Bridget Lorenz Lemberg, lab director and toxicologist at Forensic Fluids Laboratories in Kalamazoo, has been named the Grant Thornton Leader & Innovator of the Year. The award was announced at an April 25 reception at Lawrence Technological University, which co-sponsors the annual award along with Grant Thornton LLP and WWJ NewsRadio 950.
Lemberg was chosen from nearly 50 nominees profiled during the past 12 months on Tuesdays in the WWJ NewsRadio 950 Technology Report. The profiles are edited by WWJ NewsRadio 950’s Matt Roush, who served as master of ceremonies at the reception.
The Leaders & Innovators program was developed in 2005 by Lawrence Tech to recognize Michigan business executives who are engaged in cutting-edge professions and industries expected to be key to Michigan’s economic future.
Lemberg has perfected a reliable method of conducting drug tests using saliva, not urine, and her company has evolved into a national leader in the field. Forensic Fluids now has 46 employees, and its revenue is projected to grow from around $10.6 million in 2012 to $17 million this year.
In the test developed by Lemberg, a subject wets a pad with his or her saliva. The pad is placed in a sealed tube and bar-coded by the subject, and then sent in a tamper-resistant envelope to Forensic Fluids, where it’s logged and analyzed with sophisticated equipment called mass spectrometers. One standard scan is for 10 commonly abused drugs, but the company can test for literally hundreds of drugs, from synthetic marijuana to prescription drugs.
The company carefully tracks every sample with barcoding, closely enough that its “chain of custody” of samples stand up in court. The courts are Forensic Fluids’ biggest customers, testing people who have been ordered to stay clean of drugs. In addition to working with the courts, Forensic Fluids also does therapeutic drug monitoring and workplace drug testing.
Testing for drugs and other chemicals with oral fluids is quick, easy, simple, and dignified. No special facilities are needed, and “it’s the most accurate drug testing you can get … you can’t cheat on it,” Lemberg points out.
“Bridget is a true pioneer in a pioneering field,” said Jim Trouba, audit partner, Grant Thornton LLP, who introduced Lemberg at the awards ceremony.
The offices of Forensic Fluids are in the former headquarters of the Gibson guitar company on Kalamazoo’s north side, including a room paneled in every kind of wood Gibson ever used to make guitars. Privately owned, Forensic Fluids placed made the 2011 Inc. Magazine 5000 list and was among the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch.
Lemberg received her bachelor’s degree in agriculture and her master’s degree in toxicology/pharmacology from the University of Kentucky.