A company founded by first responders in Onondaga County is revolutionizing COVID-19 safety on some of the biggest soundstages in Hollywood.
Now, Cinemedics is heading to San Diego as the primary provider of testing for CNN’s Life Itself Conference next week.
It’s been a busy few days of packing for Cinemedics' founder Heather Drake-Bianchi and the rest of the team in Syracuse.
Cinemedics was founded in 2020 by local first responders to provide mobile COVID testing for some of the biggest productions in Hollywood, including "Don’t Look Up."
“Not just laboratory testing, but COVID compliance, risk mitigation, keeping everybody on set safe,” said Heather Drake-Bianchi, founder of Cinemedics.
This month, they’re in charge of COVID-19 testing and compliance for CNN’s Life Itself conference. There, they’ll be working with some big names.
“Dr. Sanjay Gupta, three former U.S. presidents, Astronaut Scott Kelly,” Drake-Bianchi said.
That means transporting their entire team — which is more like a family — and their mobile testing unit across the country to San Diego.
The team includes paramedics like Drake-Bianchi, but also experts from a host of other fields.
“I couldn’t do it alone," Drake-Bianchi said. "The only reason this is happening and happening well is because of all of the expertise that the different team members bring to the table.”
When it was time to start loading up the truck, a critical member of the team spoke. Rich Nuzzo was in charge of finding a vehicle that would be capable of meeting the company’s demands.
“Productions need a larger footprint vehicle, so I did extensive research into finding a platform that would fit for us,” Nuzzo, chief operations officer for Cinemedics, said.
That means more than just driving off the lot and onto the set.
“I did a good month of work upfitting it to fit our needs, because for the laboratory world, there’s a lot of extensive things that need to be done from electrical and environmental controls to fit our need,” Nuzzo said.
With everything packed up and Nuzzo behind the wheel, it was time to see the van off from the East Syracuse headquarters.
“I think it means we’ve really proven something, that we know what we’re doing and all of our combined backgrounds to approaching clinical laboratory services is better than alternative approaches,” Drake-Bianchi said.