this technology in the Berkshires.

This system is said to kill 99.99 percent of pathogens.

Based on an airflow study, Big Ass Fans says it reduces the 44 percent chance of transmitting COVID-19 in Zogic's gym to a remarkable 2 percent. With added safety protocols such as sanitizing, social distancing, and mask-wearing, the chance is even less.

"We've been fans of Big Ass Fans for more than a decade," LeBlanc said. "They're a highly respected company with great name recognition and we're a leader in facility health and safety so when Big Ass Fans came up with their clean air technology we got really excited."

To evaluate the impact of the fans, a custom 3D airflow analysis of a space is conducted so Zogic's team of airflow experts can show exactly how the product will transform air quality and safety. The team can then make recommendations for optimal equipment selection and placement. This work can be performed either remotely or in-person and this technology is being offered locally and nationwide.

Zogics temporarily closed its office on March 17, 2020, because of the novel coronavirus and staff has been working from home since. LeBlanc said this was not done for the good of the business but for the safety of employees. Those who work in Zogic's warehouse in Lee are essential workers and don't have the option of working from home. LeBlanc described them as the company's heroes.

"The more we learned about the technology, the more I realized that this was something we should put in our own facilities," LeBlanc said in regards to the air sanitizing fans. "The ability for us to be able to dramatically reduce the chance of transmission whether it's COVID-19 or any other number of potential risks is really significant and really it's my job to keep my employees safe."

As soon as LeBlanc became aware of this technology and saw the data and reception from customers, it was an easy choice to install the fans in Zogic's warehouse distribution facility and company gym, he said.

The company benefits from these fans because most importantly, they are keeping staff healthy, but they are also increasing the ability for operations to keep going at a normal pace.

LeBlanc said the cost of interrupting distribution for just one day exceeds the cost of the fans.

With the steady flow of operations, employees' jobs and financial well-being are also safe.

Zogic's on-site gym has been off-limit to employees since March but will be in use once the fans are installed.  This is a huge benefit to employees because it is difficult for people to feel safe at other facilities that don't have these types of safety measures.

LeBlanc said the air purifying fans are a perfect addition to Zogic's lineup, as it creates a comprehensive series of recommendations that it can provide to facilities, and themselves, to ensure that they are able to operate as safely as possible.

"Combined with our surface disinfecting products, our hand hygiene products, and our personal protection equipment, air disinfection essentially completes the loop," he said.

Because of the pandemic, businesses are seeing a pivot from being concerned about how often they can open and how much money they can make to a concern for making the environment as safe as possible for employees and customers.

COVID-19 is severe enough where you want to throw everything at it, LeBlanc said, it's all part of a comprehensive protocol to do everything in reason to keep those around you safe and healthy.

Even before the Big Ass Fans, Zogics had pandemic protocols in place at the warehouse to mitigate transmission of the virus. There are Zogics hand sanitizers throughout the facility along with various disinfecting sprays used on a regular basis, the requiring of masks and social distancing. Now, LeBlanc can rest assured that his employees will be even safer.

"It's very exciting, these are products that we are now installing nationwide," he said. "And it's a great addition to what we do."

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Pittsfield to Unveil Plaque for Buddy Pellerin Ballfield

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A commemorative plaque will officially designate the Clapp Park ballfield for former coach George "Buddy" Pellerin.

The name change was approved about seven years ago after Pellerin passed away at the age of 77. The plaque's set be unveiled at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14.

"Chairman [Cliff] Nilan has been involved with this effort to site a permanent plaque at the Buddy Pellerin Field which is of course the main baseball field and Clapp Park where Buddy Pellerin coached and played for many, many years," Park, Open Space and Natural Resource Program Manager James McGrath explained to the Parks Commission on Monday.

"And this is a permanent recognition of his contribution to the city."

The plaque, currently covered up, is just behind home plate on the backstop behind the walking track.  It was pointed out that the public is welcome to join the unveiling to remember a "literal Pittsfield giant."

Pellerin was head coach of the Pittsfield High baseball team for 19 years, leading the team to the state title in 1966 and taking the team to the 1974 title game. He also served as athletic director and head softball coach during his time at PHS.
He handed over the reins of the baseball team in 1982 but remained active in the sport. He went on to coach softball at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and the former St. Joseph's High as well as the city's Babe Ruth League all-star team. He was inducted into the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1988.
The park has seen major improvements after the city partnered with the Rotary Club and the Buddy Pellerin Field Committee on a state grant.

During the meeting, it was also reported that the Berkshire County Historical Society has been working with the city to plant a commemorative elm tree in Park Square. It will replace the iconic one that was planted in the 1990s to emulate an elm that was admired by Pittsfield residents in the city's early days.

There will be a dedication ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 5:30 p.m. The event will fall on Nation Plant a Tree Day.

"This year we have been working with [McGrath] to plan a special planting of an elm to commemorate the elm that was obviously very famous here in Pittsfield and was chopped down but was first saved by Lucretia Williams," Executive Director Lesley Herzberg explained.

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