Joe Reilly, President, National Drug Screening
Successful entrepreneurs usually share four common differentiators. They continually develop their skills, they leverage their experience, they are always opportunistic, and they are passionate about whatever they are doing. All four boxes would be checked in the case of Joe Reilly, the founder and CEO of National Drug Screening.
Reilly grew up in New York City, and after earning a degree in accounting and marketing, his initial foray into business was working for the state of Massachusetts as a tax auditor. That experience confirmed the entrepreneurial inclinations he always thought he had, and with a friend, he moved to Florida and launched a window treatment company, which eventually brought him to Brevard.
“Our marketing strategy was pretty basic,” he recalled. “Homes were going up all over Palm Bay, and we would simply follow moving trucks to the house, and if they didn’t have window treatment, we would knock on the door and ask if the homeowner wanted blinds.”
Following the Opportunities
He left that enterprise to take over a restaurant/nightclub that he ran for nine years. During that time, he joined a good friend in a business providing loss prevention training programs for the hospitality industry.
“After being in that business for about four years, we ran across a Florida statute that mandated if you institute a comprehensive drug-free workplace program at your business, you automatically qualify for a 5 percent reduction in your workers comp insurance,” Reilly said.
“We saw this issue of high workers comp as a real pain point with all our clients and decided to focus on it.”
Focus on it he did. Today, Reilly is a leading authority, not only on testing for a drug-free workplace, but also how to craft policies that ensure a company’s position is legally defendable, particularly with the new legislation legalizing certain forms of marijuana use.
A National Footprint
Soon, Florida Drug Screening expanded to National Drug Screening as his company grew. “We focused primarily on the transportation industry, where the DOT mandates drug testing for certain jobs, such as truck drivers, pilots, oil pipeline workers, etc.,” he explained.
As he traveled around the country doing presentations as a subject matter expert and serving as chairman of the board of directors of the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) from 2004 to 2008, Reilly also began to be sought out by others who wanted to start a similar company.
“We developed a comprehensive training and vetting process for people who wanted to get into
the industry,” he explained. “Also, we developed a back-office system that allows owners to focus on building their businesses while we attend to many of the details.”
Now celebrating 25 years, Reilly has seen the growth and transitions in the workplace drug screening landscape. His company was one of the first in the industry to have a website promoting its services and has grown dramatically with a national reach.
With mixed emotions, he said, “Unfortunately, the drug situation isn’t showing any sign of declining, so our business model has tremendous potential.”