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Greg Neal

He started his company in his garage in the 1980s. Now his company has numerous locations across the U.S. and a bevy of clients.

Greg Neal (’81, ’85) was born into a Fort Thomas, Kentucky blue-collar family that emphasized education and hard work.

"I had an opportunity at the time to choose Northern Kentucky University or go to work, so I very much wanted to choose NKU," the first-generation college student says.

Neal is the president and founder of Advanced Testing Laboratory (ATL), which provides scientific outsourcing services to consumer products, pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Neal pursued degrees in biology and chemistry with the goal of becoming a high school science teacher and swimming coach. After Neal graduated from NKU, he started his business in a garage in 1987. That was the company’s headquarters for the first seven months.

Neal says he founded ATL to provide analytical chemistry and biological testing for Cincinnati-based businesses. Companies would ship their samples or products to ATL, ATL would runan analysis on the product and then return it to the client. The company was approved by the USDA for nutritional labeling, the EPA for hazardous waste characterization and the U.S. Department of Defense to create alloy chemistry for the air-space industry.

“It’s challenging and rewarding,” he says. “We help solve some of their most demanding problems.”

Neal was given the knowledge foundation and tools to lead acompany by many of the experiences that he was able to take part in while he was on campus.

“What drives me to get out of bed is the opportunity to lead and inspire a group of people who are providing exceptional, one-of-a-kind service to our clients each and every day while delivering the science that makes life better."

“I was challenged by my professors to do more than just regurgitate back information,” he says. “They taught critical thinking. They taught problem-solving. They created a pretty strong sense of curiosity.”

Since its inception, ATL has worked with thousands of clients and now has more than 500 employees. ATL’s headquarters is based in Blue Ash, Ohio, which is a few miles north of Cincinnati, but the business has expanded to several locations across the U.S.—including Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and Boston.

For Neal, creating a passionate team is the most memorable aspect of running his business.

“It’s not about me,” he says “It’s about what our team does each and every day for our clients.”

While as a business leader most of his days are not spent inthe lab, Neal still holds science in high regard and believes we are in a time when science can drastically improve the lives of everyone.

“We are right in the epicenter of that,” he says. “We are helping develop the next new drug or next new medical device that could make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”

ATL has also had a hand in trying to stave off the COVID-19 pandemic. Using its pre-existing foothold in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, the company is involved in developing some of the therapeutics used to treat COVID-19 patients and is assisting with creating COVID-19 testing sites across the U.S.

With a business that continues to grow, Neal says he is inspired to lead his team of 500-plus people every day.

“What drives me to get out of bed is the opportunity to lead and inspire a group of people who are providing exceptional, one-of-a-kind service to our clients each and every day while delivering the science that makes life better,” he adds.

About This Article

Trey Crumbie
Contributor, NKU Magazine
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Published April 2022
Photography by Scott Beseler
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