handsanitizer 042420PARK FOREST – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many companies are using their manufacturing capabilities to make disinfectant products to distribute to frontline heroes. A local example is Essations Inc., a hair and skin care product company located in Park Forest  that turned its production lines to hand sanitizer.

However, Essations Inc. found itself with a dwindling supply of alcohol  – the most important ingredient in hand sanitizer. Stephanie Luster, the company’s president and director of Education, contacted State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) for help. Sen. Joyce quickly reached out to multiple state agencies, including the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

“Stephanie Luster and Essations are taking exactly the initiative we need right now,” Joyce said. “I was eager to help her small business continue operations and bring much needed hand sanitizer to the members of our community.”

Sen. Joyce contacted Dept. of Ag. Director Jerry Costello, who called the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center. NCERC Executive Director John Caupert agreed to help find an ethanol biorefinery that could help Essations continue producing hand sanitizer.

“The only way we’ll get through this difficult time is by supporting each other,” Joyce said. “I want to thank all of the companies and individuals who worked together to help connect Essations and Adkins Energy.”

Once Luster confirmed  the volume of ethanol needed and the best method of delivery, Caupert contacted Ray Baker, General Manager of Adkins Energy in Lena, Illinois. Adkins Energy agreed to partner with Essations to ensure hand sanitizer production continued in Park Forest.

“Director of Agriculture Jerry Costello is someone I admire and respect very much, so I was eager to help when he said I would likely be contacted by Illinois State Senator Pat Joyce,” said NCERC Director Caupert. “Senator Joyce, like me, is a farm boy, and farmers rally to assist and support each other. From one farm boy to another, I couldn’t wait to assist Senator Joyce’s constituent, in whatever way I possibly could.”

With the help of a local chapter of the Teamsters Union, who volunteered to make sure the project was a success, the first shipment of ethanol went out on Friday, April 17.