A Unique Answer to Clean Air with AtmosAir Solutions’ Steve Levine
February 12, 2014
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Welcome back to Green is Good, and today we’re so honored to have my friend, Steve Levine, on. He’s the President and CEO of AtmosAir. Welcome to Green is Good, Steve. STEVE LEVINE: Thank you so much for having me, and I’m very excited to be talking with you. After our last meeting in New York, we’re anxious to share our air purification solutions. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Well, you have a great story. Before we get to talking about your air purification solutions, Steve, talk a little bit about Steve Levine. Talk a little bit about your story and how you even ended up here and running this great company and creating this great company and then we’re going to talk about the solutions you’ve created. STEVE LEVINE: Absolutely. Well you know, my background is in the air purification space but how I got here was I really thought the green initiatives that companies were taking was a place I wanted to focus and a lot of people were focused on water and a lot of people were focused on energy and I thought the one area that was lacking was air quality and I really wanted to make a difference in this world and I think that the water we drink, the air we breathe, how we take care of the planet going forward, it’s just a passion of mine and so I started in the air testing business. I wanted to test the quality of the air and some people did and some people didn’t because of what they might find and I wanted to make a difference in that respect and so that’s my background. I started another business a while back. It was in the alarm industry. We built a large company and we protected people. We saved lives, We protected property and I wanted to take my new life after 20 years in that business and really try to make a difference going forward in the business of air quality. JOHN SHEGERIAN: You created this great company in 2004. STEVE LEVINE: Yes, we did. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Great, and for our listeners out there that want to look at Steve’s great company while we’re talking here today with Steve, you can go to www.atmosair.com. Steve, talk a little bit about your company, what it does, and how unique your technology is. STEVE LEVINE: Well, you know, it has a great history. It has a history that goes way back into the days of Albert Einstein and initially when I looked at the technology, because again, we were measuring air quality but we were looking for ways to make it better. I saw a company in Europe that had a great history. I didn’t initially believe it but I wanted to check it out. It had roots to Albert Einstein. In fact, Einstein’s sister was sick with tuberculosis and she was told the best place to get better was The Alps. Go to the mountains. Breathe that fresh, clean air and actually, Einstein wanted to understand why. Why is the air so much better in the mountains? And he developed this theory that there was a natural conductivity in the mountains and that conductivity was actually caused by these negative and positive ions so Einstein’s friend, Conrad Habicht, basically invented a technology around his friend’s theory that would replicate clean mountain air by delivering ions to the space and he commercialized it in Europe. Back in 2004, I bought that technology and that company and brought it over here to the United States and started our business and that’s actually how it started and I thought that the best way to bring it to the marketplace would be through sports. I said if we could take this technology that had a great affect on pulling dust particles out of the air, breaking down mold spores, attacking odors, and volatile organic compounds, and bacteria, viruses, and germs and we could bring this to the sports world, we would be able to take care of all the professional sports teams. The colleges would follow. The schools would follow and eventually the consumer would follow and I have to say that’s what’s happening right now. We actually installed out system in California in The Staples Center, in the entire Staples Center and now we’ve done USC and the Los Angeles Airport. Every terminal is putting in our system. UCLA is starting to look at our system so it’s really growing and that’s exactly where I am today. I’m actually in Louisville, Kentucky talking to the Yum Center because they’re looking at installing our system and the beautiful part of it is it started in sports but now we’re in office buildings, hotels, hospitals, and actually in the consumer’s home so we’re making a difference, having a great time doing it, helping people, so at the end of the day, it’s a technology that really, really works because I can measure and validate it before and after so that we can really show the difference because remember, I come from the air testing business so it’s important that you validate a test because there’s a lot of green products out there that actually say that they work and unless you validate and test them, you really don’t know. JOHN SHEGERIAN: For our listeners out there, I want you to share this because I know I had the benefit of spending a delightful two hours or more with you a few months back. Talk about your system cleaning well against odors, bacteria, viruses, and germs. How does it do it and how well does it work against those issues? STEVE LEVINE: Well, the beautiful part of it is if you have a central air system, you can actually put it into the central air system and where normal technologies would be on the return side of that air system, like trying to catch stuff with the filter or with the UV light or with the air coolers themselves, our technology goes on the supply side. We actually want to deliver these ions into the space and when they’re in the space, what the ions do is they cause this what we call a conglomeration process. They pull these little particles together, make them a bigger particles, which makes it easier for your filters to pick up because it’s bigger and the other stuff might drop out of the air to the floor so our main goal in life is to take that three foot to seven foot space that we breathe in and pull all the bad things out of that and so that’s how the technology works against particles. It breaks down mold spores. It breaks down odors. Actually, if there’s any type of odor or smell, it’ll break that down and make it smell cleaner and fresher and it really does a great job of breaking down viable pathogens, bacteria, viruses, and germs so the beautiful part is when we bought the technology, we didn’t know that there was also going to be an energy saving opportunity because think about it. All these buildings are bringing in so much outside air. When they’re bringing in this outside air, they’re also bringing in the pollutants with it so with our technology, we actually are allowed to bring in less outside air and re-circulate and recycle the clean air and so there’s less air that you have to heat and less air that you have to cool so it really becomes a great energy saving opportunity while you’re cleaning the air at the same time and that’s what everybody is trying to take advantage of right now. Wow, what a great thing if you can save energy dollars and cleanse the air at the same time and measure and validate those results. JOHN SHEGERIAN: For our listeners that just joined us, we’ve got Steve Levine on with us today. He’s the President and CEO and the founder of AtmosAir. You can look him up at www.atmosair.com. Steve, now we’ve talked about some of your big and amazing projects, Staples Center, USC, you’re down in Louisville today. For our listeners out there that have allergies or other breathing related issues or who just want to live more sustainably and have cleaner air in their home or their office, can anyone go to your website and get this for their home, office, or for their large business that they’re involved with? STEVE LEVINE: Absolutely. We take care of commercial buildings like Deloyt and UBS and we do the Dallas Cowboys and we have the Kansas City Chiefs now as clients but also, people that work in those organizations that suffer from allergies and asthma that are caused by dust particles, that are caused by mold spores, we actually pull out those things from the air so that people who have allergies and asthma, which is really one out of every four people, suffer. They’re the ones writing us testimonials because we can take our same technology and put it right into their mechanical system or even deliver it in a little portable unit to their home or to their bedroom so that they’ll be able to create a cleaner healthier environment for them to live in as well and so those people that have allergies and asthma, those are really the people that notice us first before anybody else and so that’s a great point and obviously, we’re open to everybody. We want to help everybody. JOHN SHEGERIAN: So, they go on your website, www.atmosair.com, and they can order or call and they can get the technology that suits their home, their business, their company they work for or any things of that such. Now, do you install it and then service it or how does that work in terms of ordering and installation and ongoing service? STEVE LEVINE: Sure. We have authorized dealers around the country, 140 of them now and growing because people want to carry our product and we want people properly trained that if we’re going to put it inside of your air conditioning or heating system that it is a very simple installation, probably takes all of about an hour to an hour and a half to install, uses very, very little energy. Our systems work on five watts of power so it’s very easy to install and then once a year, this technology lasts for about 8,800 hours. At the end of the 8,800 hours, we have to change this tube so people can do it themselves or if we have an authorized dealer in that area, we’ll be happy to do that for them. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Also, we have a lot of listeners internationally because after the show airs on the iHeart Network here in the United States, it gets uploaded to iTunes and to the internet and the blogosphere and we have listeners literally that listen to our show from Shanghai to Mumbai and Brazil and everywhere in between and do you also do your great work and does your brand service clients around the world? STEVE LEVINE: Yes. We actually opened up an office in Shanghai. We actually just are in a joint venture arrangement with a company called Shanghai Electronics, which wants to put our technology in cars, in buses, and in trains and so we’re doing work in India. We’re doing work in Dubai and China is just exploding. Obviously, they have serious issues there and our goal is to help pull those little particles out of the air in their commercial establishments. Obviously, it would be nice if we could take one big tube, one big technology and put it over everywhere but unfortunately, we can’t so in indoor environments is where we make the difference and if we’re able to do this in cars, in buses, in trains, I know the next logical question is when are we going to be able to put our technology in an airplane and we can’t talk about that right now but it’s coming. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s awesome. You said that this is technology brought in from Europe and it’s the best in the world and obviously with all the success you’ve had, you’re proving it’s the best in the world with all the amazing brands that you’ve mentioned, from Staples to Dallas Cowboys and everyone in between. Who is your competition and do you even have competition, Steve? STEVE LEVINE: Well, there’s many ways people clean the air. The traditional way is a filter. The traditional way is a UV light. The traditional way is electronic air cleaners and those ways are fine. There’s nothing wrong with them and believe me, we compliment a filter. I’m not saying take your filter out and put our system in. The way our system works is all those technologies are reactive. They’re actually asking the airflow to bring the particles and the spores to it rather than, our technology is proactively going after it so one is an active and one is a reactive and so I think just being proactive and attacking the particles in the air is the reason that we’re so much superior to these other technologies today. JOHN SHEGERIAN: You know Steve, you and I met at a wonderful Green Sports Alliance and RDC event in New York City and just had a lovely and delightful chat for a couple hours. Besides Green Sports Alliance, are there other organizations that you’re involved with that are spreading the great word about AtmosAir, your great company? STEVE LEVINE: Well, absolutely. Besides the Green Sports Alliance, there is a whole college of sustainability alliance right now and so I was actually at a meeting not too long ago where athletic directors and sustainability officials were attending this meeting together and these were 50 major universities that are very interested in bringing new green initiatives to their colleges and being a part of that, just like the Green Sports Alliance, just like groups like the NRDC that’s helping to consult people on best practices and Green Build. We just came back from Philadelphia, from the Green Build, where people are really looking at LEED and other initiatives to create a healthier and greener environment and facility and that’s what we’re all about. If we can be one small part of the whole picture and really add some significant value, I think we make a difference and that’s all I’m looking to do. We want to help people. We want to make a difference and I know we have the technology that will do that. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That was your dream back in 2004, to start a new company that makes profit with a purpose. STEVE LEVINE: Exactly right. JOHN SHEGERIAN: You know, we’re down to the last two minutes, Steve, and there’s a lot of listeners out there that are the next generation, the kids, and you and I were even talking about that when we were together. Can you share some thoughts of inspiration? Because they’re going to listen to this show and they listen to our guests and I get emails all the time. They want to be the next Steve Levine. Can you share some pearls of wisdom backwards for them? They’re in high school, they’re in college, they’re in grad school, and they want to go out and they want to wake up and be involved with a company or be an entrepreneur and know that they’re changing the world every day when they go and create a company or they go get a job. Share some of your pearls of wisdom and experience with them, please. STEVE LEVINE: Well, I think the most important thing, and I tell my kids this, too — and I have kids that are 25 and 28 now, so I’ve been around it a little bit — I think you always have to try to do what you love. If you don’t love it, at least you should like it a lot and if you wake up every morning and you go to work and you don’t really like or love or feel like you’re making a difference, then you should probably do something else. There’s a lot of ways to help people in this world and I really believe that if you get involved, not just for making a dollar, but in something that you love that will make a difference and that will really help people, and at the end of the day, I think it’s everybody’s responsibility to give back. If you do all these things, I really believe you become a well rounded person and you love getting up every morning and you love going to work. I have to love what I do because every day, I make a difference. We make a difference. We have a great team. We’re expanding the team and hey, for any of your listeners that are really motivated by helping people and making a difference in the sustainability world or air quality world, feel free to contact me. I’m always looking to grow and I want to surround myself with the right people and that’s my two cents. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That is just great and I assume you feel real bullish on 2013 and beyond. You’re ten years into this and you feel that the best is in front of you. STEVE LEVINE: At least 50% growth this year so that’s what we’re talking about. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Perfect. Well, I just want to tell our listeners again, if you want to breathe clean air and you want to buy Steve’s great products, please go to www.atmosair.com or if you want to get a job, if you really want to wake up every morning and change the world, you can contact Steve through that great website. Steven Levine, you are a sustainability superstar and truly living proof that green is good.