The word “brio” means strength, spirit, life, action, passion and energy. Briotech, Inc. is a heavily science-based manufacturer of sanitizers and cleaning products that help keep us healthy in the face of life’s many ups and downs, and during the occasional global pandemic; but they’re much more than a manufacturer.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the company formally launched BrioEarth in May 2020 to provide help to individuals and communities battling the pandemic. “As the humanitarian division of Briotech, Inc., BrioEarth is currently supported solely by our parent company, Briotech, through a percentage of the gross sales and through donations of our products,” explains Cynthia Varela, executive director of BrioEarth and founder of Briotech, Inc.
BrioEarth has donated to hundreds of causes and nonprofits across the United States and around the world. “Though BrioEarth has primarily donated goods by way of personal care, cosmetic, and sanitizing products to those in need such as first responders, tribal nations, homeless support initiatives, disaster relief efforts, and wildfire animal rescue associations, BrioEarth has also been honored to provide monetary donations to educational institutions like the University of Washington | Bothell, to organizations that support victims of trafficking like Free to Fly, and to charitable organizations of our employees’ choosing,” shares Varela.
In support of the company’s efforts, Briotech’s Chief Medical Officer, Board Member, and Managing Director of BrioEarth, Dr. Eric Rasmussen, exemplifies how hands-on caring starts from the top.
As a decorated Navy veteran of three wars, Rasmussen is a recognized disaster medicine expert who’s been an instructor at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva. He’s a Stanford Medical School graduate and has held leadership roles in several global humanitarian organizations. He completed 14 combat and disaster relief tours and was a practicing physician for more than 20 years.
Rasmussen is about to embark on his latest charitable mission. “This trip is for BrioEarth and our work within a fairly large slum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania called Kiwalani,” he says. “I’m a part of an NGO, Mobile Medical Team International, that delivers care there and in Pakistan, in partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation and the Ministries of Health for both countries. BrioEarth has now joined that supporting team.”
“This trip will involve about 10 days in Tanzania, and the core of this trip is the conversion of a very small clinic into a much more capable hospital, working closely with community members who live in Kiwalani,” explains Rasmussen. “We’ll all be working with patients in the existing clinic as well, bringing BrioHOCl to a population in great need, but it’s time to expand the services we can provide. Kiwalani has at least 100,000 people and perhaps many more—it’s hard to tell—and very little infrastructure. Not much power, water, food, transportation, communication, education, or healthcare. It’s a needful place.”
Rasmussen is no stranger to this far-flung location. “I’ve worked in this clinic in this slum in this challenging corner of Africa for years,” he explains. “Now we’ve established enough of an understanding of needs, resources, personalities, and culture that we all think we can take the level of care we’re delivering to the next step. It’s not yet settled, and we’ll probably find both pleasant and unpleasant surprises waiting for us, but BrioEarth has good partners in the community and in the government. We’ll spend the mornings working expansion plans and solving problems, and the rest of the day taking care of people.”
When asked why spending his time in such difficult settings was important, Rasmussen had no hesitancy in his answer. “I have been remarkably fortunate. I’m the son of an immigrant, so first-generation, and the first in my family to attend college, so I have both a desire and an obligation to pay it forward. BrioEarth is the best method I have available to me.” he shares. “I also spent 25 years being deployed as a Navy doc in a lot of difficult places, so I have some idea how much need there is in the world. Over a few decades, I’ve gained some education, some experience, and a few skills, and I’m learning how to put it all to good use at Briotech. I’ve found a network of very good people to work with in BrioEarth, and communities that both need and want help, so off we go.”
All of this echoes the efforts and inspirations of the company’s founders, Dan Terry and Cynthia Varela, a husband-and-wife team. “We were both raised in small towns during a time when ethics was still taught in school and sense of community flourished,” says Varela. “As children, we grew up seeing how contributions of our families’ time and money, or gifts of groceries changed individual lives, and we witnessed the ripple effect of that. With that example, we became adults who believe ‘A blessing shared is a blessing doubled’ (quote by Matshona Dhliwayo) and we feel that if you can affect positive change in the world, you should. So together, we have fostered this belief in our own lives, in the lives of our children, within Briotech and the individuals who work with us, and now, too, that personal and corporate philosophy is manifested through BrioEarth.”
You can read more about Briotech’s strong purpose and charitable giving through their website or Facebook page. Their sanitizing and disinfectant products can be ordered online, on Amazon, or by calling 888.808.BRIO. Support their mission to keep everyone safe, whether around the corner or on the other side of the globe.