Tomo Drug Testing has had quite the year.
The Springfield-based drug and alcohol testing company has closed on two acquisitions and made a leadership change. Officials say they’re not stopping there.
Owner and CEO Mickey Moore says the company is looking at additional acquisitions – all part of the company’s strategic plan.
“Our leadership team determined we wanted to grow regionally, and eventually, have sights set on nationally,” Moore says. “Acquisitions just happened to be part of that evaluation and one avenue of how we could grow.”
The company closed July 22 on the purchase of Indiana-based Drug and Alcohol Testing LLC, followed by a second acquisition of Oklahoma-based Knox Laboratory in August.
Tomo Drug Testing now has 140 employees across 16 locations in Missouri, Oklahoma and Indiana. Officials did not disclose financial terms of the deals.
Also this summer, Angela Garrison, the company’s vice president of operations since 2017, was promoted to president in August. She says the company now is serving 3,500 active clients, including the city of Springfield and City Utilities, Meek’s Lumber Co. and MFA Inc.
Tomo primarily works in employee drug testing, Department of Transportation regulations, student prevention programs and testing for drug court, probation and parole matters.
Moore says the acquisitions strategically diversified the company’s services.
“It’s proven to be a viable way for us to grow,” he says. “There was such rapid growth in community and court-based testing, that we found that type of testing was starting to dominate all that we were doing.”
Now, the Springfield team is evaluating 10 services that were adopted through the sales. This includes DNA and paternity testing and services in the airport and oil and gas industries.
Declining to disclose current revenues, Moore says Tomo is performing 7,000-7,500 tests a week – about a 40% increase due to the acquisitions.
When Moore in 2007 became owner of Tomo Drug Testing – previously known as Employee Services of Missouri LLC – he says the company was conducting 60,000 tests a year. That’s an increase of at least sixfold in 12 years under his leadership.
Last year, Tomo made the annual fast-growth Inc. 5000 list, with 2017 revenue of $8.5 million representing a three-year increase of 238%.
Moore says the price per drug and alcohol test varies based on such factors as the number of testing panels, whether it’s conducted on-site or off-site, the specimen tested, if it’s an instant test or requires analyzation at a laboratory, and what program the test is under. The DOT tests can cost up to $65 apiece, and an instant analysis can cost $20 per test. Training programs and other educational services also are custom-priced, Garrison says. Moore’s goal is to produce 25,000 tests a week.
“It’s a daunting goal,” he says. “Vulnerably, we don’t have a clear path of how we’re going to get there, but it is a point in the future, and our whole team is focused on it.”
Moore says the team also has its sights set on a national operation. For now, the immediate goal is to be in four to six states.
According to the National Drug and Alcohol Screening Association, there are 10,000 drug testing facilities industrywide, mostly small business rather than franchises or large corporations.
Locally, other employee screening companies include Missouri Onsite Testing LLC and IPE Screening, though service offerings differ between them. Moore says he’s not too worried about competition.
“There is not much barrier of entry to get into drug testing, but there’s a barrier to stay,” he says. “There’s not a lot of revenue involved in each test, which means you’ve got to do a lot of it.”
Conversation on marijuana
Moore says Tomo’s compiled data lends to trends and additional information necessary for community conversation about drug use and abuse. Tomo officials have spoken up this year at community seminars and panels about drug abuse.
“That’s an interesting role that, 12 years ago, I wouldn’t have anticipated,” he says.
For example, test results this year show an increase in marijuana-positive rates and a decrease in opioid use, Moore says. The company’s data also show phencyclidine, aka PCP, is starting to make a comeback.
Missouri’s impending medical marijuana industry also is on Tomo’s radar. Medical marijuana became legal in Missouri by statewide vote in November 2018.
“It’s presented our clients with a lot of fear,” Garrison says. “You don’t have to stop all of your drug testing, but you do have to make some changes.
“Our hope is that we can educate our clients and other employers of what they should be doing now to be ready for when this happens.”
About 22.2 million people use marijuana every month, making it the most commonly used illegal drug in the country, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Garrison says now is the time for employers to determine their drug testing policies and update job descriptions for those in safety-sensitive roles, such as machine operators and construction workers. Employees who use medicinal marijuana will test positive for THC, and at that point, Garrison says it’s up to the employer to determine if the employee can still perform their job.
“That’s where it gets confusing,” she says. “Right now, there’s really no guidance from the law.”
Jo McGuire, executive director of the National Drug and Alcohol Screening Association, has spoken about marijuana and drug testing across the country since 2010. She says employers need to follow their company policies and focus on workplace safety.
“Don’t steer from your policy, because when you do, that’s when you have problems with employee discrimination,” she says. “A workplace policy should be: ‘How do we protect our employees and customers and the public, and keep safe spaces for everyone?’”
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