March 22, 2015

The Morning Sun

The rise of a company might look like an overnight success to the outside world, but often it’s years in the making.

That’s the case for Mt. Pleasant air testing laboratory Prism Analytical Technologies, Inc., which after being in business for more than 20 years skyrocketed to a national stage earlier this month, spurred by a special report on the CBS news program “60 Minutes.”

Prism, which runs its business and laboratory testing center at the Central Michigan University Research Corp., has been inundated with orders for its “Home Air Check” test after the news program aired a special report indicating that Lumber Liquidators sold discount flooring that violated safety limits set by the California Air Resources Board.

Core of the laminate flooring is made up of various materials glued together with an adhesive that typically includes formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, which seeps into the air over time.

One way to check for formaldehyde pollution is with an air quality test; since 2009, Prism has offered to the consumer market a test to do that.

“Prism offers one of the few air quality tests for formaldehyde to the public, so after the 60 Minutes program, our orders were astronomical,” said Sarah Mack, Prism’s office and customer service manager.

Prism received more than 600 orders since the show aired, compared to the normal 40 to 50 orders in a week.

Tests are packaged and shipped to customers, who send them back to Prism to be processed and analyzed.

Findings are reported back to customers from the Mt. Pleasant laboratory.

“This is the best thing that’s hit us as far as recognition of our brand and orders for our product,” Mack said. “Suddenly there’s an enormous audience across the country clamoring for our product.

“Our years of experience and support systems at CMURC have readied us to offer the public the tools they need to address their concerns.”

Erin O’Brien, president and CEO of CMURC, said Prism has been positioning for substantial growth and the 60 Minutes report simply accelerated their timeline.

Prism started the year off with recognition as one of Michigan’s “Top 50 Companies to Watch” by Gov. Rick Snyder and the company’s portfolio continues to expand.

Sales have increased Prism’s revenues by 45 percent.

Prism employees have been working on products to clean homes with air pollution issues and the influx of attention has sharpened their focus on other products consumers want.

“We have a patent pending on an air purifier that will help reduce formaldehyde levels in homes,” Mack said. “With the new spotlight on our company and the new products in the pipeline, our opportunities are wide open.

“With the platform CMURC has helped us build, we are confident that we can deliver.”

CMURC is a non-profit business incubator focused on advancing economic development in the community by leveraging the resources of CMU, the Mt. Pleasant Smart Zone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s 21st Century Jobs Trust Fund.

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