People are the chemistry
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.
With the Lab since 1984, Deb Marcuson has always appreciated the steady growth of the company, and in turn, that of her career. Whether transitioning from the Environmental Division to Foods to Pharma Product Testing in 1998, Deb’s primary driver has always been developing one-on-one close relationships with her clients. As an FTE Group Leader since Aug 2011, Deb, and her team of 31 Analysts, Data Reviewers, and Group Leaders, forge a bond with their FTE client to understand and embrace their corporate culture, processes, and expectations to mirror their ways of doing things and serve as their off-site lab.
What does your current job entail?
As an FTE Group Leader my responsibilities include overseeing/managing Analysts and Data Reviewers for an FTE team to support the FTE client projects. This also includes daily communication with our client’s Project Managers via conference calls, Instant Messaging, and /or email.
What is the scope of your group?
We support developmental and stability studies to support FDA new drug filings. The size of the team fluctuates based on client’s drug pipeline. Our core team typically has 16 Analysts, four Data Reviewers and two Group Leaders. During our largest team ramp, we had 30 Analysts, three Group Leaders and seven Data Reviewers. Our FTE team is unique in that we use the client’s chromatography system (Empower), client LIMS, client email (yes – we have a Eurofins Lancaster Labs (ELLI) email address and a client email address). To accommodate access to client’s systems, we work using two PC’s. One is linked to the ELLI network, and the other is linked to the client’s network. To switch from the ELLI network to the client network we use a switching box. With a simple click, we can switch to the other network. That way we only need to use one keyboard and one monitor.
What process improvements does your group initiate to serve clients better?
Since we use our client’s LIMS system for reporting, we have made several recommendations to improve the process. We have also participated in client internal discussions when the system is upgraded. Due to the volume of samples we test, our input is greatly valued by the FTE client since we are one of the primary users of the LIMS system.
We also participated in our Client’s Lean Initiative to minimize the number of client SOPs used by ELLI analysts. Prior to this initiative, analysts were following the client’s SOPs, in conjunction with ELLI SOPs (to fill in the gaps) and numerous protocols required for the stability studies. The team had significant efficiency gains being able to use ELLI SOPs.
You’ve been here for over 30 years and seen countless changes. Is there anything that hasn’t changed during your tenure?
Lancaster Laboratories has always emphasized the importance of servicing our clients to the very best of our ability and to always maintain our high level of quality. This started with our founder Dr. Earl Hess, continued with past president Dr. Wilson Hershey and still continues with our current president Dr. Tim Oostdyk. And job security has also been very important to me.
And when you’re not working?
During my time off, I look forward to trips to Portsmouth Island (an 18- mile barrier island that is part of Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina). My husband and I enjoy surf fishing there in the spring and fall. Our trips there are very relaxing and give me time to “recharge my batteries.” It is a remote island that is accessed by a family owned ferry service. The ferry is reservation only and very small (only holds about 4 – 6 vehicles). Once we are there, we can completely relax. There are no amenities on the island, just 10 rustic cabins managed by the National Park Service and the office where you can get ice and gas. We stay in our truck camper, better known as “Deb’s beach house” the entire time we are there. What’s really great about it is if you don’t like the “neighbors,” we just move down the beach!