For Caitlin Jenkins Holesinsky ‘15, finding her way to SOU and helping those in need during the COVID-19 crisis, took unique paths. Born and raised in Anchorage, AK, Caitlin’s grandparents retired in the Rogue Valley, so by the age of eight, she was visiting often. Her parents also decided to retire there so after graduating from high school in Anchorage and attending the University of Alaska-Anchorage for a year, she made a practical yet comfortable move to be close to her family. Caitlin initially attended Rogue Community College, earning an associate’s degree in social science before transferring to SOU.
Her SOU experience was long-lasting. “I was interested in science and wanted to become a veterinarian but with guidance from my advisor, Dr. Michael Parker, and great teachers like Dr. Doug Chapman and Dr. Hala Schepmann, I got excited about my future and ended up doing my senior capstone on pharmaceutical compounding,” said Caitlin. “I also learned some amazing laboratory techniques while working with those teachers that I still use daily, doing research and development.”
After graduating with a degree in biology-biomedical science, an introduction by friends to James Holesinsky and subsequent marriage to him led her to an unexpected application of her degree and training. James was the owner of a chemical company, Clear Lakes Products in Twin Falls, Idaho, as well as the Holesinsky Winery and Vineyard. Clear Lakes Products manufactures bulk disinfectants, soaps, and acids for the dairy and agricultural industry.
After the pandemic hit America, Caitlin was delivering wine to local stores when she had an epiphany, “I was in stores and I could feel the angst among people, particularly the elderly. We do a lot of business with Albertson’s corporate and we already had the manufacturing materials and chemicals to make hand sanitizer available locally.” She went to work to have a label made and then applied to the Food and Drug Administration for a license that typically takes six to twelve months to approve. The FDA approved in one week. Clear Lakes launched into production, initially using one-gallon containers for packaging. After running out of containers, packaging became a challenge so Caitlin got resourceful. “We had 20,000, 1.5-liter wine pouches on hand but we sold those out so we are using a 750-milliliter pouch,” she said.
Clear Lakes has produced 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, much of which they’ve donated to their local community through local senior centers, the South Central Public Health District, the United Way, the Twin Falls Fire District, and any non-profits in need, making sure at-risk populations have access. “Local small businesses are all about family, community, and trust. We are honored to be able to help our community and region and want this to be a long-term relationship that benefits everyone,” added Caitlin.
Now that’s honorable and refreshing!
Learn more: clearlakesproducts.com