D_Curran.jpg (8435 bytes)As we get ready to say good-bye to the year 2001, two words come to mind— good riddance! And I don’t think I’m alone.

Recently, there have been far too many downbeat news events. September 11th and subsequent events have changed us. Airlines are threatening bankruptcy, the United States has invaded Afghanistan and Americans have stopped spending money on everything except real estate and cars.

How are these changes affecting the clinical laboratory? Three of the news stories in this issue address the recent bioterrorism/anthrax threats. Even the venerable Red Cross recently has come under fire for its blood collection and financial aid distribution practices. (The organization dismisses the accusations, pointed out in a November 11th Washington Post story, on its Web site (www.redcross.org).

I’ve been looking for some good news, and I’m happy to report that I found some.

MarketLab, a business-to-business direct mail catalog company, whose clever and useful laboratory products are often found in the pages of CLP, was named to the Inc 500 list of the fastest growing private companies in the United States in November. Sales growth of 1,078 percent — from $300,000 to $3,300,000 — over the past five years earned it a ranking of No. 276 on the prestigious list. The Inc 500 list, which is published annually by Inc magazine, is to small, private businesses what the Fortune 500 is to large, public companies.

Founded by Michael Bieker in 1994 as Phlebotic Inc., the Kentwood, Mich.-based company, renamed MarketLab in 1996, is always a mandatory stop on the convention floor at the annual CLMA and AACC meetings. With his booth staff sporting bright yellow shirts and propeller beanies and his shelves stocked with multicolor lab tchotchkes, Bieker’s booth provides an oasis of color and fun in a room full of gray suits and serious business.

Here’s hoping we all manage to combine success with fun in the new year.

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Coleen Curran