One TREK mind

Michael Burke has created only the fourth automated microbiology company in the nation. And despite being only a fraction of the size of its next biggest competitor, TREK Diagnostic Systems has shown business growth of 19.6 percent since its inception in 1999.

Burke, the company’s president and CEO, says the company will be turning its efforts toward marketing its products to larger accounts around the globe.

“We have moved to more of an external focus,” says Burke. “Our challenges are nurturing the growth of our sales organization, and — in an industry dominated by national accounts — entering into those accounts and being successful.”

Maintaining capital for instrument placement is another important aspect of the business. In laboratories, it’s common for instruments to be placed free of charge by the manufacturer, which makes its money by the consumables used during the five-year life of the product.

“We either need to find ways of funding those placements, convince them to pay for the equipment or put together leasing programs — which we have effectively done,” says Burke.

There is a large backlog for the next generation of products, which are being installed through August 2004. In the United States, Burke plans to continue selling directly while using distribution for international markets. Growth rates are expected to exceed 10 percent to 15 percent during the next five years.

Keeping customers at the forefront of technology has been a major part of the company’s success. TREK research and development spending represents 14 percent of revenue. Its products for the clinical, pharmaceutical and veterinary markets form the core of a dedicated microbiology company focused on meeting the demand for intelligent, cost-effective laboratory systems that provide workplace efficiencies, ergonomics and test result performance. How to reach: TREK (800) 871-8909 or