Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007

Mudd joins KPL expansion drive

Bioservice veteran heads sales and business development for Gaithersburg company

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KPL Inc. of Gaithersburg, a leading product supplier for biotech, pharma and public research laboratories, is on a mission to expand its place in the bioservices industry.

Hiring Robert Mudd as director of sales and business development is a key part of that drive, said Albert Perry, KPL co-founder, president and CEO.

Mudd’s hiring comes on the heels of the company’s ‘‘huge leap forward,” said spokeswoman Betty Fogel. KPL recently moved from its facility at the Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg to a state-of-the-art, 30,000-square-foot space on Clopper Road in Gaithersburg.

Mudd was previously a sales director for Thermo Fisher Scientific’s life science research and for ABgene Inc. in Rochester, N.Y., where he was responsible for all sales operations in North America. He has also held sales management positions with Qiagen and Amersham Life Sciences and began his career as a research scientist in molecular biology and protein studies.

Mudd said he wants to increase the size and effectiveness of KPL’s sales force as the company looks for opportunities to purchase and partner with companies or pieces of companies.

‘‘I feel that KPL’s potential is very high. I want to triple our sales force in two years to ramp up revenues,” Mudd said.

Many companies ‘‘fall down from not doing enough sales tracking,” he said. ‘‘You need to track your input, your leads and calls, and to do that you need to spend time with your top customers.”

Lesley Kirkegaard, director of marketing and son of biochemist and company co-founder Leslie Kirkegaard, praised Mudd’s industry experience.

‘‘What we looked for in a director of sales is someone who really knows the industries we serve. Bob brings 17 years of sales, and sales is all about who you know and the contacts you bring,” Kirkegaard said. ‘‘He knows what it takes to achieve a sales team.”

KPL was founded in 1979 by Kirkegaard and Perry, and has since supplied antibodies and substrates to diagnostic kit manufacturers and research laboratories worldwide.

The company generally flies under the media radar.

‘‘We’re quiet, but that’s OK,” Perry said.

The company’s products are cited hundreds of times a year in research studies and discoveries by biotechnology, pharmaceutical and vaccine companies, and academic and government laboratories. KPL is also a leading manufacturer of diagnostics kits for food safety and offers more than 550 reagents and assay kits.

‘‘Anybody doing food tests on pathogens is probably using our company’s products,” Mudd said.

Mudd attended Lake Braddock High School in Northern Virginia, where he grew up. He earned a bachelor’s in biology from Virginia Tech and had thoughts of attending medical school, he said, until a chance exchange with his next-door neighbor.

The neighbor, who worked for Revlon Healthcare, a division of Revlon Inc., asked Mudd, ‘‘Just graduated? Want to spend some time in a research lab?”

He began as a Revlon lab technician at $5.60 per hour. He then moved with a company sale to Rorer Pharmaceuticals in King of Prussia, Pa.

Mudd said he likes sales work for KPL, because the company is known for its matter-of-fact product service and high quality, he said.

His KPL job ‘‘will be his first experience in brokering the buying and partnering pieces of companies,” he said.

Mudd and his wife, Robin, have three sons; Cody, 13, Dylan, 8, and Ryan, 4. They have lived in Frederick for several years. He coaches baseball and football at the Glade Valley Athletic Association in Walkersville and likes to play golf and run.

This report originally appeared in The Business Gazette.