Female Disruptors: How Rayne Guest Of R-Water Is Shaking Up How Disinfectants Are Produced

Authority Magazine
Jun 12, 2020 · 8 min read

“You’re crazy if you think you can do that.” The desire to prove people wrong is the best motivator. When I first pitched to an angel investor on moving to Texas to set up R-Water, I said I could move my brother and myself, set up a facility, hire an R&D team, and operate for three months with $50,000. He said I was crazy, and I knew it was because he could not begin to imagine how I would do it. I told him, “Crazy gets it done.” He was amused, took the hint, and wrote a check.

had the pleasure to interview Rayne Guest. She is the founder and CEO of R-Water, whose patented computerized device is helping in the fight against COVID-19. The device is installed in facilities, such as hospitals, hotels, schools, restaurants, and nursing homes. It uses only pure salt, softened water, and electricity to produce TK60, a healthcare-grade disinfectant and non-toxic multi-purpose cleaner FC+. While living in Los Angeles, Rayne launched her career in the green industry developing customized recycling programs for hotels and other commercial properties. It was in this line of work that she saw the substantial and lasting negative consequences of commercial cleaning and disinfecting products. In 2012, after a chance meeting with former Texas Governor Mark White, Rayne moved to Texas and founded R-Water.

Thank you so much for joining us! What is your backstory?

I was raised in a scenic small mountain town in Idaho. Growing up, my parents emphasized independence and accountability. They laid a solid foundation for my commitment to making the world a better place.

I was often sent to the nearby lake to clean up after campers who had left their trash. When I would say it was not my trash, they would reply “Is it your lake?” Touché, Mom and Dad. Their actions matched their words. They would often be seen on their nightly walks picking up bags of litter from the roadside.

It was multi-generational as well. When I would ask my grandparents for a candy bar, they would have me collect cans from the side of the road to pay for one. These experiences were incredibly impactful and engrained in me an ability to see value in unlikely places.

The extent to which these principles were not “normal” for others became especially apparent and when I wound up in Los Angeles after college. I saw a city plagued with trash on the street and overflowing out of trash cans. Others saw it as something street cleaners should pick up and waste companies should haul away. I saw value in it all. I was in my 20’s by this point, so my desire to live comfortably, travel, and otherwise enjoy life, became my “candy bar”. Of course, picking up individual cans was no longer going to cut it, so I started creating large scale recycling programs.

Why did you found your company?

I was having success in the recycling arena, but two things happened almost simultaneously. First, I found myself in the position of a sexual advancement by the owner of the recycling company I contracted through. I turned him down politely, but he retaliated by wiping out the commissions I’d spent my own money developing, and I was financially back at square one.

Then, I was asked by the head of facilities of the Kor Group to develop a recycling program for Anguilla, a Caribbean Island where they were developing a new resort. During the project I learned about the horrific effects chemical containers were having on the island; when they were disposed of in landfills, the toxic residues were seeping into the groundwater. From there, they made their way to the aquifer, the source of drinking water for the islanders, and people had become ill from the poison. Then I was hit with the thought, if this is happening on an island this size, what’s happening to the rest of the world?

I redirected my focus and began working with a company that developed a water electrolysis technology that enabled hotels to produce nontoxic cleaning and sanitizing products on-site. The technology could not be used in healthcare, but it was proven for hotels, so I went to work bringing it to hotels around the Los Angeles area. We got some great press, with The LA Times and Fox News. Shortly after, in 2009, the company was purchased by a global, multi-billion-dollar corporation, who immediately shelved the product.

The company’s obvious disregard for human health and the environment angered me, so I went on a journey to find a new way to produce the technology. In 2010, I found one that was even better than the one that had been shelved, and in 2012, after beta testing with the Metro for the City of LA with great results, I moved to Texas and founded R-Water.

What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Where do I start? The work that R-Water is doing is going directly against the way things have been done for decades. Multi-million and -billion-dollar companies make their money by manufacturing and distributing a plethora of chemicals for all manner of cleaning and disinfecting. The two hypoallergenic solutions produced by our device — TK60 One-Step Healthcare-grade Disinfectant and FC+ All-Purpose Cleaner — replace literally tens of thousands of products on the market today and they’re produced on-site, so we eliminate plastic waste from entering our landfills and oceans.

These tens of thousands of products are used everywhere, in schools, nursing homes, hospitals, office buildings, etc. They commonly warn of health issues including ‘may cause allergies and aspiration issues,’ ‘may alter red blood cells in mammals’ (that means causes cancer), and ‘may attack internal organs.’ If all the toxic chemicals we use in our homes and our public facilities were eliminated, the world would be healthier and Big Pharma’s revenues would substantially drop.

Years ago, former Texas Governor Mark White arranged for me to meet with a board member of a major healthcare group. I was so proud as we had just received lab reports showing our disinfectant, TK60 killed 100% of tested germs in one minute, ten times faster than most products in the market. By this time, I had learned about the millions of Healthcare Acquired Infections that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths annually. I thought I was a shoo-in, but he looked at me, grinned, and without skipping a beat said, “Young lady, now why would we want to disinfect better? That’s a repeat customer.” The ugly business side of healthcare became evident, and my determination deepened…substantially.

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?

I’ve found that if you’re always seeking and open to knowledge, the universe will bring you what you need. Considering my track record of where I meet people, my brother often jokes that I should just spend my time hanging out in restaurants and taking random flights. Fortunately, people generally see the immense health, social, economic, and environmental impact that our technology can have in the world and have been extremely generous in their offers to help ensure we achieve our mission, whether it be with advice, an introduction, or words of encouragement.

David Nagy and Craig Franklin have been pillars of support since the beginning. David is a co-founder and patent attorney who has put in numerous hours of expertise and always been an encouraging sounding board. Craig is our original angel investor and can always be counted on to provide a fresh angle to approach a perplexing business scenario.

My parents are R-Water’s biggest cheerleaders. My father, a retired military Lt. Colonel has always seen the value our technology can bring to bases and field operations. My mother, a retired Nurse Practitioner, has really helped us understand the position of health workers to better serve their needs. When times are particularly rough, they have always reminded me, “You’re saving lives. You can’t quit.”

How are you going to shake things up next?

It is generally not wise to show your hand prematurely, but I have a strong interest in “making dollars out of sense,” especially when it pertains to broken economies, health, and instilling respect for life.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? w/story or example of each.

“Do your part and don’t be a bitch.” My grandma always said this, and it taught me that nothing is owed to you. Whether helping the bussers when I was a waitress or doing manual labor at R-Water’s facility, if something needs to get done and I can help, I do what is needed to get the job done. When others see this, they really go beyond the expectations put on them.

“You’re crazy if you think you can do that.” The desire to prove people wrong is the best motivator. When I first pitched to an angel investor on moving to Texas to set up R-Water, I said I could move my brother and myself, set up a facility, hire an R&D team, and operate for three months with $50,000. He said I was crazy, and I knew it was because he could not begin to imagine how I would do it. I told him, “Crazy gets it done.” He was amused, took the hint, and wrote a check.

“Don’t mess with people’s money.” A business partner taught me this over 15 years ago. You have ups and downs in a company, but you never risk the team’s livelihood by reducing their pay or — God forbid — by skipping a paycheck. We have had more than our fair share of tough years, but I have always been upfront with my team about any uncertainty and guaranteed at least 30 days’ notice if I was going to be unable to pay them. The honesty was appreciated and forged a culture of trust.

What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Share a story with us.

Hands down, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. She was a logical, observant pioneer who brought the misuse of agricultural pesticides to the forefront of conversation and national debate in 1962 by correctly proposing that we were slowly poisoning ourselves and highlighting the “cumulative effect.”

One example from the book was regarding DDT. It was used over lakes to kill gnats at acceptable levels of 1-part pesticide to 70 million parts water. Years later, the water was tested and didn’t show DDT, but DDT was found in the fatty tissue of carnivorous animals that inhabited the lake at an astounding 2,600 ppm.

How did this happen? Bioaccumulation. Plankton absorbed the poison from the water. Herbivores ate the poisoned plankton. Smaller carnivores ate the herbivores. Larger carnivores ate the smaller ones. The poison never left the lake, yet it infiltrated the fabric of life that was the lake and destroyed it.

Today, we continue to misuse pesticides, including antimicrobial pesticides (aka disinfectants) and other chemicals. Each product has its own list of warnings and when you’re exposed to numerous products, every day, you wind up with catastrophic results.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

I hope that my experiences and work will add value to society and inspire others to the point where I’m sharing meals with these ‘names’ on a regular basis. If you’re open, with pure intentions, the universe generally brings you what you need.

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