White House asks Lexington company to pause making movie magic to become coronavirus warriors

VSE Global went from making snow machines to disinfecting mist machines in a matter of 5 weeks.

Posted: May 28, 2020 4:54 PM
Updated: May 28, 2020 10:24 PM

A business in the Shoals found itself going from the entertainment business to the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fransicso Guerra, the owner of VSE Global, and many other ventures is the creator of the famous snow machine.

"Most people don't have a need to spray large amounts of product in the air and let it dry quickly. So we've been doing all the theme parks the last 30 years," said Guerra.

Plus you can find his machines on Broadway, the Harry Potter movies, Twilight and dozens of others. All of that changed with one phone call in April.

"It was about 5 weeks ago the phone rang on a Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. and it said White House and I said nah," Guerra said.

He thought it was a joke, but instead it was Vice President Mike Pence's office.

As part of the Defense Production Act, the federal government asked Guerra to turn his fine-tuned bubble snow machines into these fine mist disinfecting machines.

"The engineers figured out the science very quickly and then we went to product testing and the product testing took us about a week and a half and we sent all of the results we were really right on the money without making multiple attempts we got it on the first try," said Guerra.

Guerra showed WAAY31 the three new versions of the disinfecting mist machine. There is one large one that costs about $8,000. It can disinfect large areas and the mist has a span of about 100 feet. The other two are smaller ones. One of the designs is one wheels and the other is like a backpack. Both are made to be portable and easy to move.

"We're the only company that's got a certified machine that can do what we do," said Guerra.

The mist dries in two minutes max. It's a different business venture for Guerra going from making people smile with fake snow to keeping them safe from germs.

"You feel like you're a part of America, a part of the supply chain. It was really cool. If everybody I knew that was in business would be making machines like I'm making we still don't have enough to supply the demand," said Guerra.

Guerra's biggest customer, Disney World, is now coverting Guerra's snow machines they already have into disinfecting ones. Guerra is currently using a chemical approved by the EPA but his company is developing its own that is more "green."

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