TERRE HAUTE —
An up and coming Terre Haute business needs your vote.
Midwest Compliance Laboratories, which runs sophisticated tests for the pharmaceutical, dietary supplement and other industries, needs a few dozen more online votes to be eligible for a $250,000 small business grant.
Chase Bank offers 12 “Mission Main Street” grants totaling $3 million to help small businesses grow in their local communities, according to the Mission Main Street website.
The grant money “sure would help,” said Brent Schludecker, president and co-founder of the business, which is presently in small business incubator space in the basement of the John T. Myers Technology Building at Indiana State University. Since launching five years ago, Midwest Compliance Laboratories has reinvested basically all of its earnings back into the business and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, he said, adding the grant would help the company purchase new equipment.
Midwest Compliance “still has a ‘start up’ feel,” but is about to take a big step, Schludecker said. The company is planning to move to its own building soon, leaving its “incubator” facility behind.
“We’ve learned a lot over the last five years,” Schludecker said. “Now we’re looking for a permanent home.”
A site has been selected, but Midwest Compliance is not yet ready to reveal the location. An announcement is possible by the end of the year.
“I like that there are lots of different things I can get my hands into,” said Alicia Enriquez, a 2012 Rose-Hulman graduate from Portland, Ore., who served as a summer intern before being hired fulltime after graduation. Enriquez is a good example of the sort of skilled employee Midwest Compliance hires, often soon after graduation from college, Schludecker said.
The company, founded in 2008 by former Pfizer employees, currently employs 17 people, many of whom are recent ISU or Rose-Hulman graduates. About half the workers are former Pfizer scientists and about half of the company’s equipment was purchased from Pfizer after the drug maker folded its Exubera operations in Vigo County.
When Pfizer shuttered its Vigo plant five years ago, hundreds of people lost good-paying jobs. Schludecker and co-founders Beth Lutz and Brian Faulds wanted to restore some of that employment in the area by launching their own testing lab. They purchased equipment from the drug company, set up shop and nervously waited for their first client. “It was touch and go,” in those early days, Schludecker said.
As it turned out, Clabber Girl, the Terre Haute-based baking goods producer, became Client 0001 for Midwest Compliance. The company is now up to 102 clients and hopes its new facility will draw even more business. The company’s leaders are optimistic, expecting to hire 10 new positions in the next couple of years.
Most contract testing labs are on the East or West coasts, Schludecker said. Midwest Compliance has been well-received by companies in Indiana and the Midwest, he said.
The variety of tests keeps the work exciting and interesting at Midwest Compliance, said Susanna Curtis, a former chemist at the closed Newport Chemical Depot and the Terre Haute Wastewater Utility. Curtis has been with Midwest Compliance for more than a year.
“It’s awesome that we have so much to do here,” she said.
If you visit www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/search, you can type in “Terre Haute” or “Midwest Compliance” in the search field and you’ll be given a chance to cast a vote. As of Monday night, the company just needed a few dozen more votes to reach the 250 needed to be considered for a grant.
It is necessary to have a Facebook account to cast a vote.
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TERRE HAUTE —
An up and coming Terre Haute business needs your vote.
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