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Meet Andrea Owens

We were lucky to catch up with Andrea Owens recently and have shared our conversation below.

Andrea, appreciate you joining us today. If you could go back in time do you wish you had started your business sooner or later
In hindsight, I would have started my business sooner than I did. I started my business 10 years ago during a tumultuous time for me. I was in the midst of reluctantly leaving a job I had for 25 years, while starting a new career as an educator. I had mixed emotions and uncertainty about what was ahead of me. For years I knew that starting a business is what I wanted, but I let fear stop me and I kept working for others instead of working for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love being an educator, but part of my work within my business is to educate employers on regulations that help maintain compliance.

For me starting sooner than later would have allowed me to focus more on growing the business, gaining relationships and the ability to have strong partnerships with others in this profession.

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Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers.
I am a born and raised Grand Rapids native and come from a large family of seven. What started this journey, well…my mother endured a debilitating accident years ago at the hands of someone who was under the influence and that is what fueled my passion. That experience cultivated the thought process of creating a safer workplace, safer roadways, and safer communities—and not wanting people to ever have to be involved in something like that.

I started out my professional career as a medical assistant that evolved into managing drug and alcohol testing programs for employers. Thirty-five years of experience in the drug and alcohol testing industry has allowed me to train drug screen collectors, breath alcohol technicians and employers on policies, compliance and regulatory issues that affect productivity and job performance. I am grateful to work within an industry that promotes prevention and safety.

In my role as owner of HourGlass Testing Solutions, I provide drug testing resources to employers locally and nationally. Transportation, manufacturing, construction, court systems, etc., are employers we work with the most.

HourGlass Testing Solutions specializes in same-day, onsite collection and testing solutions. If someone calls at 10 am, we can go and be there—within the Greater Grand Rapids area—within a very small window of time. The collection and resulting process can be customized to fit the employer’s needs. This approach works well in a manufacturing setting, because in some cases after the collection, the employee can go right back to his/her work area. We also manage drug testing programs, offer education and training, and provide customized testing panels based on employer’s needs.

Employers can expect:

Secure, fast, and objective

Immediate processing

Quick turnaround time for result delivery

Streamlined process

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Can you open up about how you funded your business?
My business started in the den of my home. At that time, I was only going onsite to collect, and my operational costs were minimal. I wanted to start out by getting a loan, but as I looked into it, I felt that there were lots of roadblocks preventing me to proceed. This was a bit frustrating and off putting because what I heard about the process was different from what I experienced. At this point I had to ask myself, do I really want this? Could I handle paying it back? Instead, I started out by obtaining a credit card from my bank and borrowed cash from family members. That was all that I needed to get started however for others it will take quite a bit more to get started.

The use of a credit card came in handy for gaining computers, a printer and equipment, but it soon became difficult to navigate all the extra fees associated with the card. I picked the credit card in haste and did not look into all of the other obligations in having the card. It all worked out and I’m happy to say we are debt free.

I think it’s important to note that before you begin the journey of acquiring capital, stop and look at assets you already have, the family and friends to help support you.

Do you have any insights you can share related to maintaining high team morale?
Servant leadership works fine for me. Mutual respect for one another is key to the success we’ve shared. I always try to treat others with respect; never talking down or at someone, but really just taking the time to listen. No task is beneath me and because I work closely with my team, they truly appreciate that. We have a great time together as we serve individuals that walk through our doors.

Consistency, honesty, trust, and communication is a good recipe for maintaining high morale. My team knows that I am truly grateful for them.

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