Jim joined the Scientific Bioprocessing, Inc. (SBI) team in January 2020 as a Research and Development Scientist. Though Jim is just starting his life science career, he brings great curiosity and a willingness to learn to his role at SBI; he has jumped headfirst into a variety of sensor projects, helping SBI’s development team in any way he can.
We caught up with Jim recently for the latest installment of the SBI Team Spotlight Series. We discussed what inspired him to get into engineering, his role at SBI, and what it’s like to work for the company.
What inspired you to pursue a career in the life sciences?
I was originally in nursing school and had thought about becoming a doctor, but I pivoted to a biotechnology career; it just made more sense for me. Through a mutual connection, I connected with SBI and everything worked out. It’s been great so far.
What are your core responsibilities in your current role?
I work on the research and development side of SBI. I do whatever is needed with our existing pH and DO sensors and I am assisting with the development of the glucose and lactate sensors our team is developing. I started out doing some very basic tasks like putting our ID·Readers together, but I’m starting to do more advanced work as my experience level increases.
One of the things our team does very well is gathering feedback from our customers and then sharing that input with our R&D team. We then take that feedback, run some tests and ultimately solve any problems our customers might encounter, which are usually more about tailoring to their needs than about anything too big.
We take great pride in being responsive to customer input and questions.
What are some of the biggest keys to quality control during the SBI manufacturing process?
Standard Operating Procedures. Our leadership has developed a lot of SOPs so that we can follow a step-by-step process that allows us to reproduce our manufacturing and testing work consistently. Whether it is performing drift tests or any other process, we follow our SOPs to ensure we do things right.
What is the best part about working at SBI?
The team here is just really great. The environment is very collaborative, and once you’ve gained trust, every team member is provided a lot of freedom to operate and experiment.
There isn’t a lot of hierarchy here; the organization is flat, and everyone is free to share ideas, even if they are just starting out like me.
This environment has given me a real sense of ownership of what I do.
To be honest, I’ve had jobs where I’ve woken up in the morning and just didn’t want to go. We all have a job like that at some point, I think. SBI isn’t like that at all. From my first day here, the entire team was very warm and welcoming. There’s a company-wide philosophy that ‘mistakes happen’ and it’s okay as long as you learn from them. For someone just starting their career, it’s a great place to learn and work with really smart, experienced people.
What’s your ‘why’ when it comes to your work life?
Well, really simply, these sensors have become like children to me—I know where they started and love seeing when they perform their best. I’m excited about what they can achieve for our customers.
I understand that you like to hike. What’s been your most epic hiking trip to date?
Well, I’m not sure if this is epic or not, but I did hike up Mount Monroe in New Hampshire, which is a 5,000 foot plus peak in the Northeast U.S. near Mount Washington. Most people probably know Mount Washington because the Appalachian Trail crosses over it.
What’s something about you that might surprise your colleagues?
Well, I once had to have a search and rescue party sent out to try to locate me and my friend after a lake storm in Switzerland.