- Posted by Amy Poole
- On August 7, 2019
by Tom Struble, ISPE Boston Board of Directors Secretary & Product Show Chair 2017-2018
I remember separating from the Navy very well. I was excited, nervous, scared. It was 2009, who remembers the economy back then? NOBODY was hiring. I putzed around at several odd jobs for a while, including some unemployment periods, before landing a steady position in a line of work I didn’t even know existed: commissioning and validating GMP manufacturing systems for biotech companies.
As I settled in, I started to learn many things about the industry. First off, I met a lot of veterans. The technical training and bootstrapping mentality veterans bring with them makes them valuable assets in the biopharma world as well as many other industries. I also joined ISPE and learned the value of networking. As a result my career started going in exciting directions I never anticipated. I sought out mentors for career advice. I wished I had known these things back in 2009!
Once I found my footing, I realized I was pretty fortunate. Working with other veterans and engineers was a relatively easy transition from the military and I had built a network of friends and professional contacts within the industry. But not all jobs are so easy to transition to. Beyond that, some people are forced to separate due to any number of reasons and they have never even thought about what to do next. I know I had a tough time jumping from job to job before landing in a stable industry.
With all this in mind, we are introducing a new group in ISPE: Veterans in Pharma. The mission is three-fold: Connect veterans with other veterans for networking and mentoring purposes, educate the life sciences community on the many benefits of hiring military veterans, and to recruit veterans directly into our organizations here in New England.
There is no better place to kick off a new group than the ISPE Boston Area Chapter’s premier annual event: the Product Show at Gillette Stadium! This year we will be introducing the concept of Veterans in Pharma as well as a guest speaker, Mr. Mike Grice, Retired U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel and COO of Boost Oxygen. Mike serves on the Board of Directors for MVPvets (www.mvpvets.org), an organization that job matches, career trains and mentors veterans within the life sciences community. Additionally we will ask for feedback from the attendees on what they’d like to get out of this group, ask for volunteers to join the committee and help plan activities, and end the event with a networking period.
This is the first event of its kind for ISPE and we are excited to begin this journey together. We are hoping that many of the veterans that are already part of our ISPE community will be able to attend and meet with each other at the Product Show this year. We know it is an action-packed day and there are so many other things to do but, as we look to the future of the engineering community here in New England, we need more people that can get the job done and do it right. The veteran community is a great place to find these people.
And this event and group is not limited to veterans. If you have good experiences working with veterans in the past, or you are a hiring manager looking for talent, or just want to meet people with unique backgrounds and great stories from their military days, please join us from 4-5 pm on Wednesday, September 18 in Suite 70 on the Red Level of Gillette Stadium. We look forward to seeing you next month! Click here for free attendee registration at the Product Show!