Glenview entrepreneur finds new ways to take care of customers
It's what entrepreneurs do. They think about ways to provide services and products to people.
Glenview's Tim Thoelecke runs InOut Labs in Morton Grove, whose core business is conducting employee drug testing to employers nationwide.
Founded in 2012, InOut Labs also will work directly with consumers to test for other things such as DNA, food allergies, cholesterol levels, "anything that they might get from a doctor," Thoelecke said.
After the coronavirus hit, Thoelecke pivoted to offer testing for that, too.
"At first I had no interest in testing for COVID. People kept asking, though. At some point it kind of occurred to me it's kind of my responsibility to make it available. We're uniquely positioned to be able to do it," said Thoelecke, pronounced "tele-key."
He has this business, but he also has a conscience.
"I struggled with the idea of appearing opportunistic," said Thoelecke, a 1982 Glenbrook South graduate whose three children also were Titans.
"Even though it's an opportunity, I didn't want to feel opportunistic. I really feel it's filling a need to test asymptomatic people," he said.
Those people may be happy InOut Labs entered the field.
The company, at 6449 Dempster St., offers a molecular test for COVID-19 using a less-invasive nasal swab that goes only about in inch into the nose. InOut Labs also can provide rapid antigen testing, an effective tool to detect early infection with results available in 15 minutes, and offers a self-collected saliva test, primarily to employers.
"This is not the brain-stabbing, vomit-inducing, swab that you see at the drive-through center," Thoelecke said of the molecular swab test.
The specimens must be collected under medical supervision, but asymptomatic individuals can come into InOut Labs for the test, or the company can send specimen collectors to businesses.
Those being tested are the only people who touch the swabs, and results can be returned in 48 to 72 hours.
InOut Labs also offers a self-collected saliva test that can get results 24 to 48 hours after a reference lab receives the "spit tube."
"It's really an easy way to deploy testing in the workforce very quickly," Thoelecke said of the saliva test.
He started this testing service in the summer when students got ready to return to college. People also got tested in order to travel by plane, and now Thoelecke is seeing employers looking to make employees feel safe coming to work.
InOut Labs' clients come from a variety of industries -- engineering, trucking, pharmaceutical, custom clothing, printing, home health and more.
One client is a video production company. When working on site, that company must ensure its employees have a recent negative COVID test result. Armed with InOut Labs' saliva test kits, each with prepaid overnight shipping back to the lab, the company can easily use them when needed.
Before starting InOut Labs, Thoelecke had a variety of careers. He was a landscape architect for 18 years. He had an automobile detailing business. He was a freelance writer and a public speaker.
All these enterprises, including InOut Labs, have a common denominator. "To me it's all business and people," Thoelecke said. "So, it's take care of the customer."
• For more information, visit inoutlabs.com or call (847) 657-7900.