Giles Malone of Space Coast Daily interviews Tom Fulmer, Vice President of Business Development at National Drug Screening, Inc.
In this video of the NDS Video Blog series, Tom Fulmer, our VP of Business Development, sits down for a chat with Giles Malone of Space Coast Daily TV.
Does having a drug free workplace program save money?
What’s in store for the drug testing industry in 2022 and beyond?
Tom and Giles discuss these and many more questions in today’s video.
A BIG THANKS to Giles and the Space Coast Daily TV team for coming out to NDS headquarters and spending time with us and allowing us to feature their video interview with Tom on our NDS YouTube Channel.
About Tom Fulmer and National Drug Screening, Inc.
Giles Malone: This is Tom Fulmer, one of the leaders here at National Drug Screening, and we were reviewing their incredible growth in 2021, over 26%, I guess, gross increase here at this company. Where do you see this industry going long term? What are some of the changes coming down the pike that you are getting ready for?
Welcome back to Space Coast Daily TV on location here at National Drug Screening, a Space Coast company really recognized around the country as a leader in its field. And we’re here today with Tom Fulmer, Vice President of Business Development for National Drug Screening, who’s going to really review the year of 2021 as it was a banner year for National Drug Screening, as they expand now with more employees and serving people and businesses all across this country. Tom Fulmer, welcome back to the Space Coast daily.
Tom Fulmer: Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be here. Appreciate you being out.
National Drug Screening has a Banner Year in 2021
Giles Malone: Well, listen, congratulations on a big year.
Tom Fulmer: Yes, it was actually amazing. We were really shocked at how we turned out the year. I mean, we started off pretty good and, you know, with all the things going on, around the country. We had big goals, big plans, and our team just came together to make some amazing things happen. And as we wrapped up December, it was just, it was, it was awesome.
Giles Malone: Yeah, the Space Coast does it again. Another local firm that’s really doing incredible work for folks all across the USA for individuals needing drug tests, for this and that, for jobs and so on, and also if a companies, allowing them to make sure their employees are properly screened. Before I get into all that though, if you don’t mind, Tom, tell us a little bit about yourself, and sort of what turns you on for your job?
Tom Fulmer: Yes, so, I, I have a history varied. I’ve built several companies before I met, Joe Reilly, several years ago who owns National Drug Screening and founded that. And, I have a degree in accounting, so I actually did the next best thing after I graduated from college, I went and became a tennis pro. So, I played tennis for about 10 years, cause that’s much more exciting than accounting. During that time, I got into sales, started founding my first company a year after I graduated, which was a tennis facility. Built a few companies between then and now. Sales just energized me, business development, customer service, I found that that was a passion of mine. And, that kind of led me too here. My venture before I got into business with Joe here, was a training and development company. So, I did that all over the US with large corporations and some small companies too.
And then, working with Joe just was kind of that perfect fit where I came in, was able to work with a team and take it literally from three or four people, up to over 20 people. And from half a million in revenue to what we hit this past year, which is seven and a quarter million in revenue, just in, you know, seven years.
And that’s really what’s energizing that I love to do is help the teams accelerate and help customers along the way too.
Giles Malone: Yes, so you’ve been serving up some good business development here, right? He’s tennis pro too. Amazing!
Joe Reilly, he’s a fascinating guy. Started this company many moons ago, and now it’s really a leader, isn’t it? Across the country.
Giles Malone: Talk about your customers, who you serve, and how you serve them.
Tom Fulmer: Yes. So, we work with employers as well as individuals. So, whether it’s large companies, as large as state-sized companies or organizations, all the way down to small companies, whether they’re regulated by the Department Of Transportation or just companies that do testing.
Giles Malone: While we also do testing for individuals; court, probation, families, any number of things along those lines. So, we work with a variety of different types of businesses. And we actually work with other drug testing providers. They’re actually clients of ours, too. We provide backend services to them and, we help them become efficient in their markets, help them become known in their markets by providing software, Medical Review Officer services, drug testing accounts, and administrative support to them, on the back end. What message do you have for companies out there, business owners, HR personnel, who, they’re not fully understanding and convinced at how much money can actually save them to set up a drug-free workplace for them. I mean, there are still people out there who might not see the forest for the trees. Tell us about that.
Tom Fulmer: Yes. So, I think that’s been the case for, for a number of years. They didn’t see the value in that. I think that’s actually changed in the last few years because, all of our growth has come from inbound calls. You know, we don’t do anything outbound. And the reason that we’ve had such success with employers is because with all the news. All the soundbites in the media. All the overdose deaths, all the opioid epidemic, legalization of marijuana. Even though we know it’s an impairing effect substance. Employee protections, and workplace laws that are changing. Employers are scared. They’re concerned. And workplace safety is a very important thing.
Finding somebody who’s going to fit with your, with your culture in there. And there’s also a good return on investment for that, because if you can reduce turnover these days, that is huge. The amount of investment it takes, and I can tell you firsthand from the hiring that we’ve done over the past a year, and even into 2022, we actually have three new people starting today, the cost of implementing new employees and bringing them on board is, is tremendous. And you want to do everything you can to minimize that cost, and, and have the right employees that are going to be long-term fits. And drug testing’s an important part of that.
Drug Testing with National Drug Screening
Giles Malone: Let’s talk about same day drug testing. I see that online, you can order a test online.
If someone has a, you know, a legal issue, they want to get something approved for a new employer, how do they go ahead and, and do that online now? And how quickly? And that’s something that a lot of people didn’t realize, and that’s why we’ve put it out there a good bit, because you can’t just walk in and get a drug test done.
Tom Fulmer: You know, you need some kind of doctor’s order or what’s called a chain of custody form, something like that. So, we set up a program where people can just call in and pay with a credit card and instantly get the test within five minutes, or the pass within five minutes, walk in and get a lab based, or even an instant drug test with a same day result, you know, just a few minutes later.
And that has really been something that’s helped a lot of employers. Because right now, finding people’s difficult. And you know, they need that quick turnaround time. And they need to be able to schedule something, they don’t have time to wait for an account to get set up, you know, which might take four or five days.
You know, they want something now; let’s get moving on and continue to go.
Giles Malone: Yes, let’s talk about this year, this banner year you’ve had, and some of the accomplishments that you’ve been able to generate here at National Drug Screening. A local firm here on the Space Coast. A leader in the industry of drug testing all across the USA.
Let’s talk about some of those things that you can really look back on with pride.
Tom Fulmer: Yes. So, you know, obviously our team growing that was a, that was huge. That really helped us to get where we were through the year. We increased our staffing by 24%, in a year where so many companies were just struggling to even compete. We actually shifted, which we were already prepared to do, we just made the transition to a remote workforce in several of our positions that made sense. So, we have both people in the office and remotely, working now. And we were fortunately positioned to make that successful. The big thing was our numbers. We had the best year we’ve ever had. We had a very lofty goal, for our whole team to meet, which was 7 million in revenue. Beat that by a quarter of a million dollars by the year end, which was 24%, revenue growth. Which is, you know, it was just absolutely amazing. Our December was the best month we’ve ever had.
And we feel very blessed with that because there’s so many companies that are struggling, that are having challenges and issues out there. So those were a few things, but we also did a lot of things that helped, like we, implemented a staff knowledge base. We built a whole online system for frequently asked questions, procedures, how to, training videos for better onboarding, because we believe that knowledge is power, and knowledge shared is powerful. And the better our team knows the industry, knows what’s going on, the better they can serve their clients. And that’s really what we’re known for out there. You know, having that level of expertise. You know, six months here with us, you’re going to have more knowledge than much of the industry out there does currently. And we’re, we’re very, very excited about being able to continue to grow that this year.
Giles Malone: This is Tom Fulmer, Vice President of Business Development for National Drug Screening. A firm down here on, just off of Hibiscus in the beautiful Melbourne, Florida; Florida space coast. As you can see, NDS here is a leader, really across the country now, in drug screening.
Drug Test Panels
Let’s talk about the different types of panel drug tests that you offer.
Tom Fulmer: Sure. So, people don’t really realize, you know, how that works. So, there are hundreds and hundreds of different panels available. You can test for almost anything.
Giles Malone: Why do they call it a ‘panel’? Do you have any idea?
Tom Fulmer: Yes. So, so the drug test panels are, think about it as category. So, the panel is like certain categories of drugs. Some, one panel might be one drug. Another panel might be multiple drugs that are of a specific category that they can do testing for. But there’s only five or six most common panels. I mean, 80% of the testing has maybe six or seven drug test panels. And then you have all of these other things that may come into play, they’re specialty things like substance abuse issues, or you have some crazy stuff, like some of the major companies like Exxon, where they do this expanded panel that has synthetic cannabinoids, like 14 different varieties and metabolites, and, you know, they test for a lot of different things because of what they’re dealing with. You have those specialty, things like that, but most people, it’s just a basic list of drugs. Typically, your illegal drugs and your most commonly abused prescription drugs is what most people use.
Giles Malone: And that is through blood or urine, or how is it normally done?
Tom Fulmer: So, most testing is done through urine. That’s been the gold standard for a long time. Blood is, blood can be done in certain circumstances, and it actually may be required in some, but it’s not typically done for employment testing or individual testing, for the most part.
Urine is the most common. We see a lot of hair drug testing. Hair testing is more of a lifestyle test. It can’t be cheated. It’s going to tell you what’s been going on for the last three months to six months. So, you get a really solid lookback time. That’s used for substance abuse, sometimes for employment testing.
A lot of trucking companies have implemented hair testing in conjunction with the urine testing that’s required by the Federal government, because they can do the required test, but they can also do a lifestyle test to know if they’re going to have a longer-term employee who’s not abusing drugs. And their positivity rates plummeted when they started doing hair testing in conjunction because drug abusers wouldn’t, wouldn’t apply.
Giles Malone: And in the movies, you see these people who are going to go take a drug test, you know, they get urine from one of their friends, or blood. How do you prevent that from happening nowadays?
Tom Fulmer: Yes, so, so that’s always a challenge. You know, urine is susceptible to people, you know, preparing for the test, you know. So well-trained collectors, who we do collector training for, for companies all over the country, so there are certain things that collectors can do, if they’re trained properly, to minimize the chance of that. But there’s still a possibility. And that’s why you see a shift from urine drug testing to oral fluid drug testing, to hair drug testing, or a combination of those things. Oral fluid testing and hair testing can’t be cheated really. You know, whereas urine testing could potentially do that. Urine testing’s going to be less expensive, it’s been around longer, it’s been upheld in the courts, and you can test for a larger number of substance. But now the other types and methods are coming along and we’re seeing a lot more of those.
Marijuana Testing in the Workplace
Giles Malone: With the proliferation of, of marijuana across the country, are employers still testing for marijuana on a regular basis?
Tom Fulmer: Yes, they are. There are some employers that are dropping it from the panel. There are some employers that are still testing for it. But the situation really arises because you have so many conflicting state laws and you actually have, in certain states, employee protections. Meaning even if somebody tests positive for marijuana, a positive test doesn’t mean anything due to the state law. The state law says, unless you can prove they’re impaired at work, you can’t take any action. And unfortunately, for drug testing, you can’t tell impairment from testing for drugs, the capabilities just aren’t there yet. So that’s something the industry is working towards. Employers can access a great section on our website called Marijuana in the Workplace.
Giles Malone: Okay. What would you say are your relative strengths here at National Drug Screening? You know, a competitor maybe, some competition that you might have around the country, what really sets NDS apart?
Tom Fulmer: I think a lot of that is our knowledge and our expertise and our ability to solve problems. And that comes from having the right team, but also providing the right level of training.
You know, there’s a big difference between when you call us, and you call someone else. And that’s just really easy. I can say whatever I want. All you have to do is make a few phone calls and you’ll see the difference immediately. Most people, when they have people answering the phone, don’t know how to answer the questions. They don’t know how to get a test done. They don’t know how to direct you to the right resources. We’ve put a lot of time and effort so the person that’s answering the phone here can do anything that you need and knows exactly where the resources are, if they don’t have a solution themselves, they know how to get that answer.
And that’s the focus they have. I mean, we, we review our calls. We do extensive training with our sales team. And that’s really what sets us apart. You know, the, the same day drug testing, you mentioned, you’d be amazed at the number of people you call and say, ‘Hey, I’m an employer. I need to get somebody tested’ and they go, ‘Oh, great we can do that. We just need to set up an account. We’ll fax you a form. You need to print it off, sign it and send it back to us’. By the time they finish the conversation, we can actually have the test set up, emailed to the person; their person’s on the way to get the test. And that’s one of the things I think that really sets us apart, is we’re here to provide the solution they’re looking for, not to follow a process that everybody just follows. You know, we’re very innovative in what we do, trying to improve that customer experience.
Giles Malone: Right, right. Most people might set up roadblocks as to why you can’t do something in this business, but you swept those away, figuring out a way to do customer service. Let’s take an example, I used to work in a, in a business where we had 200 employees and, when we were first setting up our drug-free workplace, there was some doubters, you know, in the company that, ‘oh gosh, we’re going to spend all this money on drug testing and we’re going to lose half our workforce because they all smoked marijuana’, you know? But what do you say to that employer versus short-term cost savings versus long-term cost savings, by having a drug-free workplace? Kind of work through the numbers a little bit and give me an idea on what the actual savings are.
Tom Fulmer: Yes. The savings can be dramatic depending on your workforce. If you just figure out what it costs, just to get applicants to come in and the time that you spend interviewing them. You know, why would you want to interview somebody and, and spend all that time and effort when an employment drug test is somewhere between, you know, $45-50 and say $75 for the most part, you know, why would you not invest that to have that one more level of security? Because if you bring somebody in just to set up a new person, you’ve got desk, phone, training, onboarding, placements fee, you know, all of these different things, background checks, depending on what things are going on. You know, it really doesn’t make sense not to invest that little bit, to get that long return for having the right employee in place.
Giles Malone: Yes. What do you say though, to the manager who said, ‘oh geez, we, we set this up, we’re going to lose half our chefs in the kitchen’. You know, that’s a short-term way of looking at things.
Tom Fulmer: Yes, it is. And so that’s when you have to ask a series of questions. And that’s what we train our team to do, and we just do this with employers. And you know, of course we respect anybody’s decision on that, but if we ask the questions, if you’re concerned about them doing drugs, what’s the downside? If they’re in there doing drugs and you know they’re doing drugs, that’s a known hazard. That’s, that’s a problem. That’s an OSHA violation. It’s just a problem waiting to happen. What’s the downside of maybe getting rid of the people who are abusing drugs versus maybe having a little bit shorter staff right now, or finding people who aren’t abusing drugs coming in? You know, what’s the possibility of things that can go wrong? What’s the consequence of that? One lawsuit, because something goes wrong, that can put you out of business, is that worth it? And they have to make that determination. And we hear that from different industries. You know, you see, in retail trade right now, in the retail, you know, you see the largest increase in the use of meth, of, of any out there.
Retail is really, really bad; marijuana, meth, and a couple of other things. We’re seeing those trends going up. That’s some significant consequences. You know, you’ve got people that have access to your customers, access to your trade secrets, access to your cash accounts. You know, access to doing something stupid that might affect customers. There’s some serious liability associated with that. And that’s when they have to look at that risk versus reward.
Saving Money with Drug Testing
Saving Money with Drug Testing
Giles Malone: Yep. So, the actual long-term view is going to save you money, save the company, make it a safer workplace. Workman’s compensation, right? I mean, we used to have a company called FCCI, who was one of our workman’s comp carrier. And drug free workplace and maintaining those standards was essential to maintaining your workman’s comp. I mean, obviously one accident, like you mentioned can be very, very costly.
Tom Fulmer: Yes. And it’s actually interesting because you have seven or eight states that actually have drug-free workplace programs that are state voluntary programs. And so, they give you a discount on your workers’ comp insurance. So, if you’ve got quite a few employees, like for instance, the state of Florida, you get a 5% workers’ comp discount if you’re doing and following those guidelines for the Florida drug free workplace. And drug testing can be a part of that, or has to be a part of that, but there’s some other components you have to have as well.
So, you can be saving money literally right off the bat and covering your costs just in the savings. And with the way workers’ comp is you might, you might actually be coming out ahead with what you’re saving on that, as opposed to it otherwise.
Giles Malone: This is Tom Fulmer, one of the leaders here at National Drug Screening and we’re reviewing their incredible growth in 2021, over 26%, I guess, gross increase here at this company. Where do you see this industry going long-term? What are some of the changes coming down the pike that you are getting ready for?
Well, we see that the drug testing is going to continue to expand. The more companies, I’m sorry, the more states that move to legalize drugs, the more concern you’re going to see out there.
Tom Fulmer: And you actually have now, where, you know, everybody talks about marijuana, but you have certain cities that have actually decriminalized hard drugs. I mean, heroin, meth, cocaine, PCP, they decriminalized these things. So, the more you start seeing this type of trend, the more concerned people are going to be because, obviously if you make it easier and easier for people to do drugs, you’re going to have more and more people doing drugs.
So, I think there’s a growing opportunity within this industry, not only because of some bad things that are happening out there we can help to maybe correct, but also, I think there’s more differentiation in the industry. You see more companies who are doing well, buying out some of the smaller companies.
You do see a lot of smaller companies coming on board and starting out their own businesses. Which actually is somebody we work with. We do a lot of training, consulting, and have as clients, a lot of these small drug testing providers. So, the more providers that come on board, that’s an opportunity for us to help them.
You know, we’re able to provide kind of the backend solution for them. So that’s just, more opportunities. We see it in every different variety of there. Our services include a comprehensive Reseller Program for many other companies selling drug testing.
Giles Malone: Sure. Tom Fulmer National Drug Screening, a company here in Melbourne, Florida is more than willing to chat with you, you’re a business owner, about drug screening at your company and how it can save you time and money.
As we close, Tom, what message do you have for folks out there who’re maybe not sure about this for their company, and what advice do you have for them?
Tom Fulmer: Well, the big thing is, is make informed decisions, you know. People make decisions based on outdated data, stuff that you find online, because we know Google is accurate about everything. It’s a hundred percent, a hundred percent true. So, I’ll tell you if you’re an employer especially, and you’re looking to decide whether you’re interested in providing drug testing or you think it’s a good idea or not, simply go to some of the social platforms like Quora and some of these other ones, and just type in ‘how to cheat a drug test’, go to YouTube and type that in there. And you’ll see what people are doing. It’s absolutely amazing out there. And if you’re considering adding this and how it might help you, just simply ask. Have a conversation about it and then make an informed decision.
That’s one thing that we take very seriously, is we want to provide information, resources, and recommendations. We’re not trying to force anybody to do anything, but we’ll provide you the information to make the informed decision. Do you want to do drug testing, do you not? Do you want to remove marijuana from your testing, or do you want to keep it. Do you want to expand your testing panel or not? You know, do you want to provide employee education training and those kinds of things?
So really, just be informed, make an informed decision because then at least you’ve considered it and you’re moving forward knowing what the consequences are.
Giles Malone: There it is folks. That’s Tom Fulmer, an expert, along with Joe Reilly here and the team, at National Drug Screening. You can reach out to them at any time, and they’d be happy to have a chat with you. And of course, go to their website, which we’ll have on this post right below this video.
Tom, thank you very much indeed, for spending some time with us. We’re excited for your growth. And more jobs are coming online, right? Right.
Tom Fulmer: Absolutely are. And we, one thing I didn’t mention is we actually won ‘one of the best places to work’ award ,from Florida Trend Magazine for ‘best companies’ last year in August. So, we got that, and we’re very excited about that and look forward to continuing and growing, in 2022.
Giles Malone: Yep. Another success story of those entrepreneurs here on Florida’s Space Coast. For Tom Fulmer, I’m Giles Malone for Space Coast Daily TV.
Learn more about National Drug Screening – view our Corporate Culture Video