Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Lab Test
. . . .

Lab Test

Al Parker - July 27th, 2009
Lab Test
A Company that’s Proficient in Hard Times

By Al Parker 7/27/09

At a time when pink slips are almost as common as cherry trees across Northern Michigan, one Traverse City company has been adding workers.
“We’re adding tech people – that’s where our industry is headed,” explains Dan Edson, co-founder of American Proficiency Institute, created almost two decades ago to serve the laboratory industry.
API now serves more than 15,000 clients. It’s the second largest lab testing company in the world, according to Edson, who knows a little about pink slips.
He received one himself in 1990 when his employer, the CAP Computer Center, relocated to Illinois. Edson and co-worker Leith Butler didn’t see CAP’s move as a career setback, but instead saw an opportunity to create their own company.
“We love Northern Michigan and wanted to stay here, so we established our company to check the accuracy of laboratory tests at hospitals across the nation,” explains Edson, a medical technologist with a microbiology degree from Michigan State University. “We test the testers.”

Edson, whose graduate work involved developing the world’s first blood test for Legionnaire’s Disease, provided the firm’s scientific background, while Butler’s computer expertise helped transform API into an industry leader which now serves labs across the U.S. and in two dozen countries around the world.
Launched in 1991, API grew slowly with Edson and Butler as its only employees for about two years. Now the firm employs 32 workers and is the largest shipping customer in Northern Michigan. In the last year the company expanded its headquarters from 12,000 to 16,000 square feet.
The company’s big break came in 1994 when federal legislation required all physician offices and clinics to subscribe to a proficiency testing service. Until then, only hospital labs had been required to undergo the tests which confirm the accuracy of lab tests.
“Our client list grew from about 800 labs in 1993 to more than 5,000 in 1994 and our staff grew to 12 people,” recalls Edson.
At about the same time, API hit upon a novel way to explain their services to physicians.
“I was out for a morning bicycle ride with friends, including Drs. John Van Dalson and Bill Smith,” recalls Edson. “When I asked them how they decided what products to buy, they told me about their sales rep who had served them for 14 years. I met with their rep and he explained the role of a medical supply distributor to us.”

1,000 REPS
The result is that API now has more than 1,000 sales reps marketing their services to physicians across the country. “That really showed me the importance of relationships in business,” says Edson, who received MSU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004, the highest recognition given to the university’s grads.
Closer to home, Edson serves as board president of the Traverse Health Clinic, which provides free medical and dental care to the uninsured of the Grand Traverse region through collaborations with volunteer physicians, nurses, dentists and support staff.
Edson gives a lot of credit to the API staff for the company’s success.
“We pay our customer service staff more than others typically would, provide full benefits for their entire family, train them on our computer system, articulate the company vision, then allow them to grow to professional levels they might not have thought possible,” he explains.
The entire API staff, including tech support and the sales team, has great latitude in handling customers, but even then situations arise that require special handling.
“Three years ago one of our larger customers – a group of labs in Minneapolis – was dissatisfied with things that seemed minor to us, but, in fact, were very important to them,” recalls Edson. “I flew over and back in the same day to speak with their decision makers. After listening carefully for an hour, I told them how we would address each concern.
“But then I told them about an excerpt of a book, Built to Last, where the authors state ‘It’s not what you make, it’s what you stand for, and how API stood for a quality product at a fair price. That group renewed their orders the next week and now are one of our staunchest supporters.”

API provides lab testing services to about 2,000 hospitals across the country. Recently the firm sealed a deal with Hospital Corporation of America, the nation’s largest hospital chain, which operates 163 hospitals and 113 outpatient centers across the country. Other well-known clients include the Scripps Clinic, University of Michigan and University of Nebraska.
“The (hospital) systems have been a big part of our recent growth,” says Edson. “We listened to their needs and developed special computer software that saves them time in overseeing multiple labs. Our newest feature allows laboratories not only to enter results over the Internet, but also review performance reports, statistical data and get free continuing education credits. Once again, we’re the first company in our industry to offer this level of service.”
In the wake of incidents involving tainted food products, API has expanded its expertise to include foodstuffs. “Food companies have their own labs to make sure that no dangerous pathogens get into their products,” explains Edson. “We test their labs to ensure accuracy in their testing. We just signed a deal with a company to promote our food testing program in 100 countries.”
While some companies in the food industry have done in-house testing, API was the first independent firm to provide proficiency testing for the industry. The company now has some 500 labs enrolled in its food program.
The Traverse City firm’s food microbiology proficiency testing program is the largest program of its kind available in the U.S. with more than 400 labs participating, including companies such as Hershey’s, Tyson Foods, Gold Kist, and General Mills.

Located at 1159 Business Park Drive in Traverse City, American Proficiency Institute is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call (231) 941-5887 or go to www.api-pt.com.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5