'There are many opportunities in our industries'
Q: Describe your company.
A: InOut Labs works with employers nationwide to create safe, secure, drug-free workplaces. Experts in U.S. Department of Transportation drug and alcohol testing regulations, we keep employers of Commercial Drivers License drivers compliant with federal rules and regulations. (DOT requires that workers in the transportation industry be drug tested. The largest segment of the transportation industry is employees who hold CDLs). With our focus on safety, InOut Labs is now working with employers providing on-site COVID-19 screening. We also provide direct-to-consumer lab testing, DNA testing and criminal background checks.
Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
A: We have contracted with a number of local and national health care staffing firms to provide on-site COVID-19 screening.
We are building a web-based client portal and are working with a developer to create a Software As A Service tool that motor carriers and other C/TPAs can use to manage their Driver Qualification Files. We are on the lookout for a strategic acquisition in the drug testing industry.
Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?
A: Managing growth. Our business is very scalable with the right processes in place. There are many opportunities in our industries, ones for which we are particularly suited. I am very process minded and making sure we can deliver on our promises, with nothing falling between the cracks, is a challenge that I relish.
Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?
A: There are a number of them. In the DOT-regulated drug testing industry, we are still educating our clients about the FMCSA Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse is a federal database for drug and alcohol testing violations. All employers of CDL drivers must register and must participate, or face fines up to $1,100 per day. Many employers are overwhelmed when they first see the requirements, so they tune it out. There is a lot to learn and absorb. We began by offering Clearinghouse support only for existing clients but learned there are many employers out there who do not want to change drug-testing providers, so we launched clearinghousesupport.com to serve them.
We are also going to be seeing more oral fluid drug testing and hair testing in the coming year. Oral fluid (saliva) drug testing has been available for years for non-regulated employers. This year, the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. DOT approved oral fluid testing for federal testing and we are waiting for it to become available.
There are also the issues with legal marijuana. Employers don't like it, and each state has its own rules about workplace testing. Federal (DOT) testing is unaffected, but non-DOT testing for multistate employers can be tricky.
Employment screening is more than drug testing. In addition to criminal background checks (we do that too), COVID testing is evolving as a need. Because a COVID test is a medical test, it requires not only HIPAA privacy rule compliance but also a physician's order. We are uniquely positioned to offer these tests locally and across the United States. I suspect that in the not-so-distant future, when a vaccine is available, that certain employment sectors will require immunity testing for COVID-19.
Q: If you had one tip to give to a rookie executive, what would it be?
A: My experience is primarily entrepreneurial, so my perspective may be different from others'. My one tip would be to design the business operations so you can eventually be replaced. That is, refine your business processes so that operations do not rely on your presence on a daily basis. If you don't, then you become a bottleneck and a prisoner.
Q: Do you have a business mantra?
A: Take care of the customer.
Q: From a business outlook, whom do you look up to?
A: I pay attention to a number of people and listen to a lot of podcasts and follow a few YouTubers as well. People I follow: Darren Hardy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tim Ferriss, Josh Braun (sales), Brian Alsruhe and Jeff Cavaliere (fitness), Peter Attia, Brian Tracy and a few others.
Q: What is one interesting fact about you or your company that most people may not know?
A: We look a lot bigger than we are. With a limited staff, we can process a very large number of tests efficiently and accurately.
Q: Was there a moment in your career that didn't go as you had planned? What lesson did you learn from it?
A: Many. One that stands out and had a significant impact on my life, was a business I purchased a number of years ago. The financials were misrepresented by the seller in such a way that neither I, nor any of my business advisers detected it. It was fraud. As someone who operates under a code of integrity and honesty, it never crossed my mind that someone would deliberately do something like that. I lost a lot of money and won my lawsuit. I learned that not everyone can be trusted. It is in my nature, however, to trust people, so I do get duped once in awhile. I like to see the positive in people.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: Not sure "free time" is in my vocabulary. I schedule most of my life, including nonwork activities. The gym is an important part of my life. I prefer explosive fitness activities and lifting really heavy things. I'm a big fan of Chicago sports teams and Duke basketball. I don't spend a lot of time in front of the TV, though. We are Bears season-ticket holders, so, in a normal year, I go to a few games. We just sold our house (downsizing) and will miss working in the yard. I like cooking, home improvement activities, close-up magic, evening meals with my wife and kids, if they are around.
Q: What book is on your nightstand?
A: I read (or listen to) primarily nonfiction and personal/professional development books. Currently I'm reading Walter Isaacson's, "The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution" on my Kindle.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: Not much. I love mornings and look forward to waking up for a new start. Is that weird?
Q: If you were not doing this job, what do you think you would be doing?
A: I'm not cut out for employment. I really feel like I'm doing what I'm meant to be doing right now.
Q: What was your first paying job?
A: I caddied for seven years at Sunset Ridge Country Club (Northfield). Many life lessons are learned in a job like that.
Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?
A: Is there a better venue on earth than Wrigley Field?
Q: Two people to follow on Twitter and why. (besides your company)
A: Oddly, I'm not a consumer of Twitter. I use it for business but prefer other socials.
Tim Thoelecke Jr.Tim Thoelecke Jr.
6449 Dempster St.,
Morton Grove, IL 60053
Industry: Healthcare, Employee
Number of employees: We
have an effective team of nine
employees and freelancers,
and thousands of contracted
specimen collectors nationwide.
Age: 56 (57 on Dec 10)
Family information: Married for nearly 27 years to Chris, a schoolteacher.
Three kids: Claire (24), a physical therapist in St. Louis; Will (23), a
transformation associate at Grant Thornton in Chicago, and Katie (20),
a junior majoring in marketing and communications at the University of