Like a Breath of Fresh Air
Father and son duo Jeff and Jon Bennert never intended to build a multimillion-dollar global air purifier business out of Amarillo, 7exas.
But that’s exactly what they’ve done with Air Oasis, a company whose groundbreaking technology literally changes the bacterial makeup of the air you breathe to keep you safer and healthier.
Just how did Amarillo become the global headquarters of the most innovative air purifier company in the world?
“We actually had a wellness center here in Amarillo for years,” says (Dr.) Jeff Bennert. And because we believe overall wellness incorporates good nutrition, clean water, and clean air, we initially became resellers for other air purification companies. ȋ That was when the Bennerts noticed that what passed for an air purifier was little more than a motor, a fan, and a filter that did nothing to change the actual air quality. Convinced there had to be a better alternative, they decided, in typical Amarilloan “can do” fashion, to come up with something better.
Tapping into the world-class talent at nearby West Texas A&M University – where research partner Dr. Nabarun Ghosh specializes in allergen and air quality research – the Bennerts came across nanotechnology. “That led to us developing our own proprietary technologies that we put in all our products,” says Jon Bennert. And Air Oasis was born.
Air Oasis products comprise two complementary pieces using two different technologies, that are installed at the same time, such as into an air conditioning unit. The first, AHPCO Advanced Hydrated Photo Catalytic Oxidation technology, essentially mimics how redundant air-cleansing ions are formed in nature from water vapor, and which actively seek out and neutralize pollutants.The second, bipolar ionization technology, produces both positive and negative ions, that are dispersed throughout your home to hunt the pollutants down. Once their job is done, they revert back to harmless water vapor, and the cycle gets repeated.
“So basically,” says Jon Bennert, “we turn your entire air conditioner into a whole home air purifier.
A $ 75,000, loan got Air Oasis o the ground in 2004. But it wasn’t until a few years later, when they won the Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge Ȃ a program of the WT Enterprise Center, funded by the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation – that the company really started to take o . “We needed to buy [a] CNC machine in order to expand and didn’t have the cash flow for it. 7hat money that we won [through the EnterPrize Challenge] was the exact amount we needed.”
“It was really a blessing, and we have that machine to this day.”
Air Oasis now occupies almost 20,000 square feet of space in Amarillo, the research and assembly hub for its 13 product lines that span residential, commercial, and HVAC sectors. The Bennerts don’t see that changing anytime soon.
“We’re centrally located in the U.S., so we can ship anywhere in about 3-4 days,” says Jon Bennert. “The cost of doing business is much lower here, and it’s great to be plugged into a supportive business network like the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation and Amarillo Enterprise Network.” Adds Dr. Bennert: “It’s safe too, and the community is really supportive. Amarillo is home.” Indeed, why leave when everything they need is right in Amarillo"
Pictured clockwise from top the Amarillo skyline at night; on the beaten path at the Palo 'uro Canyon )airly Group “disruptors” Alex Fairly and Bill Creedon; aspiring musicians at the Amarillo Youth Symphony Orchestra program; and Air Oasis environmental entrepreneurs -e and -on Bennett.