Global FIA was founded in 1992 by Don C. Olson. For Olson, it was to be a second career. Earlier in the year after 30 years of service, he had retired as Senior Staff Research Chemist from Shell Development Co., the R&D arm of Shell Oil Co. While at Shell, Olson had pioneered the application of FIA to industrial analytical chemistry, in particular its use in process analysis. This work began in 1976 when he made a trip to Jarda Ruzicka's and Elo Hansen's lab at the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen to spend 3 days learning about FIA. From there he travelled to Sweden to purchase a commercial FIA from a company named Bifok which had licensed the technology from Ruzicka and Hansen. Olson brought the instrument back to Shell and he believes it was the first commercial FIA that existed in the U.S. For the next 16 years, Olson pursued the development and use of FIA, and later SIA, at Shell.
Olson founded Global FIA as a sole proprietorship in Houston, TX. He took this step for a number of reasons. Retirement didn't turn out to be a life he enjoyed. He had a passion for developing new technology. There was a great need for new technology in FIA and there was a sizeable international FIA community that Olson knew and viewed as potential customers. Many components used in commercial FIA instruments at the time were off-the-shelf products designed for other purposes, e.g. peristaltic and HPLC pumps, HPLC valves, and general purpose tubing and fittings. Olson's vision was to design and produce components specifically for FIA and SIA and use these to take the development of the technology to a new, more advanced and versatile level. These were listed in the company's first catalog.