CARO is 30 years old today! (Oh, to be 30 again …)
When any person hits that milestone, it‘s a big deal. For a company, it is arguably much more monumental as statistics show that over 95% of companies don’t last beyond their first 10 years without being merged, bought, name-changed, bankrupted, or closed. At CARO, we know how fortunate we are to be a part of such a legacy and we view it as a privilege and a responsibility to keep growing the company for the next 30 years and beyond.
It’s fun to look back on April 7, 1987 when we started out. The Billboard #1 song was “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship. Stephen King’s book “IT” was the best seller … and interestingly will be re-released this September as a movie adaptation. In the world of science, “Cold Fusion” was getting lots of attention (but eventually “cooled” off) and AIDS/HIV was a massive issue on many scientists’ minds. 1987 was also a big year geopolitically with Michael Gorbachev announcing USSR would end chemical weapons production, and the world population reaching 5 billion.
In the midst of this, CARO Analytical Services was founded in Kelowna, BC by Jock Hawkey to do drinking water testing. As a bit a trivia … the CARO name (which now supports the acronym “Caring About Results, Obviously”) was actually chosen based on the his Welsh mother’s name.
Since then, CARO now analyzes hundreds of thousands of samples per year for thousands of clients in Canada and beyond. We work for individuals concerned about lead in their drinking water to the Government of Canada helping to secure our food from significant levels of contaminants. Our capabilities have also grown beyond drinking water testing to include full scope environmental and food testing for projects. As well, our team has grown to over 90 employees at three Western Canadian locations. Two thirds of our employees are women scientists and we also have the industry’s largest team of recognized Professional Chemists. One constant throughout this? Mr. Cecil Chiu B. Sc, P.Chem, CARO’s Richmond Chemistry Coordinator (and overall science genius) is still with us today.
How we differentiate ourselves from the industry has been and will continue to be the key to our success. At CARO, we have a unique position as an employee owned Canadian lab in an industry that we feel is over-represented by large multi-nationals. This difference provides advantages in terms of delivering a fresher more connected product and attracting and developing the best people. Unlike the industry in general looking to mechanize and hire lower cost labour, we will continue to hire trained and accredited scientists and growing our already largest percentage of Professional Chemists of any medium to large lab in Canada. This will continue to instill the confidence that we don’t trade profits for quality, ever.
We’ll continue to learn from the world, but keep expertise, testing services and profits local. Canada’s 150th birthday is this year and we are happy to have been around for a fifth of that time. We are proud to be Canadian and we think the world needs more Canada; more Canadian leadership, more Canadian business knowledge and expertise and even more support of Canadian expertise by other Canadians. When Canada leads, the world benefits.
In the world we are living in these days, “fake news”, misinformation, hidden agendas, we are proud to be able to provide results and data in an unbiased manner to help people make great decisions for themselves. We are even hoping to be a part of making being accurate and correct cool again. Science, cool what? Maybe not, but we are okay with being lab geeks committed to trying to make the world a better place.
People often ask what the CARO name stands for? In an industry that promotes quality, service and price, we can do all of that … quite well in fact. But we can also do more of what the others can’t Caring About Results, Obviously.
Our 30-year milestone would not have been possible without the support of great clients, suppliers and employees. For them and those of you who have shared any part of this journey, THANK YOU!