Founded in 1963 by Donald G. Saltman, Suburban Testing Laboratories was first certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Health when pure drinking water was more abundant, and water testing laboratories were rare. During the early 1960s, few people examined their water quality unless it tasted bad, smelled funny, or made them ill. Suburban Testing Labs began as an extension of Saltman’s water treatment company to test customers’ water quality.
In 1974, Richard (Rick) C. Stump, II joined the company as a water treatment technician. As the business grew, Stump recognized an overwhelming need for reliable water testing services for individuals who owned private water supplies. Once thought to be the purest source available, private water supplies began to be questioned.
During the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began to adopt and enforce new testing standards for public water systems. In response to the increased regulations, various water laboratories began to emerge. In 1978, Rick became Laboratory Director, and Suburban Testing Labs became an EPA approved facility. Over the next 15 years, the laboratory experienced tremendous growth and an expansion of services. In 1994, Rick purchased the company and became entirely independent from the water treatment business focusing solely on laboratory analysis.
In 2001, Rick’s son, Richard (Rich) C. Stump, III, joined the company as a full-time Laboratory Analyst after graduating from Kutztown University with a B.S. in Chemistry. During the next few years, Suburban Testing Labs enhanced its services to include more Non-potable and Solid and Chemical Materials testing. In 2002, Rich was promoted to Laboratory Director. During this time, Suburban Testing Labs shifted its focus to growth strategy. The laboratory began to grow in more markets and geographical regions outside of Pennsylvania.
Suburban Testing Labs has grown from a small, regional water testing company to one of the largest family-owned, independent, single-site environmental testing laboratories in North America. Firmly rooted in high-standards with an eye soaring to new heights, we are ready to be your partner for success.
Richard C. Stump, III, President
Rich currently serves as President for Suburban Testing Labs, providing overall strategic leadership and organization management. He leads a team of nearly 100 Laboratory Staff, including the Microbiologists, Chemists, Environmental Scientists, Field Scientists, and Client Services team members. Rich has extensive technical abilities and has a reputation for knowing every instrument and process inside and out. He regularly provides technical guidance to clients, as well. Rich is strongly linked to business units on all sides of the regulatory environment.
Rich holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Kutztown University. He has also been involved in various professional organizations, including currently serving as a Board Member for the Reading Science Center. He has received numerous awards and accolades from the professional community. He regularly serves as a go-to technical presenter for laboratory analysis and regulatory topics related to the environmental industry.
Sara has been a Director at Suburban Testing Labs in Reading, PA since 2005, and has been responsible for much of its growth over the last several years. She has experience managing and developing client services, field services, sample receiving, and sales for the laboratory. Sara works with clients in many facets of environmental lab testing, including public wastewater, industrial pretreatment, and drinking water. Her extensive experience and involvement in wastewater and water regulations have made her a vital asset in the professional community.
She holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Kutztown University and studied for her Master’s at Alvernia University. She is involved in various professional organizations, including currently serving as a Board Member of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) and the Eastern PA Water Pollution Control Operators Association (EPWPCOA). She also serves as an instructor and trainer at numerous conferences and events.
Tim Swavely, PMP, Director
Tim Swavely currently serves as Laboratory Director of Suburban Testing Labs. Tim began his journey at Suburban responsible for our Client Services Department and has since risen through the ranks to Director of Laboratory Operations, including Client Services, our Laboratories, and Sample Receiving. Tim is responsible for our laboratory’s day-to-day operations, including ensuring adherence to turnaround times, overseeing staff growth and development, and leading our commitment to defensible data.
Tim’s previous experience comes from the Environmental Consulting industry as a Professional Project Manager (PMP) with over many years of consulting and analytical testing experience. This experience includes UXO site evaluations, waste site evaluations, aquatic resource investigations, wetlands delineation, drain surveys, and geotechnical drilling. Tim has extensive experience reading and interpreting PADEP and EPA regulations and managerial experience with budgeting, creating proposals, and personnel supervision.
Sarah Purtell, Director of Operational Excellence
Sarah Purtell serves as our Quality Director, overseeing our quality system. Sarah manages our NELAP (National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program) Accreditation to ensure the utmost defensibility of data quality. She has built a multi-level Quality Team dedicated to providing high quality, defensible data. And this philosophy permeates throughout our entire operation. Sarah works closely with all departments to ensure our team has the tools, knowledge, and training necessary to accomplish these goals.
In addition to her experience as Quality Director for Suburban, Sarah also has experience as a Quality Engineer, Biomaterial Research Associate, and Lab Technician in the medical device industry. Her experience building an ISO-based quality department, overseeing test method validation, and establishing processes made her an ideal candidate for Suburban’s high-quality standards.