SAFC Lives presents personnel profiles where we talk to the people and personalities who make SAFC tick to find out more about their position, what drives them, and what they enjoy doing when they are not playing a critical role in the ongoing growth of SAFC.
In this edition, we talk with Elaine Eagle, Manager of Project Management for BioReliance by SAFC in Glasgow, Scotland.
SAFC Live: Hello. Please start us off with a background of your position and an idea of what your day-to-day duties are.
BioReliance by SAFC is one of the largest providers of contract testing to the biologics industry. I work as the Manager of Project Management with eight reports.
Our team manages a wide range of projects which, in general, involves the testing of client’s samples for the presence of contaminants. The UK facility has a diverse portfolio of services including viral clearance (the testing of the client’s processes for removal of viral contaminants), customized testing projects as well as routine testing packages. We perform a broad range of testing for the presence of contaminants such as viruses or bacteria using techniques ranging from cell culture (mammalian or bacterial) or molecular based assays to electron microscopy.
The role of the Project Managers (PM) I direct is to act as the voice of the BioReliance clients, as well as an internal voice that communicates useful feedback to our organization. Each PM is tasked with building client relationships that facilitate successful projects by guiding the client on how to best maximize the relationship they have with us. In order to do this, the PM must have a clear understanding of the client’s requirements from the outset and be prepared for discussions that manage communications at an appropriate level while also delivering consistent results. The PM remains a client’s single point of contact within BioReliance from the initiation of the contract discussion, through to the signing of an agreed upon contract and then the implementation of the partnership. Our PMs know that they must contribute to the planning of each project by providing forecasting information to the laboratories, coordinating with the project team to ensure that the right people participate, and providing regular updates on progress to the client.
I put a great deal of my daily focus on mentoring the staff. Each of them has various talents that align to different parts of the organization, so I work to provide tactical support of these talents and always act as the first line of escalation for any areas that need more concentration. I also monitor all aspects of service delivery to ensure client satisfaction, as well as monitoring trends and taking action to maintain and improve service levels as required.
SAFC Live: Tell us about your time with BioReliance. What brought you here, how long have you been here, and what has the experience been like?
I have been with the company for over 19 years. When I graduated, I knew that I really wanted to use my degree in biology, so I decided to stay within the science industry. However, at that time there were not a huge amount of options for the market. When I came to interview for this job, the company was much smaller, and I liked that it was a small company where I could participate as it grew to be much bigger. More importantly, I saw that I could use my degree to develop and learn new skills.
This is a great company to work for. What we do is very different than anyone else. Don’t get me wrong when I say that, because BioReliance does have competitors in the marketplace. However, we are viewed as a market leader because our offering and level of service is unmatched among those competitors. BioReliance has a wider span of specialized and niche technologies, like performing testing through cell culture techniques or molecular based assays, and we have high level technologies such as our electron microscopes that look at the cellular level. Our range of samples is also diverse, including monoclonal antibodies, gene therapy vectors, and cell bank characterization.
SAFC Live: What has inspired you during your career with BioReliance? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The biggest inspiration is variety; no two days are ever the same. I genuinely enjoy taking products to market because often I am working alongside the clients as they go from R&D, through trial phases, and then to the market. Working on a project for that length of time and seeing it come to life gives me a lot of satisfaction. Beyond that, these projects are affecting people’s lives. That is pretty powerful and very humbling.
It is beyond fair to say that we are passionate about what we do and we have a great team of people here with “can do” attitudes. This is echoed from our clients, as well. They often express that they are happy with how willing we are to work with them to find solutions and provide regular updates and reports. BioReliance will take the time to provide regulatory guidance or advice, even though that means a bit of extra work. We do what the client needs. We also get very good feedback during client audits; they say that our team is very open, frank and honest. That kind of feedback keeps me motivated on a daily basis.
SAFC Live: What do you see in the future for BioReliance by SAFC as part of the Sigma-Aldrich family?
As we focus on integrating, in some respect it feels like we are building on the offering we already have because this brings the offering to full scale from R&D, through trials, to manufacture, to QC, and ultimately to release. BioReliance and SAFC have very similar customer approaches and the sales teams have already been working well together to leverage off one another and provide a full scale solution to each customer.
SAFC Live: How do you think SAFC solves problems for customers?
I think that SAFC solves problems for customers through the simple act of listening. We take the time to get to know the clients requirements, think them through, and create the solutions; we also offer exceptional support along the way.
SAFC Live: Outside of work, what are your passions?
The simple fact is that I love my job, and it is my passion. Of course, it is not my whole life, though. I am married and choose to spend my free time with my husband, my family, and my friends.