POLARIS Laboratories® Remembers Its Co-Founder, Chairman
Don Woods was a technology pioneer and leader in the oil analysis industry for more than 35 years
INDIANAPOLIS – An influential figure in shaping the importance and growth of the oil analysis industry died suddenly on July 2. Don Woods co-founded and served as chairman and chief information officer of POLARIS Laboratories® since 1999. Under his constant leadership, the company grew into one of the largest independent global oil analysis laboratories. Woods was 59.
The Pendleton native was a Purdue University graduate, where he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer technology. That education helped Woods become the pioneer of information technology systems development and integration specific to the oil analysis industry. Woods broke into the industry as Information Systems Manager for Lubricon, where he worked for 18 years. In April 1999, he co-founded POLARIS Laboratories®, which he guided for more than 17 years. In addition, Woods was twice nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
“Don was an inspirational leader who was truly valued and cherished not just as a company leader but also as a friend and mentor by each and every employee who ever worked at POLARIS Laboratories®,” said Bryan Debshaw, POLARIS Laboratories® chief executive officer. “He not only helped set the industry standard for developing cutting-edge technology solutions, but also for providing the best service possible to our customers, and that’s what we will continue to do in his memory.”
At the onset of his career in 1980, Woods expertise in designing laboratory information management systems (LIMS) soon produced the industry’s first software-based data evaluation, flagging and reporting system. The LIMS concept also has provided the foundation for an extremely successful “one-laboratory, multiple locations” business model POLARIS Laboratories® has proven to be extremely efficient. He also oversaw the evolution of the company’s technology efforts with the industry’s first full-service mobile app for iPhone in 2015 and a complementary version for Android in 2016.
POLARIS Laboratories® will continue to be led by its two surviving owners, Bryan Debshaw and Jeff White, chief science officer, along with the company’s executive management team combining for more than 150 years of experience.
Woods is survived by his wife Jennifer and his two daughters, Alexandra and Samantha.