Owning a successful company wasn’t ever the intention of Dr. Dershing Luu, founder of DHL Analytical. Dr. Luu arrived in the United States from Taiwan in his twenties, fully intending to return home and become a professor after he completed his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry. Life, however, had other things in store for him.
While working on his doctoral dissertation, he was offered a job in California which he accepted. A few years later, he and his soon-to-be wife relocated to Austin. When family circumstances required that he quit his job as a lab manager to care for his family, Dr. Luu reflected on his past jobs and realized there were areas where he could improve the efficiency of certain processes and techniques in the laboratory and chemistry field. In 1992, Dr. Luu started the first certified mobile laboratory business in Texas offering this unique service to businesses in the area. Three years later, the fleet had grown to four mobile labs and soon Dr. Luu saw the need to reinvest in his company and build a stationary laboratory as well.
An avid golfer, Dr. Luu played a round of golf at Forest Creek Golf Club one day and fell in love with the wooded area. He convinced his wife to take a look at houses being built along the golf course, settled there with his family, and built the first stationery location of his company soon after on Double Creek Drive. The company currently offers an array of lab analyses including organic such as testing for herbicides or pesticides, inorganic such as for ammonia or ferrous iron, and special tests like analyzing for dissolved gasses. Their clientele list is both public and private, and includes the United States Department of Defense, the Texas Department of Transportation, the Railroad Commission of Texas, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The core value of DHL Analytical is they believe that they can always do better today than yesterday. An example is while other companies have chosen not to utilize newer innovative technologies, Dr. Luu realizes the future implications of such technology and embraces it. Reflecting, analyzing, and being involved in all aspects of his company is how Dr. Luu has been a successful owner for over twenty-six years.
When asked who helped him along the way, he’s quick to share a story of his mother offering guidance. When he called her to ask her advice about his very first job offer, she encouraged him to take it and implied he would be a fool if he didn’t. He refers back to old bosses who helped him with networking connections and college mentors who helped shape his path. One college professor sat him down and questioned Dr. Luu’s decision to accept a job before he’d even finished his schooling, emphasizing that many students never followed through once they left the campus. With this advice in mind, Dr. Luu completed his dissertation working after hours and defended it within a three-month time period to earn his Ph.D.
Dr. Luu is adamant that experience is the absolute best teacher, including learning from failures and that entrepreneurs need to walk their own path and know their limitations. He also shared that it’s important to go into a business that you know well, to work with a purpose in mind, and to surround yourself with other successful people. He acknowledges that listening to other people has been one of the most valuable lessons he’s learned and encourages other entrepreneurs to spend time doing the same. His personal belief is that money should never be the driving force when starting a business and when you are able, you should live a life giving back to others by contributing to your town, community, and society. He considers it one of the most rewarding aspects of owning his own company.
Learn more on the DHL Analytical website.