People Are The Chemistry: Heather Bridwell
At Lancaster Laboratories, we believe that our people provide our strength. Their dedication to quality, professional competence and hard work is the key element in the company’s success. In this regular feature, we introduce you to some of the people who have helped make Lancaster Labs an industry leader.
Heather Bridwell has many clients who count on her knowledge on LC instrumentation and theory to assist with solving their chromatographic challenges. A Method Development and Validation principal chemist and group leader, Heather recently won the company’s Annual Impact Award, which recognizes employees’ superlative services to customers. She was honored for her efforts in meeting customers’ deadlines under exceptionally tight timelines.
Heather began her career at Lancaster Labs in 1999. She had to leave for North Carolina the following year to accompany her husband, Erik, who was stationed there as a Marine. During that time, Heather was development/validation chemist for another pharmaceutical lab. She returned to Lancaster Labs in 2003. She also found time to earn a master’s degree in analytical chemistry, all while embracing her most important job as mother of two and wife. Here’s a slice of Heather’s life:
What does your current job entail?
Currently, I am a team leader for an FTE team at Lancaster. My current job has many facets, and my responsibilities include project management and being the main contact for the client; organizing and planning workload; managing seven analysts with varying levels of experience; and at times performing as a bench analyst with responsibilities for working-up data, report writing and investigations. In addition, I am also responsible for communicating with Lancaster Labs in Ireland as we look to transfer a large project’s validated methods to them so that they can take over the testing currently being performed at Lancaster Labs and be the primary testing site for the client by mid-2009.
Given all of your responsibilities, how would you describe a typical workday?
Busy, hectic and sometimes quite stressful. Considering all that, each day is also a welcomed challenge. There are many pieces to this project, and often we need to focus on different types of testing activities (development/validation, routine testing, stability sample testing…etc) for multiple products concurrently. Everything we are asked to do by the client is a priority and often with aggressive deadlines. Each morning starts with an assessment of data that had been run the previous night, evaluating if the client’s priorities have shifted or changed, evaluating what remains to be completed and then determining if the work schedule needs to be adjusted. Communication has proved to be key, not only with the client, but also within the FTE Team and the other pharmaceutical departments at Lancaster Laboratories to ensure that we have access to the required instrumentation, equipment and the necessary auxiliary support. The days tend to be long and require tremendous effort from all members of the FTE Team. Once you take a step back and look at the volume of work that has been completed within such tight timeframes, I feel that it is well worth the effort.
And when you’re not working?
The majority of my time outside of work is spent with my family. I have a husband and two sons. Erik and I have been married for nine years. It does not feel like it has been that long, which I believe is a sign that it is still a good thing. My eldest son, Mason, is six years old and started kindergarten this year. My second son, Chayton, is 2.5 years old and his favorite word is, “no.” We tend to spend a lot of time outdoors. This year we are planning to go camping for the first time with the boys. I am a little hesitant, though, as I am not sure how to keep the young one entertained for such long periods of time out in the wilderness. Perhaps we will try out the backyard first before heading out to a real campsite.