John Shanahan explaining the importance of Reopening churches as Vice Mayor McKenzie prepares questions to ask.

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — When John Shanahan, President/CEO of Ionogen heard of a national survey that mentioned 80 percent of the African American churches feared returning to their church buildings as covid-19 began to rage across

Ionopure system

the United States; he did not know he was on the same trajectory as the Faith Leaders Initiative in Knoxville. The concern for the churches reopening too soon without proper planning, preparation and prayer, was also on the minds of Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie, New Directions CEO Cynthia Finch and CONNECT Ministries Director Keira Wyatt.

Thus was born one of many partnerships. The  Faith Leaders Initiative has been meeting weekly  since May 1st, bringing in subject matter experts on how to safely

Dr. Gene Overholt explaining the health
benefits. Photos by Vivian Shipe

reopen church buildings. Shanahan and his team began to join the discussions, and knowing the importance of church congregations being able to gather together; he gifted the 70 plus churches who are on the weekly call initiated by the vice mayor with infrared thermometers and misting systems which clean the air and surfaces in buildings.

His company, Ionogen had already, provided the system to the Boys and Girls Clubs in Knoxville when covid shut down the country back in March. The system is used in his building and factories and no one wears a mask in his facilities. He gave members of the Faith Leaders a tour of his factory last week. The company is based in Knoxville and nothing is out sourced. He employees locally and keeps the factory on the bus line as he employees many from the Sunshine Industries.The company uses their own 3D printing systems for their plastics and all products have a lifetime warranty.

Cynthia Finch, left, and Keira Wyatt

A technical engineer for over 20 years, he teamed up with Knoxville physician Dr. Gene Overholt who firmly supports the health benefits of the system. The product is hypochlorous- based and is safe to use around children and pets. The system is the size of a coffee pot and is used to allow open access to rooms.

As the churches prepare to reopen their buildings, Shanahan has also committed to sending a team the night before reopening to set up the system to prepare the buildings as they reopen their doors to their members.