When the laboratory Evelyn O’Toole managed burned down, it was the motivation she needed to start her own business, says Sean Gallagher
When Evelyn, who is a scientist by training, found herself out of a job after her own laboratory burnt down she decided to take control of her own future. Today her company, Complete Lab Solutions (CLS), employs 110 staff and has an annual turnover of €7.2m.
“I have never liked mediocre. I can’t identify with it,” insists Evelyn as she welcomes me to one of the company’s two laboratories – in Ros Muc in the heart of Connemara. “For the last 22 years, we have continuously invested in building both our expertise and our people, so that we could become leaders in our field,” she adds.
Evelyn and her team carry out food testing and environmental analysis for their clients. Evelyn explains:
“We test a variety of food products and have developed specialised expertise particularly in the testing of the ready-to-eat sector for clients such as Supermacs and Topaz, Our clients depend on us to protect their customers from potential food poisoning and other hazards – and to support this, we have a fleet of 12 vans collecting samples daily, under controlled conditions, with full chain of custody protection and real-time reporting of all results,”
CLS also carry out water, waste water and sea water sampling and testing across Ireland. They have built a strong reputation by working with well-known organisations such as Shell and the EPA. CLS also have developed the highest capability of hydrocarbon testing in the country – involving testing water and soil samples for contamination from substances such as oil, petrol, and diesel.
This second laboratory is based in Galway City and is a dedicated, state-of-the-art facility that specialises in working with medical device firms such as Medtronic & Cook as well as pharmaceutical giants such as Allergan and Astellas. Here, the company carries out analytical and microbiological testing including the monitoring of clean rooms, media fills, drugs, stents, catheters, metal and polymer components as well as artificial hips and knees.
It also has the only facility in the country for potent drug testing including chemotherapy drugs. Evelyn explains:
“Globally, we are now in demand for the testing of sterile barriers, ensuring the integrity of products such as syringes and other drug delivery systems to ensure their safety during their lifespan, Having our various licences and accreditations such as ISO 17025 (108T), ISO 9001:2008 and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), as well as approval by the FDA in the USA, are also important and help provide confidence to our clients,”
Evelyn has many Irish clients with the company’s client base consistently growing and expanding over waters. She now has clients in Switzerland, Germany, and Denmark with many inquiries come in from as far as the US and Israel. The future is bright for CLS.
Supplying fully trained analysts on contract to clients has also proven to be hugely successful for the company. Each analyst is specially trained by the company and is then available to be outsourced when required to client sites.
“This is a unique approach in the marketplace and we created it to provide flexibility to our clients, so they can choose to either send us their samples for testing or we can supply them with highly skilled, ready to go analysts on contract.”
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