Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011
The Road to Palm Springs
The first member of his family to attend and graduate from college, Joe Herring paid for his education by selling books door-to-door. By the time he graduated, Herring had built a 38-person workforce and saved more than $50,000. Beyond the financial success, however, this experience also taught him the importance of staying in touch with customers, retaining key employees and tackling adversity head-on.
The latter lesson proved particularly useful when Herring was named CEO of Covance, one of the world’s largest drug development services companies, with 10,000 employees in some 60 countries. With turnover rates at an alarming 25%, he devoted the first three months of his tenure to visiting all company locations where he met with employees and listened to their ideas for the future. His direct approach worked, as employee turnover at Covance later dropped to 5%. He still takes the time to get to know company employees.
Covance was also one of the first companies to capitalize on the emerging outsourcing trend by large pharmaceutical companies. The company forged novel strategic relationships with Sanofi-Aventis and Eli Lilly, which included the transfer of 300 scientists, technicians and other staff to Covance. These innovative, industry-first alliances helped set Covance apart from the competition.
The company now positions itself as a one-stop shop for the drug development process.
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