People are the chemistry: Paul Walters
At Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, we believe that our people provide our strength. Their dedication to quality, professional competence and hard work are the key elements in the company’s success. In this regular feature, we introduce you to some of the people who have helped make Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories an industry leader.
Paul Walters knows exactly what clients want. Having worked for large bio/pharmaceutical manufacturers in QA and Validation/Metrology for over 12 years, he brings inside drug development experience to his Data Integrity and Validation role at Eurofins Lancaster Labs. “I’ve walked in our clients’ shoes and fully recognize their challenges and what is of utmost value to them from a contract lab. And therefore my goal is to ensure our validation efforts are such that clients don’t have to give it a second thought. We think of everything, so they don’t have to,” says Paul. “With the caliber of world-class people here doing their best to enhance services for clients everyday, we are absolute industry leaders.”
What does your current job entail?
Everything! No, but seriously, I am leading the Lancaster Data Integrity initiative. This ensures all of our data meet the ALCOA principles (Attributable, Legible, Contemporaneous (real time), Original and Accurate). We review our data systems (electronic and paper) to ensure they remain in a validated state and that the data is integral from inception of testing to final repository (and even beyond). I am also the group leader for the Validation Team. We bring in new software and instruments through our validation life cycle processes. We also manage change control and even retirement of these systems as part of that life cycle.
What is the scope of your group?
The Validation Team is a service organization that specializes in the validation life cycle of our analytical equipment and related software /data acquisition systems. On the front end, we write validation plans to introduce new equipment and software to the labs as part of the onboarding process. Once the system is here, we work with the technical groups to facilitate changes to these systems through change management and change control. Our Data Integrity Team is currently reviewing our legacy systems and implementing new processes to ensure our data adheres to the ALCOA principles. We are maintaining full understanding of the “c” in “cGMP” through review and analysis of draft guidance documents from the FDA, MHRA, WHO and others to stay on top of where the industry is going and what the inspectors are expecting in the world of data management and integrity. This means clients can be sure we are at the forefront of this current and important industry initiative.
Why should clients trust us with their projects?
Our validation team has a combined total of over 50 years of analytical and process validation experience. This includes experience beyond Eurofins specifically. As such, we are able to draw on that experience from our team members to come up with unique and effective ways of efficiently setting up a validation life cycle for just about any new piece of analytical equipment or software. Additionally, given our vast client base, we currently maintain over 80 different analytical software systems in house. This means we manage and oversee the entire life cycle from inception to change management to retirement for every one of these systems. In other words, we have probably already validated your analytical software or instrumentation. I enjoy telling our clients “Don’t worry, we ave been there, and done that!”
Given all of your responsibilities, how would you describe a typical workday?
As is probably true in most workplaces, each day offers unique challenges and moving targets. On any given workday, we are often witness to changes in direction on a given project, task or objective. I enjoy the resulting challenge as it offers excitement and unique opportunity for growth, for me personally, and for the Validation Team. Given our experience, our clients can rest easy that we are able to accommodate these changes quickly, efficiently and effectively.
How would you characterize your leadership style?
I have an awesome team. They do their best every day to make me look good (a tall order). Their vast knowledge of industry, equipment, software and validation processes is second to none in my opinion. As such, I do not ever have the need or desire to micro-manage them. This leaves me the opportunity to focus on the big picture and actually “lead” through inspiration and vision. (Well, I try anyway.) The only thing that is constant is change. This is a saying I take to heart and embrace fully. This means I am always looking for the next thing to make our Validation Team stronger and more efficient and effective in maintaining the validation life cycle of our systems and equipment. As a result, I feel that we offer the most comprehensive and compliant analytical validation services in the industry. The people working in this organization make it happen. Did I mention I have an awesome team? Well I do!
And when you’re not working?
I am cooking. I love to cook! My wife would say it’s probably the only house chore I excel at. I will often cook an entire meal for family and friends just for fun (...but forget to mow the lawn). Nothing gives me more joy than to see a smile on their faces after enjoying something I created in the kitchen.