Happy 26th Anniversary, Microtrace!

Skip and his brother Mark in their first lab in the late 1950s (Left); Skip in 1992/1993 when Microtrace was founded (Center); Skip and Chris working together, present day (Right).

Tuesday, November 6th marks Microtrace’s 26th anniversary. As we wrap-up our silver anniversary celebrations, we invite you to take one more look at our Academic Lineage and some highlights in our Timeline from the past 25 years.

From its founding 26 years ago as a sole proprietorship, Microtrace has grown to a full-service laboratory that specializes in the application of microanalysis to problem solving.  Over the years, we have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of fascinating cases, and have built an international reputation for our scientific approach to solving problems for clients in industrial, legal, governmental and other domains- providing customized, unbiased, scientific analyses and interpretation designed to directly address the questions and issues that face them. Microtrace has developed a credibility for not only providing answers, but also providing scientifically valid results that can withstand equally the scrutiny of legal proceedings or the critique of a peer review.

On this date in 1992, Skip Palenik founded Microtrace to be a state-of-the-art laboratory’s laboratory, a place where logic, science and the microscope could be used together, without prejudice or bias, to solve real-world problems.  Back in 1992, Skip joked that, “I always wanted to open my own lab, so people wouldn’t touch my stuff.” Since that time, Microtrace has built a world-class staff of  scientists with backgrounds including chemistry, geology, forensic science, material science, and even botany and zoology. This diverse team of experts ensures that we have the expertise needed to address the most challenging questions from cases around the world and the ability to find answers that have eluded others.

Microtrace’s foundation began far earlier, when Skip’s parents bought him his first microscope when he was eight years old. Sensing the youth’s passion for science, his father built him (and his late brother Mark) their first laboratory shortly thereafter, complete with a hook-up to the main gas line for Bunsen burners and a fume hood.  Since then, a laboratory has traveled with Skip to each home he has lived in (and even to Germany where he served in Army Intelligence).  The experience in these home labs formed the basis for both the physical layout and, more importantly, the philosophy that continues to motivate our approach to each of our clients’ problems.

Following closely in Skip’s vision is Chris Palenik, a Senior Research Microscopist and Vice President, who has continued to expand the traditional foundations of the laboratory into higher resolution areas of microanalysis, including transmission electron microscopy, field emission SEM, and confocal Raman microspectroscopy.  These approaches helped to meld traditional forensic trace evidence analysis with the new realm of nanoparticles and nanotraces.

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