Indiana State University Newsroom



Indiana State grads help start, grow testing company

November 25, 2013

After five years of expansion, a company Indiana State University graduate Beth Lutz helped launch is about to outgrow its second location and move out of the campus facility where it has operated since 2008.

Lutz has seen Midwest Compliance Laboratories transform from a small operation to a sustainable business that counts seven Indiana State alumni among its 16 employees.

After graduating from Indiana State in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, Lutz worked at Terre Haute's Pfizer plant until it closed in 2007. She then brought her 27 years of experience to Midwest Labs and now serves as vice president of operations.

The business started in a small office in Terre Haute and is now in the basement of ISU's John T. Myers Technology Center.

"We are about to move to a larger location," Lutz said. "We are out of the incubator stage as a business, so we can expand."

Lutz said the university has played a major role in the company's success.

"The Business Engagement Center has given us some great advice," she said. "We are scientists, not business people. The professors have also been great in providing us with things we needed. It has been the perfect place to grow."

Jessica Starr, the center's interim director, said Midwest Labs has been a great partner.

"They have helped provide experiential learning opportunities for the campus community," she said. "It's great to see the business expand and to move to a larger location because that means economic growth. I know that they will continue to have success."

The company will begin moving equipment to a new location in Terre Haute in March.

"We knew we were going to have to move eventually," said Brent Schludecker, the company's president. "We have gotten to a point where we are a sustainable company."

Conducting pharmaceutical and food processing for companies around the nation, Midwest Compliance caters to such areas as Utah, California, Michigan and Florida. Lutz said many companies look to the East coast for processing, but she hopes to bring business to the Midwest.

Midwest Compliance offers undergraduates a chance to get hands-on experience in their lab. Ryan Galloway, a 2008 Indiana State graduate who majored in chemistry, said that taking advantage of the internship experience at Midwest Labs as an undergraduate is great experience.

"Interns will do mostly physical tests like finding melting points," he said. "It gives students a bird's-eye view of what it is like. Since we aren't a big lab, we aren't spoiled with technology, and I think that is good since we learn how to do the science part of our jobs.

Lutz also finds interning as an undergraduate as valuable experience to bring to the work-force after graduation.

"We give interns one or two tests to focus on, so they can get a grasp of what it is like to work in a real laboratory," Lutz said. "After completing a summer internship with us, we usually have them around part time - around eight hours a week - during the school semesters. The internship is a great resume builder for those who want to pursue a career here or move on to somewhere else."

In smaller labs like Midwest, employees do a broader array of tasks, giving students a chance to get experience in a wide range of testing.

Lutz added that Midwest Compliance is always looking for new recruits, especially since they have grown in employment nearly 400 percent since 2010.

"We are a growing company, so the employee numbers grow as the business rises," she said. "Entry-level people are welcome; we are more than happy to train them. There is no lack of things that need to be done."

Becoming an analytical chemist has been a good start for Galloway, and he feels his time at Indiana State helped him reach that point.

"ISU gave me a great education," he added. "The smaller class helped get more one-on-one time with professors. A lot of my skills in the lab came from my time at ISU. Pursuing an internship here will coordinate with lab work at ISU very well."

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/Media-Technology/Midwest-Labs/i-xXdcMjc/0/D/November%2018%2C%202013%20Midwest%20Labs%203461-D.jpg- Beth Lutz (right), an Indiana State University graduate who serves as vice president of operations for Midwest Compliance Labs, reviews paperwork with Midwest staff members and fellow Indiana State alumnae Beth Neely (left) and Susanna Curtis. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/Media-Technology/Midwest-Labs/i-ctfTdb9/0/D/November%2018%2C%202013%20Midwest%20Labs%203433-D.jpg - Ryan Galloway, a 2008 Indiana State University graduate, checks a chemical sample at Midwest Compliance Labs, a start-up company that is preparing to move out of its current home in Indiana State's John T. Myers Technology Center, where it has operated since 2008. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Contact: Jessica Starr, interim director, Business Engagement Center, Indiana State University, 812-237-2530 or jessica.starr@indstate.edu; Brent Schludecker, president, Midwest Compliance Laboratories, 812-237-4426 or schludecker@mclaboratories.com

Writer: Dustyn Fatheree, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or dfatheree@sycamores.indstate.edu 

Story Highlights

Launched in 2008, Midwest Compliance Labs has outgrown space in the Business Engagement Center at Indiana State University and will soon be moving to a new location. Nearly half of the company's employees are Indiana State alumni.

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