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Beyond the Bench: A Century of Experience

The second edition of the Beyond the Bench series features three of Alcami’s longest tenured employees. Meg, Karen, and Sally have worked at Alcami and its legacy companies over a century, collectively. These women share in common not only a long history with the company, but they are all also great at sharing their knowledge. Please meet Meg, Karen, and Sally. 

Alcami applauds your loyalty and dedication. You are all valued, expert contributors at your sites! Please introduce yourselves and paint a picture of your start with the company.

Meg: Hello! I came on board as a chemistry analyst, testing water soluble vitamins, aiming to learn more about analytical testing in the pharmaceutical industry back in 1977. I can still vividly remember my first day training with a chemist in the labs, and the vice president and chief chemist took me out to lunch to review the company strategy, such an exciting first day!

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Karen: Thank you! I was hired as a clerk/typist 32 years ago. One of my favorite memories is from the very beginning of working with the company: my boss bought a computer with a huge monitor attached to it, handed me something called a floppy disk, and asked me to learn how to operate it and make the company more technologically advanced! Going from typing on a typewriter to computers to wireless laptops meant that I really grew with the company from a technological standpoint. My career developed as the company expanded and moved to new buildings. Back in 1985, the first New Jersey labs were located in Roselle Park. We then relocated to a new building in Edison, which was much bigger with more labs, equipment, and opportunity.

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Sally: Hi! In 1986, I was studying to earn a Degree in Chemistry when I was approached by the company to be potentially brought on board after graduation. I was the youngest employee at the time and the 50th employee hired for the North Carolina area. We had only two buildings in our Wilmington location, and I had a multi-purpose role as a courier, glassware technician, and I conducted housekeeping activities for about six months. I would drive to a local company to pick up water samples and bring them back to the microbiology lab to perform rush testing, go between the two sites transporting goods and materials, and overall just doing whatever was needed, such a great learning opportunity! I was very excited to have an opportunity with a company in my field of interest. After six months, I transferred to an analytical role performing dissolution testing. Little did I know I would be with the company 32 years later. It had an entrepreneurial spirit then and now. I love the science and technology focus of the company.

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Why have you stayed with the company through the decades?

Meg: I have stayed with the company for 40 years because I have been given the opportunity to work in many different disciplines. Each time I started in a different department it was like starting a new job with new people and new experiences. I have enjoyed each department. I see a bright future for Alcami. The investments in our infrastructure are enabling the business to grow in a planned manner.

Karen: I like a challenge. I have learned so much throughout the decades. I have grown up with the company. I like to see all the changes and improvements the company has gone through and I like knowing I am a part of that growth.

Sally: I love change, learning, and knowing I am helping others. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work in multiple areas of the company. I have learned under some of the best in the industry, having full support to be the best I could be. Having worked in the labs, test procedure generation, project management, EH&S, quality, and now supervising support services and materials management, I love that I can use all of my experiences to help others, day in and day out.
 
What are the key benefits of staying with this company?

Meg: The benefits of staying with our company are being able to work in different areas and continuing to learn different aspects of the industry. Being part of the new facility within the Cortex Innovation Community, I have seen much growth over the years. For example, when I started in high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) we had two reverse phase columns and two normal phase columns for the whole HPLC department – we have also gone from chart recorders to integrators to computers.

Karen: The benefits of staying with this company are getting experience and learning through the Alcami University. It’s always important to learn how to improve and develop others.

Sally: We all have or will have a personal connection to someone who has needed a medication, whether it be for routine maintenance, such as a blood pressure medication, an antibiotic for a child with an ear infection, pain medication after surgery, or even hard-hitting medication for cancer or other life-changing diseases. We channel our compassion to make the pain or diseases go away. It’s incredibly rewarding to help formulate a better quality drug, manufacture and package it, test it to ensure the drug is pure and conforms to stability, and confirm that all of the critical quality elements are met. Being able to work with such talented professionals who share the same passion and drive to help and heal – the ultimate goal – is so empowering. Because of Alcami’s diverse services, our teams can provide professional knowledge and guidance to our clients to help close the gaps in the drug continuum. Working relationships are team-based with experienced guidance to train employees to produce continued success. Using your experience to close gaps, improve processes, and network internally help both you and your team grow, and the company succeed.

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Advice for those starting out in our industry?

Meg: Learn all you can. Be able to look at yourself at the end of the day and say you gave an honest day’s work. Help to develop your coworkers and don’t be afraid of change.

Karen: My advice for those starting out in our industry is to appreciate the experience and learn what Alcami has to offer.

Sally: Be a sponge. The pharmaceutical industry is so small, and the many years of professional experience and knowledge within this industry are endless. Ask questions. Get involved. Expand your focus. Most of all, find passion in what you love and know that YOU can help make a difference, whether for one patient or many. Make it a goal to learn something new every day and make it a point to help someone every day. Relish in the wins only briefly and learn fully the challenges that are put in front of you. Grow from experiences. Spread your knowledge to help others succeed.

Thank you for your interest in learning about the people at Alcami.

Connect with an Expert


Allison Zelasney IrreraInterviewed by Allison Irrera

Allison Irrera joined Alcami in 2016. Prior to Alcami, Allison worked on film and television productions for HBO, Twentieth Century Fox, FX Productions, and New Line Cinema. Her journalism and communications background dates back to the Columbus Telegram newspaper in 2001. Allison holds a Bachelor's of Art degree in English from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and will be pursuing her MBA this fall at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Topics: Thought Leadership Alcami Voices