Until Robert L. Michel came along and founded The Dark Intelligence Group (DIG) two decades ago, the clinical laboratory industry and the anatomic pathology profession lacked a trustworthy source for information about the management and operations of medical laboratories. From its inception in 1995, The Dark Report quickly became the “go to” source of industry intelligence, innovations in lab management, and strategic market analysis.
This excellence in reporting has earned recognition from his peers. For example, twice Michel and The Dark Report have won national awards for best investigative reporting by the Specialty Information Publishers Association. In 2005, the award was for Michel’s coverage about how the anatomic pathology condominium laboratories (pod labs) operated by urologists and gastroenterologists came to be, who operated them, and how these owners marketed the AP condo labs to other physician groups. In 2009, Michel’s award for best investigative reporting resulted from his published interviews with Quest Diagnostics Incorporated when the company admitted that, for a period of 18 months, it had been reported inaccurate Vitamin 25(OH) D results because of problems with its laboratory-developed test methodology. The Dark Report’s story was picked up by The New York Times and was in the national news cycle for several days.
In his role as Editor-in-Chief, Michel brought unique capabilities to DIG and The Dark Report. His management training and diverse business experience—along with his skills as a concise writer and analyst—proved to be a winning combination for readers of The Dark Report. For that reason, Michel’s story has many intriguing elements.
Immediately prior to founding DIG, he had served in several executive positions for Nichols Institute based in Portland, Oregon, and San Juan Capistrano, California. This was during the time that Nichols Institute was an independent public lab company with annual revenues of about $280 million (prior to its acquisition by MetPath, Inc., now Quest Diagnostics Incorporated). He traveled extensively to many of the clinical lab business units owned by Nichols Institute in different regions of the United States and played a role in formulating effective market strategies in response to the emergence of closed-panel HMOs, capitated pricing, and full-risk managed care contracts, among other successful management initiatives.
Prior to his service at Nichols Institute, Michel served at three different Fortune 100 companies. These were Procter & Gamble, Centex Corporation, and Financial Corp. of America. Each was an opportunity to master new management techniques and apply them in different industries. Between these positions, he gained experience as an entrepreneur, having founded a real estate development firm and a general contracting company in the Southeastern United States.
Robert Michel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he played rugby, a sport he participated in for another 22 years. He is a native of California and grew up in Santa Ana.
Articles by Robert Michel
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