Fueled by her passion for safer workplaces, roadways and communities, Andrea Owens created HourGlass Testing Solutions—a business offering same-day, onsite-collection, and management of workplace drug and alcohol testing programs.
West Michigan Woman sat down with Andrea to learn more about her vibrant spark for life and the work HourGlass Testing Solutions does in the community.
With the goal of building lasting relationships and helping employers maintain a drug-free workplace, Andrea Owens works with the notion that there is not a single approach to the field of drug and alcohol testing. She hones in on the needs of each employer through careful listening and responds to their needs.
And always with a smile.
"You think you're going one way ... And life changes, your course changes. It's been amazing."
WMW: Tell me about yourself!
AO: I'm a born and raised Grand Rapids native and come from a large family of seven. I started out my professional career as a medical assistant—many moons ago—and from there went back to school to get my bachelor's and master's degrees in Management and Leadership from Cornerstone University.
Currently, I wear a lot of hats: I'm an educator at WMCAT, where I teach the medical billing program—which I love. I'm also a Success Navigator, which basically translates into me helping our students get into the program, walk them through their externship opportunities and transition into their careers. Additionally, I'm an adjunct professor at Cornerstone. I'm blessed to be able to go back to where it all began! It's been awesome. I also own and run my own business, HourGlass Testing Solutions.
WMW: What is HourGlass Testing Solutions all about and what inspired you to create it?
AO: HourGlass Testing Solutions specializes in onsite drug and alcohol testing for HR, logistics and safety managers in the manufacturing and transportation industries. We also provide resources within the drug-testing industry, such as training and education for employers and their employees, consortium work, and supervisory training for those managers.
The idea stemmed from an accident that my mother endured years ago at the hands of someone who was under the influence. That experience cultivated the thought process of creating a safer workplace, safer roadways and safer communities—and not wanting people to ever have to be involved in something like that.
For example, the transportation industry reaches every corner of a community, whether its through buses or trains and it must be done safely. That's the heart of why I do what I do.
WMW: What makes HourGlass Testing Solutions different?
AO: We specialize in same-day, onsite testing. And though I'm not the only one out in the community providing this service, some folks aren't specializing in it. If someone calls me at 10, I'm able to go and be there—within the Greater Grand Rapids area—within a very small window of time. From there we can have those test results in an employer's hand within an eight- to 10-minute period.
I have the ability to train and educate employers to help them with their policy writing and compliance and regulatory issues affecting their particular organization. Employers don't have to send their employees offsite to sit for hours waiting to be tested, which in turn saves them time and money.
Mostly, I think HourGlass Testing Solutions is different in that I'm a very relational person and having close, personal relationships is very important to me. I listen to the employer I'm working with and really talk about what they're struggling with. From there, we collaborate to ensure that they don't have to worry about any of the drug and alcohol testing policies or procedures within their workplace.
WMW: What advice do you have for other women working full-time who may want to start their own business?
AO: Be patient and persevere. It's a lot of hard work—there's no doubt about that. There can be a lot of tears sometimes! Doors close, but doors also open. Having a support system is integral, but everyone may not have that. Maintain consistency, persevere through it all—YOU CAN DO IT!—and reach out to people who can help you. Let people know what you're up to! That's a huge lesson I had to learn myself; you never know who might hear about it. Also, there's nothing wrong with partnering up with other people who are trying to achieve the same goals.
Mostly, you just have to take a deep breath when things get tough and keep moving forward.
WMW: In what little spare time you have, what do you do for fun?
AO: Though I haven't done it in a while, I love to roller skate! My skating club and I used to travel around to different cities and take in the unique styles of skating each place has. Of course, being with family and friends and just laughing and talking, usually while playing cards. I don't need to go to a club to have fun—it's the simpler things.
I just really love just being around people and listening.
You learn a lot from just taking the time to listen.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.
Photo courtesy of Aleka C Thrash.