This year’s Lab Innovator of the Year has led us to reminisce about the many Lab Innovators we’ve honored over the years and the fact that they all share some basic characteristics.

For one, they are frequently staunchly independent, multigenerational family-owned companies. Hard workers, for sure, in the office before the staff, staying after hours and working weekends more often than not.

They take risks, investing in new and advanced technologies long before anyone else, sometimes reaping the rewards by blazing trails and profiting from being the first to offer a revolutionary product but at other times being the guinea pig for new technologies that don’t deliver as promised.

They treat their staff and customers like family, providing the former with advice and assistance to address professional as well as personal issues and socializing with both as long-lasting friends. Their finances they know are the fuel that powers their labs, pouring profits back into the business to ensure its success, sometimes to the detriment of their own economic well being. But doing so, they ultimately benefit, realizing the results of their efforts and succeeding when times are good.

These members of the greater lab community, present and past Lab Innovators and those yet to be named, emulate not only the foundational tenets of good business but also the inherent traits of simply being humane.

While we honor Plastic Plus in the next issue of Optical Lab Products (OLP) as this year’s Lab Innovator of the Year, in this issue on this page we share our respect for the entire independent lab community, maintaining their success against challenging competitive obstacles while staying human in the face of the day-to-day challenges everyone encounters.

John Sailer is VP, editorial of First Vision Media Group.


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