Executive Q&A: Entrepreneur credits success to good decisions, hard work
Jim Tedrow's Compliance Resource Group dominates the Oklahoma City market for drug and alcohol testing.
A: The first few years following graduation, I did bench tests in a clinical lab in Wichita. As much as I liked the analytical thinking involved in science, I knew that sitting in a room all day studying samples under a microscope wouldn't do it for me career-wise. Then, I got some management experience as lab director at the Warren Clinic in Stillwater, where my mom worked and told me of the opportunity. The lab collected drug and alcohol samples, but sent them elsewhere for testing. I was constantly getting calls from companies about needing their results quicker, and that spawned the idea to pursue a way to test and get results quicker. So at age 29, I made the crazy life decision to quit my job, borrow money and start CRG. I bought a 28-foot class C motor home so I could drive up to workplaces, collect urine samples and do the tests right there. I started with some of my Warren Clinic clients, but moved to Tulsa to set up shop in a larger market. Two and half years later, in 2002, my brother, who's my operations manager, and I relocated to Oklahoma City to take over a walk-in facility, which was running into issues because of unethical practices of its former lab director. We knew that if we'd establish a legitimate, trustworthy lab, the market was ripe and would respond well.
Q: How did you meet your wife?
A: Her mother played matchmaker. I was volunteering as coach of the seventh- and eighth-grade football team of Mount Saint Mary's, a client of mine, and coached my future brother-in-law, my wife's baby brother. Eliana and I met at a game, dated one and a half years and married when I was 35 and she was 25. Nearly a year to the day later, we had our first child, and it's been nothing but a blur of kids since. It's awesome.
Q: What are your long-range goals for CRG?
A: We recently bought Edmond-based Laboratory Consulting Services, which manages drug testing for some 600 clients. We believe the acquisition will help us increase revenues 40 percent to 50 percent this year. Our sales target for 2013 is $3 million.