In 2017 Lael A. Alexander moved his Houston-based tech company, Noitavonne Inc., to Tulsa, attracted in part by the influence of Black Wall Street and his desire to contribute to that cultural history.
The Louisiana native previously served in the Navy and worked in various industries at corporations such as Entergy, Union Carbide and Ohmstede Limited.
But Alexander describes himself as a “serial entrepreneur.” His latest venture: NuAirs America LLC, a Noitavonne brand based at 10344 E. 58th St. The company makes air-sterilization equipment using technology developed by Alexander.
Since early 2020 that technology has been handily retrofitted for defense against COVID-19; Alexander says the company’s equipment is 99% effective against the virus. Legacy Christian Academy Principal Tandi Wells calls its purchase of a NuAirs disinfecting fogging machine and 23 air sterilization units “an extremely important part in our reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year.”
Between April and June, NuAirs expanded from making electronics to producing much-needed personal protective equipment for businesses nationwide, including several local health care centers: “surgical masks, gowns, you name it,” Alexander says.
“(My team and I) came up with the phrase, ‘Sometimes you have to answer the call when your phone doesn’t ring,’ and I started to repurpose what we intended to build here,” Alexander says. “They were expecting me to act.”
Though he knew the pivot to PPE production wouldn’t be especially profitable for NuAirs, he says that wasn’t the primary goal. “We will not be making money,” he told his team at the time. “We will be answering the call of the day.”tp