T. Monique Thornhill-Hevener
I would like to introduce myself to you as the CEO and founder of CitrisSan®. I'm a native of Richmond, VA, born and raised right here in the River City. The story of CitrisSan® goes like this, at the height of the pandemic, there was a shortage of hand sanitizer across the nation. Frustrated and disappointed with the shortage, I decided to make my own hand sanitizer. I wanted the create a natural hand sanitizer with the scents of citrus fruits. I experimented with different formulas and mixtures and failed many times. The formula must be accurate, as the FDA regulates hand sanitizer. I was aiming for 60% ethyl alcohol to ensure that the product was effective. The dilema I experienced was figuring out how to get the proper percentages of ethyl alcohol, isopropanol, and other ingredients. So, after some research, I stumbled upon a tool called a hydrometer. A hydrometer measures density of a liquid and is a tool that most home-made brewers use to test the alcohol concentration in their home-made wine and beer. I purchased a hydrometer, pH strips, Petri dishes and other tools to make sure my product would be effective in eliminating germs on the hands. After many failed attempts, I had the perfect formula.
I decided to sell my hand sanitizer at the local farmer’s market. I stood up a booth, a tent, and a table. I sold quite a few; people loved the smell, the consistency, and the smoothness on their hands. Two years later, I have three signature hand sanitizer scents, bar soaps, facial cleanser, bath bombs, sugar scrubs and hand creme'.
I have always been a science nut. I placed first at the science fair in high school. I chose plants for my science project. I had to determine if snails could survive without plants. I placed snails, plants and sand in several jars of water and some jars without plants. The assumption was the snails in the jars with plants, sand, and water would live longer because the plants would be a source of food. Surprisingly, the snails in the jars without plants lived the longest. This project proved that snails didn't need plants to live and also proved snails were able to get nutrients from other sources.
My dad was very proud of me when I told him I'd won the science fair. I was one of only 2 black students in my entire High school in Waterboro, Maine, and I won. I was happy too, and very proud of myself. I really didn't think I would win. I just knew that I had fun with the project and loved science. I really didn't care if I'd won or not.
If dad were here today, he would be so proud of me. He always encouraged me to do the best at whatever I chose to do and to put 110% effort into it, and that is exactly what I've done with CitrisSan®.
Each batch of CitrisSan's® hand sanitizer is tested at an accredited laboratory for accurate alcohol percentages and tested for the presence of methanol (wood alcohol) to ensure none is present in our product.
UR Alumni School of Professional & Continuing Studies
University of Richmond 2010
Bachelor of Applied Studies Information Systems Technology
Law and Technology