Andrew and Kay Armstrong began providing analytical consulting services to the Origin and Cause (O&C) Industry in 1976
That first case in 1976 led to Dr. Armstrong’s first court appearance related to a fire loss. The fire consumed the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Ballroom. Dr. Armstrong testified on behalf of the Insured, (SMU) identifying the ignition source to be static electricity that ignited the vapors from recently applied lacquer. With three (3) children, ages 18, 15 and 8 the Armstrong’s began their grand adventure with a single gas chromatography in the utility room of their home all while still meeting his professorial obligations with the University of Texas - Arlington (UTA).
Opening its Door's
Armstrong Consultants opened its doors to the criminal and civil investigation firms in the United States. Dr. Armstrong’s 1978 publication was the first describing the use of high resolution capillary column geo chromatography for the identification of ignitable liquids in fire debris. It was at this time that he began to accept cases on behalf of himself and the newly formed company – Armstrong Consultants. The company purchased its first gas chromatography (GC) on a simple handshake and the salesman’s insight into the competitive advantage and given competency of Dr. Armstrong. Rather than require payment up front, a line of credit or other loan-type arrangements, the scientific equipment salesman “lost the paperwork” for 3 months while Armstrong brought in enough revenue to pay for the equipment.
Home Office and Laboratory
Through close ownership and attention to financing, Armstrong has been able to expand and grow its services with the help help ? of IBM's Display wrighter , the company was able to provide multiple copies of report with ease. A letter of credit was issued to Armstrong in 1980; the credit was never exercised. The company has purchased all equipment and supplies rather than enter into costly lease or credit arrangements.
- In 1980
Armstrong Forensic Laboratory ``Name Change``
The company incorporated as a C-Corporation within the State of Texas in 1981 under the prescient corporate name of Armstrong Forensic Laboratory INC; the first private forensic laboratory serving the Origin & Cause (O&C) Industry. It was just prior to incorporation that Andrew and Kay, following Andrew’s formal separation with the University, moved the business from their Residence onto an 800 square foot warehouse / office facility, five minutes away. Elder son Michael just out of the morincs joined the family business and Assisted the complete program that exists today.
- Also in 1981
Becoming the First Private Forensic Laboratory
In only roughly three years later, Armstrong Forensic Laboratory Incorporated as the first, private Forensic Laboratories in the United States.
- By 1985
Armstrong has expanded into general and environmental analytical support. Understanding and anticipating the needs and growth of the environment as well as the industrial hygiene community prompted Armstrong to increase its services and competency ?
- In 1986
The First Real Office Building and Laboratory
The laboratory moved across the street to its second home a 7,500 square foot facility constructed exclusively for the laboratory and its support services (evidence storage and consulting services).
- Later in 1992
Kay Armstrong, one of the founders became the primary shareholder of the corporation.
- Then in 1993
President and Woman/Minority-Owned Business
The Board of Directions elected Kay Armstrong as President of the company opening the door for new and different opportunities. Now AFLAB became one of the companies to qualify and be known as a woman/small/minority-owned business which let the pathway to many city, state and federal contracts asks.
Board of Directors is Growing
Kay Armstrong’s foresight and natural business acumen complimented Dr. Armstrong’s technical expertise and has served the corporation well. Two new Officers were voted in as Corporate Secretary (Marion) and Treasurer (Mr. Mike Armstrong, eldest son) – expanding the governance from a three member Board and two Corporate Officers to three member Board and four Corporate Officers.
- By Summer July 2007
Achieving International Accreditation
In July 2007, Armstrong Forensic Laboratory, Inc. became the first private forensic laboratory to achieve International Accreditation for Criminal Case Work in the areas of Controlled Substance Identification, Trace Evidence Fire Debris and Trace Evidence Analysis of Unknowns.
The decision to leave the contract consulting venture in 1978 and break-out into the analytical laboratory industry was never a difficult decision for the Founders. Based on a mutual understanding of the fundamental requirements that good solid science requires and an unflinching commitment to integrity and untiring work ethic, the husband and wife team had no alternative but to begin a new enterprise. Dr. Armstrong admittedly never set out to become an international expert in ignitable liquid chemistry, but the interest in basic science and the unquenchable desire to answer the unanswerable questions, catapulted the Associate Professor of Chemistry into the intriguing world of arson investigation, courtroom testimony and insurance fraud. Dr. Armstrong realized early in the company’s history that his expertise was purely technical and, while extensive, he had no personal desire to cross-over into the area of business management.