Thursday, November 12, 2020

While it’s not, technically, a business, Iowa’s State Hygienic Lab (SHL) has demonstrated incredible innovation and dedication since it became ground zero for most of Iowa’s COVID-19 testing.

That’s why SHL and Director Mike Pentella were recently given the Driver award as part of the sixth annual Gazette Business Awards.

The Driver award is given to an individual or institution that has identified a creative solution that fills a gap in critical resources,  according to The Gazette. More information about this and other of the Gazette’s business awards is available here, including a video interview with Pentella by Gazette reporter Erin Jordan.

“The State Hygienic Lab really jumped in after COVID was found in Iowa and helped integrate these testing methods for COVID-19 early in the pandemic,” Jordan said.

Pentella said it took great effort to continue performing other critical tests such as newborn and well water testing while also validating brand new COVID-19 tests and ramping up operations to meet the demand. But he said his staff is highly competent and willingly met the challenge.

“In a pandemic, you don’t have weeks and months to get things accomplished – you have to move very quickly,” he said. “I’m very fortunate that we have very flexible staff here who were willing to do whatever was necessary and work very long hours to bring this test on board and get everything worked out so that we have reliable, accurate test results.”

The State Hygienic Lab is part of the Office of the Vice President for Research, which provides researchers and scholars with resources, guidance, and inspiration to secure funding, collaborate, innovate, and forge frontiers of discovery that benefit everyone. More at, and on Twitter: @DaretoDiscover.