Health Tech: Erik Malmstrom On How SafeTraces’ Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness

An Interview With Dave Philistin

By Dave Philistin, CEO of Candor | January 13, 2022

…Simply put, SafeTraces’ technology is as consequential for building health as CT, MRI, and PET have been for human health. Conceptually, SafeTraces’ technology is analogous to PET for buildings, leveraging patented and safe DNA-tagged aerosol tracers to detect, measure, and visualize abnormalities in airflow, ventilation, and filtration in real world indoor spaces. SafeTraces’ technology will become central to the healthy building continuum in the same way that medical imaging technology is central to the healthcare continuum, dramatically sharpening diagnostic accuracy in order to protect occupants from airborne disease, better manage financial resources, and reduce carbon impacts of HVAC systems. Moreover, the impact of our technology will be amplified by pooling data from millions of assessments within and across buildings over time under different conditions and correlating with other IAQ diagnostic data in order to strengthen the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring process through data science.

 

This post originally appeared in Authority Magazine. Read it here.

Healthy Air Episode #23

Episode #23

Making Air Quality a Priority Makes a Difference | Ted Bischak

In this episode, Ted Bischak talks about the biggest change and the opportunity in real estate today. He shares how landlords are responsible for preparing for the re-entry into the office space and how making air quality a priority makes a difference.

Ted Bischak is a Principal and Co-Founder of Ocean West Capital Partners. He is responsible for all Property Operations including, Asset Management, Property Management, Construction Management and Physical Due Diligence, upon acquisition or disposition, of managed assets. Prior to the formation of Ocean West Capital Partners, he was Senior Vice President of Asset Management for Maguire Properties, responsible for the firm’s entire portfolio of 21 million square feet of real estate assets. Before joining Maguire Properties, Mr. Bischak served as Senior Vice President for CommonWealth Partners, where, in partnership with the CalPERS pension fund, he was responsible for all operations activities, including in-house property management, tenant improvement, operational leasing, and asset management for the $1.5 billion portfolio and directed all property-level acquisition and disposition activities. Additionally, Mr. Bischak has held senior management positions with Tooley & Company and The Irvine Company, where he was a key member of the development team on over 6 million square feet of new office development product, multiple retail and hotel projects as well as 6,000 apartment units over his 35-year career in commercial real estate.

Keeping air safe has never been more important. Now that we are in the next normal, it is critical that the air we breathe in shared indoor spaces is healthy and safe for continued occupancy. Are we ready to face this challenge and mitigate airborne exposure risk indoors? Welcome to Healthy Air, a podcast that talks about the future of buildings and how to keep air safe and healthy. Keep up with the latest industry trends, latest technologies, and regulatory changes with your host, Erik Malmstrom, industry experts, and the SafeTraces team here on Healthy Air.

SHOW NOTES:

  • An overview of Ted’s background [1:20]
  • The biggest change in real estate [4:34]
  • The real opportunity in real estate today [6:31]
  • Post-pandemic re-entry to the office space [8:28]
  • Occupancy post-pandemic [11:35]
  • Indoor air quality valuations post-pandemic [20:05]
  • Validating air quality and costs to tenants [23:08]
  • Making air quality a priority makes a difference [27:43]

RESOURCES:

QUOTES:

The real estate industry has changed from buy and hold forever to exiting a project between three to seven years.”

“Post-pandemic, office buildings that will appeal more to tenants will have outdoor components.”

“The effort landlords will put into their buildings to ensure tenants feel safe post-pandemic will depend on their investment capabilities.”

“Educating the tenant base on what really matters in terms of air quality and safety within the office space will be a big job moving forward.”

“There are urban myths about indoor air quality and what constitutes high quality indoor environments that need to be addressed.”

“Landlords have to be able to validate their efforts in terms of air quality and safety to their tenants.”

“If you educate your brokers on your indoor air quality needs, you will differentiate yourself to your tenants.”

“The landlords that prioritize indoor air quality will see a value result.”

Verifying Mall Indoor Air Quality 

San Jose Eastridge Mall

By David Louie | ABC7 News | Building A Better Bay Area | December 23, 2021

SafeTraces deploys anti-COVID aerosol tech to detect risky buildings

Company tracks air circulation, ventilation in buildings

By George Avalos | Bay Area News Group | December 22, 2021

A SafeTraces technician sets up air samplers to verify indoor air safety in the food court of Eastridge Center in San Jose. SafeTraces hopes to lend an assist to the wide-ranging battle against the coronavirus by deploying aerosol-based technologies to identify risky buildings imperiled by hazardous air circulation.

 

PLEASANTON — SafeTraces hopes to lend an assist to the wide-ranging battle against the coronavirus by deploying aerosol-based technologies to identify risky buildings imperiled by hazardous air circulation.

The biotech company’s liquid aerosol system uses DNA markers and software analysis to help property owners determine whether poor ventilation and air circulation might be allowing virus-like particles to remain in the air inside a building and its rooms.

“This technology is a way to learn if a room or an entire building is safe,” said Erik Malmstrom, chief executive officer of SafeTraces. “That is what everyone wants to know. We provide that answer.”

When the liquid aerosols are sprayed into the air, SafeTraces uses DNA markers in the droplets to track how they are circulating in a room and whether the air is being refreshed — changed — frequently enough to ensure that the building and its rooms are operating safely.

The United States, California and the Bay Area are battling to recover from the economic devastation unleashed by wide-ranging business shutdowns that government agencies imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Among the huge uncertainties that loom over the economy: How safe is it for workers to return to the office, for shoppers to return to malls and movie theaters, for fans to return to concerts and sporting events?

“Polls clearly show widespread public anxiety about facility safety from offices to schools to retail locations,” Malmstrom said.

These are vital questions to answer, said Gary Dillabough, a busy Bay Area developer and commercial property owner who is especially active in downtown San Jose.

“We have to create better and safer environments for people to return to,” said Dillabough, a principal executive with Urban Community, a real estate firm that has teamed up with global developer Westbank on several major projects in downtown San Jose. “SafeTraces has the technology to help bring that about.”

Much of the concern over the coronavirus has been focused on the contamination of surfaces by the pathogen.

Malmstrom and Dillabough point out, however, that a key vector for the spread of the deadly bug is through virus-laced droplets that can remain in the air for hours and travel well beyond six feet.

The anxiety over enclosed spaces is fueled by the reality that the dangerous microorganisms can’t be seen, by definition, and viruses are traveling on paths that also can’t be seen.

“Air is invisible, but we help building owners to see the invisible,” Malmstrom said.

Pleasanton-based SafeTraces says its software-supported and aerosol-based system can provide precise analysis about how air is flowing through a building, whether that air is being changed sufficiently and what might be done to address any hazards within the structure.

During the current holiday shopping season, Eastridge Center in San Jose has turned to SafeTraces to ensure that the shopping mall meets top safety standards for indoor air and ventilation systems.

Eastridge is the first shopping center in the nation to undergo verification and assessment by SafeTraces, according to Pacific Retail Capital Partners, one of the principal owners of Eastridge Center.

“We are solidifying our commitment to ensure that our visitors can have a high degree of trust and confidence in a safe shopping experience at our retail locations,” said Najla Kayyem, senior vice president of marketing with Pacific Retail Capital.

The SafeTraces technology and software analysis is advanced enough that it can analyze a room of 1,000 square feet within two hours, according to the company.

The biotech firm says it can assess the playing surface and the seating areas of the SAP Center in downtown San Jose within a day.

“Companies and real estate operators are going to have to get over that bar to prove that their spaces are safe,” Dillabough said.

 

This post originally appeared in The Mercury News. Read it here.

SafeTraces & Eastridge Center Launch Groundbreaking Partnership

Safety technology leader verifies indoor air quality and ventilation performance during holiday shopping season

Date: December 16, 2021

SafeTraces, a leader and innovator in safety technology, announced an industry first partnership with Eastridge Center to ensure it meets the highest safety standards for indoor air and ventilation systems. The center, located in East San Jose, is the first shopping mall in the United States to undergo SafeTraces’ science-based performance verification assessment.

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), a leading authority on environmental health and safety, states, “Engineering controls [including air ventilation and filtration] that can keep infectious aerosols at very low levels indoors offer the greatest promise to protect non-healthcare workers and other vulnerable populations as we reopen our businesses and workplaces.”[1] However, most public buildings lack the ability to test and verify performance of their engineering controls and ventilation systems for airborne pathogens due to limitations in existing diagnostic assessment tools.

SafeTraces offers the first commercially available diagnostic solution for testing and verifying indoor air and ventilation safety performance for mitigating exposures to airborne pathogens. Developed with support from the National Institutes of Health, SafeTraces’ groundbreaking technology leverages patented DNA-tagged aerosol tracers that safely simulate pathogen mobility and exposure in real world environments to optimize health, safety, and financial decision-making and communicate facility safety to key stakeholders.

“Pacific Retail has a proud track record of leading and differentiating in all aspects of visitor, tenant, employee, and community experience, paramount of which is health, safety and wellness,” said Najla Kayyem, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Pacific Retail Capital Partners. “By partnering with SafeTraces to utilize the best science-based technology on the market, PRCP is solidifying our commitment to ensure that our visitors can have a high degree of trust and confidence in a safe shopping experience at our retail locations.”

“Throughout the built environment, polls clearly show widespread public anxiety about facility safety from offices to schools to retail locations,” said SafeTraces CEO Erik Malmstrom. “Building owners and operators need to be extremely proactive about addressing these concerns and communicating safety measures clearly and compellingly to get people to return at pre-pandemic levels and have peace of mind. It has been inspiring to see Eastridge Center’s deep commitment to health, safety, and wellness by leveraging SafeTraces leading science-based safety technology. We’re truly honored to partner with such a mission-driven forward-thinking company.”

Testing results demonstrated that Eastridge Center’s air ventilation and filtration systems performed effectively in high density occupied areas.

About SafeTraces, Inc.
SafeTraces is committed to ensuring the highest safety standards for the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the
medicines we take by harnessing the power of DNA. The company provides market-leading technology solutions for indoor air quality and safety, and food and pharmaceutical traceability. SafeTraces supports a wide range of Fortune 100, commercial real estate, and government customers globally, including Brookfield Properties, the Irvine Company, and Jones Lang & Lasalle (JLL). Learn more at www.safetraces.com or follow social media (LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/safetraces/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/SafeTraces).

About Eastridge Center
Owned and operated by Pacific Retail Capital Partners, Eastridge Center is Silicon Valley’s second largest retail destination, featuring 1.4 million square feet of shopping, dining, and entertainment. Hosting the largest exterior mural Artscape at any shopping center in the nation, the property offers a unique retail experience while engaging with the community through the Eastridge Mural Program. Opened in 1971, 2021 marks a milestone as Eastridge Center celebrates its 50-year anniversary as a cultural hub for the diverse San Jose area. Located in close proximity to San Jose’s East Foothills and Evergreen neighborhoods, the two-level center provides natural lighting and an open floor plan with access to an impressive 15-screen AMC IMAX Theatre, Round 1 Bowling & Amusements, Macy’s, JCPenney, multiple restaurants, and more than 95 stores including H&M, Hollister Co., Tilly’s, Victoria’s Secret, and Forever 21 RED. For more information, visit eastridgecenter.com or follow along on social media (Facebook: facebook.com/eastridgecenter, Instagram: @EastridgeCenter).

About Pacific Retail Capital Partners
Pacific Retail Capital Partners (PRCP) is one of the nation’s premier retail operating groups of large open-air centers and enclosed malls, with more than $2 billion in retail assets presently under management in the United States. Based in Southern California, PRCP provides end-to-end sourcing, assessment, underwriting, valuing, developing, and asset management of retail real estate with a proven track record of repositioning retail properties. PRCP strategically manages over 20 million square feet of regional malls and open-air lifestyle centers. The Executive team has over 150 years of collective real estate expertise with deep experience in leasing, marketing, operations, design, development, investment, and finance. With a keen focus on enhancing the value and quality of its growing portfolio, PRCP is dedicated to creating a unique, strategic vision for each property and exceeding the highest expectations of retail investors, retailers, and consumers. To learn more visit pacificretail.com or follow social media at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pacificretailcapitalpartners/
Instagram: @PacificRetail

SafeTraces Media Contact
NINICO Communications | Kiana Karn | kiana@ninicocommunications.com

Eastridge Center Media Contact
NINICO Communications | Diandra Weldon | diandra@ninicocommunications.com

This post originally appeared on PRLOG. Read it here.

How to Create an IAQ Strategy

By Tyler Smith, Erik Malmstrom & Sean McCrady | December 6, 2021

COVID-19 has certainly spotlighted the need for clean air in commercial buildings. However, improving indoor air quality shouldn’t begin and end with the pandemic. The importance of clean air extends beyond viruses and bacteria — common airborne particulates like mold, allergens, pollution and smoke can also negatively impact occupants’ long-term health and comfort, in turn hurting focus, productivity and satisfaction. According to the EPA, Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, so organizations must reevaluate how they deliver healthy and safe indoor environments to meet the public’s rising expectations of a modern building. That starts with the HVAC contractor.

While every building needs clean air, there is no one-size-fits-all IAQ strategy that will work for every building. What works for one may be lacking for another, leaving occupants vulnerable.

Through a customized, science-based approach with a trusted partner, HVAC contractors can optimize a specific building’s design, system capabilities and unique characteristics with the highest performing clean air strategies for occupant health and wellness.

Buildings require customized clean air strategies

HVAC professionals understand better than anyone every that building’s needs, design and challenges are unique, meaning every organization’s clean air blueprint must also be unique. Varying factors like space size, number of occupants, building use and existing infrastructure require customized solutions to deliver an effective and holistic strategy.

For instance, a small commercial office building will have vastly different IAQ needs than a large K-12 school. Most rooms in an office building are uniform in size; occupants typically stay in assigned cubicles throughout the day and, in smaller buildings, circulating clean air from outside is easier. In a K-12 school, on the other hand, students are constantly switching classes and rooms vary in sizes from classrooms to gymnasiums. The younger age of a school’s occupants also makes them more susceptible to some illnesses and less likely to follow public safety protocol. The level of clean air management sufficient for a small office building would likely fall short in a K-12 school. This acts as just one example of why, when working across industries, HVAC contractors need to create a clean air strategy tailored to each building’s design specifications and occupant needs.

Starting with science-based assessments and integrated solutions

To help identify a clean air strategy that best meets a commercial building’s needs, HVAC leaders can realize value from science-based IAQ and infection risk assessments. These assessments evaluate baseline risk levels and system performance in buildings, pinpoint gaps and make necessary updates for a long-term clean air strategy that provides the strongest health and safety, financial and energy efficiency ROI possible.

By working with a trusted partner, organizations’ HVAC teams have the ability to assess systems’ ventilation performance with aerosol tracing technology that simulates the mobility and exposure levels of airborne pathogens in order to detect, measure and visualize airflow, ventilation and filtration performance.

The real-world value of these assessments is three-fold. First, independent assessments quantify the health and safety ROI of a clean air strategy – for example, how significant is the exposure risk reduction provided by increasing outside air rates, MERV-level upgrades in AHU filters and local air cleaning devices? Without verification by a trusted partner, it is difficult for organizations to know whether they are making the right decisions for their building. Assessments can provide the answers.

Second, assessments ensure organizations are spending their financial resources most effectively, both for capital investments in the HVAC system and local air cleaning devices, as well as for operating costs especially related to energy usage. Frequently, assessments save customers significant money and avoid waste.

Third, these audits enable HVAC technicians to communicate the health and safety conditions of the building to key customer stakeholders in order to strengthen trust and maintain occupancy levels at the highest levels possible, safely. By relying on their HVAC provider for these auditing services, organizations can feel confident both in their partnerships and the safety of their buildings.

Upon completing IAQ and risk assessments and setting targets, HVAC partners can ensure all stakeholders remain informed and implement integrated clean air solutions to meet customers’ goals. Together, these technologies provide a comprehensive, connected and data-driven approach to clean indoor air that delivers long-term success.

Leading clean air solutions most preferred by HVAC experts include:

  • Upgraded air handler or package unit filtration with MERV 13 filters
  • In-zone filtration and disinfection solutions like ultraviolet-C lighting
  • Advanced air quality sensors for ongoing testing and monitoring
  • HVAC equipment remediation and maintenance

Delivering the healthy building of the future

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a lasting impact on how we think about building health, and more organizations are making significant investments in clean air. But these investments must be tailored to each building and organization’s needs to maximize returns.

By taking a customized approach to their clean air strategy, incorporating science-based risk assessments and integrating solutions, HVAC suppliers can deliver customized solutions to help contractors and give occupants the peace of mind that their environment best meets their IAQ needs.

Tyler Smith is executive director of Healthy Buildings at Johnson Controls. Erik Malmstrom is CEO of SafeTraces. Sean McCrady is director, Asset and Sustainability Performance, Real Estate Properties at UL.

This post originally appeared on hvacpproducts.com. Read it here.

SafeTraces Welcomes Ted Bischak to the Company’s Board of Directors

Leading Commercial Real Estate Investor Will Support Continued Growth in the Built Environment

Date: December 2, 2021

Today, SafeTraces is proud to announce the appointment of Ted Bischak as independent board director. Representing the company’s common stockholders, Mr. Bischak will leverage his extensive and successful experience as an investor, operator, and technologist to ensure strong corporate governance and performance.

Ted Bischak is a Principal and Co-Founder of Ocean West Capital Partners.  He is responsible for all Property Operations including, Asset Management, Property Management, Construction Management and Physical Due Diligence, upon acquisition or disposition, of managed assets.

Prior to the formation of Ocean West Capital Partners, he was Senior Vice President of Asset Management for Maguire Properties, responsible for the firm’s entire portfolio of 21 million square feet of real estate assets.

Before joining Maguire Properties, Mr. Bischak served as Senior Vice President for CommonWealth Partners, where, in partnership with the CalPERS pension fund, he was responsible for all operations activities, including in-house property management, tenant improvement, operational leasing, and asset management for the $1.5 billion portfolio and directed all property-level acquisition and disposition activities.

Additionally, Mr. Bischak has held senior management positions with Tooley & Company and The Irvine Company, where he was a key member of the development team on over 6 million square feet of new office development product, multiple retail, and hotel projects as well as 6,000 apartment units over his 35-year career in commercial real estate.

“It is extremely rare to find a versatile leader like Ted who has such a stellar reputation and proven track record as a real estate investor, operator, and technologist,” said SafeTraces CEO Erik Malmstrom. “Moreover, he is well-known across the industry as an individual who has demonstrated the highest standards of integrity, ethics, and professionalism throughout his very successful career. SafeTraces is excited to enlist Ted’s leadership as we grow and expand our business in the built environment and deliver on our mission to create a safer, better, more sustainable world.”

“Today, the real estate industry stands at the most important crossroads of my 30+ year career,” said Bischak. “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a mega-trend that was already well underway beforehand – health, safety, and wellness becoming a core value driver in real estate assets. SafeTraces has developed one of the most groundbreaking and disruptive technologies in the marketplace, which is positioned to be the gold standard for safety performance verification throughout the built environment. I am deeply committed to supporting the company to realize this massive potential and deliver exceptional financial results for our stockholders.”

About SafeTraces

SafeTraces is committed to ensuring the highest safety standards for the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the medicines we take by harnessing the power of DNA. We provide marketing leading safety technology solutions for indoor air safety and product traceability. Learn more at www.safetraces.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Healthy Air Episode #22

Episode #22

A More Prepared Future | Dr. Nick Clements

In this episode, Dr. Nick Clements talks about how buildings need multiple modes of operation. He also shares that it is interesting to learn how humans integrate with technical systems, because we constantly interact and impact many aspects of our indoor environments.

Dr. Nick Clements earned his BS, MS, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder while working with engineers and scientists throughout the air quality community. After completing a Postdoctoral at CU Boulder researching surge control for pandemic flu and indoor air quality, Dr. Nick relocated to Rochester, Minnesota to work at the Well Living Lab as a Senior Director. With the Well Living Lab, he helped manage sensor and building systems, perform data analysis on large sets of environmental data, plan and propose research experiments and strategy, and coordinate research investigations. At the start of this year, he returned to CU Boulder. Dr. Nick’s research interests include indoor and outdoor air quality, dust emissions, hospital infection control and contamination transport, bioaerosols in the microbiome, applied statistics, and air quality data visualization.

Keeping air safe has never been more important. Now that we are in the next normal, it is critical that the air we breathe in shared indoor spaces is healthy and safe for continued occupancy. Are we ready to face this challenge and mitigate airborne exposure risk indoors? Welcome to Healthy Air, a podcast that talks about the future of buildings and how to keep air safe and healthy. Keep up with the latest industry trends, latest technologies, and regulatory changes with your host, Erik Malmstrom, industry experts, and the SafeTraces team here on Healthy Air.

SHOW NOTES:

  • An overview of Dr. Nick’s background [1:38]
  • Research for a negative pressure ward [7:32]
  • Working at the Well Living Lab [14:32]
  • Human behavior impact [19:21]
  • Understanding of airborne transmission in a pandemic [22:44]
  • Inconsistent guidelines [27:07]
  • Buildings need multiple modes of operation [31:26]
  • Future of the air quality field [42:08]

RESOURCES:

QUOTES:

Pandemic preparedness plans exist, however few have been tested.”

“We experience and have an impact on many aspects of the indoor environment.”

“Humans interact and impact their environments all the time.”

“The physics of transmission needs to be brought to current understanding. This transmission route is significant and important and should be protected against in all scenarios.”

There’s momentum toward a holistic view of how physical processes of viruses work.

Different guidelines on protective equipment in healthcare facilities are set.

“We’re building systems that can be resilient to climate change and other scenarios where buildings do need to be kind of operated in a range of conditions.”

“I see that value of engaging with economists, behavioral researchers, sociologists to demonstrate the value of improving air quality to the public, as a critical next step.”

Willow Glen combat veteran battles COVID with brand-new technology

Written by William Bellou

Willow Glen resident Erik Malmstrom’s new business endeavor has major implications for the future of public safety in the era of COVID-19. Malmstrom, in his quest to create a better, safer, more sustainable world…
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