A second need was identified in that a competent lab manager was required for the expanding Charleston lab. Dick Kelly, who was performing that role at that time, wanted to emphasize his technical expertise and was spending less time in personnel and business management. A nationwide search was undertaken and Israel Broome was hired on September 2, 1976 from General Electric Company in Louisville, Kentucky. Israel was a mechanical engineer with considerable experience in quality control methods as well as the management of people. He had both a BS degree in mechanical engineering and a MBA from City College of New York. He also had worked with NASA at the Cape in Florida and then in Huntsville, Alabama on the Apollo Program. He also was with General Electric in Appliance Park (Louisville, Ky). Israel's impact on the company 's history was immediate. Israel remained the Charleston Lab Manager until he became Division Manager and successors were named for the Charleston Lab. He also later became a partner with Std Labs in a venture named "Precision Samples Inc." as described in the Appendix.
By the turn of the year in 1976 the management team of Gladys Berchtold, Troy Stallard, Delano Thomas, Israel Broome, Dick Kelly and Ron Koster was in place and they set the stage for a dramatic explosion of growth over the next twenty years. This team was augmented by the addition of paid consultants who basically acted as a de facto board of directors. First and probably most important was the banking relationship formed with One Valley Bank, later acquired by BB&T. Any substantial growth must be financed and to that point the company had been mostly a cash based business and now the need for a substantial line of credit was recognized. After talking with a number of local banks the company decided to use One Valley Bank because its credit manager, Ken Summers seemed to have the greatest faith in the company's expansion plans. One Valley became the main source of financing for several years.
Another key relationship was the association with Simpson & Osborne, a CPA firm, and especially with its leader, Robert (Bob) Simpson, who is still remains a most trusted advisor to this day. Ron Koster and Simpson & Osborne have essentially developed all the accounting procedures used by the parent company, its partnerships and its various forms of organization as used across the United States. They also provided oversight for all Std Labs tax issues and consulted on the company's acquisitions.
At this time the law firm of Jackson & Kelly was retained to handle the company's legal issues. The key lawyers making valuable contributions were Charles Gage, John Lukens and Louis Southworth. These men established Standard Laboratories as a "Sub-S" corporation and have been involved in almost all major legal matters surrounding the company.
A final key player in the evolution of the company was Commercial Insurance Company through the strong support of Frank Bear Ill. Commercial acted as the Sd Labs agent on most of our insurance dealings and safety issues throughout the next four decades.
With this competent team of managers and key advisors, Standard Labs was fully prepared to face the last quarter of the 20th Century.
While this team was being formed the company entered into its first joint venture. This was the formation of a cooperative marketing company, United Technical Services Laboratories, with Greg Gould, who was President of Fuel Engineering of New York. This alliance was based on the close friendship between Gladys and Greg and is described more fully in the partnership section of this history.
Also, in 1976, the company built a completely new lab at 3322 Pennsylvania Ave in Charleston. The general contractor was Paul Berchtold who had married Gladys in 1974. This was a large two story facility with a separate building tor coal preparation. The employee base had grown to perhaps 20 people in Charleston and 15 or so in Whitesburg by this time.
A branch laboratory was started in Buckhannon, West Virginia with Jo Ann Babbitt as its manager. Jo Ann had been a coal lab technician for many years with Commercial Testing and Engineering (CT&E) in Charleston. She was hired by Gladys in 1974 and was very proficient in the routine procedures involved in sampling and analysis. This lab grew under Jo Ann and then under Steve Riggs to about 8 employees and was active until it was merged into a later acquisition.
Janet Salyer, later became Janet DeMar, (See earlier comment about Jan training Delano Thomas) was named the manager of a new lab, also opened in 1976, which was located in London, Ky. Jan had been a coal lab technician in the Charleston lab since its inception.
The lab was located in an old restaurant which had greasy cooking hoods and crumbing walls requiring extensive work over a couple of months to rehabilitate it into a respectable lab facility.
This facility remained in place until 1979 when it was merged into a newer location in Corbin, Ky. Mike Hood became manager after Jan took the manager position in Henderson, Ky a few years later.
1976 also saw Std Labs' first attempt at horizontal diversification in establishing Standard Instrumentation, Inc. in its new building on Pennsylvania Ave. Allen White was hired to develop new electronic controls for coal testing equipment because the industry to that time had been using only outdated electrical/mechanical controls. The history with Standard Instrumentation can be more fully explored in the Diversification Section.