Q. How did you get started working in the Industry?
Mark: I happened into the bioprocessing industry almost by accident. Well, it might have been more of a shove. I had just finished my junior year at U.C. Berkeley and was on summer break. My parents had some friends over for dinner, and during dessert, my step-father turned to his friend and asked, “Do you think you’d have an intern position for Mark this summer?”
Horrified, I sat there thinking, “No. No. This is my last free summer!” Of course, I ended up accepting the summer internship, and it was more exciting and rewarding than I could have imagined. I enjoyed learning about what it really takes to build equipment with the quality and consistency needed in such a precise industry. At the end of my internship, they offered me a full-time position, and I accepted. This was a good thing (since I majored in Japanese history ::chuckles:: ). I’ve really enjoyed learning about the bioprocessing industry by working my way through the areas of production, engineering, marketing and sales.
Q. What is your favorite part of your job? What are you most proud of?
Mark: My favorite part of this work is definitely helping people solve problems. Bioprocessing is very demanding, and there is a constant need to find better solutions to the challenges faced in the industry. Working with the great teams at Asepco and Watson Marlow Fluid Technology Group to help provide those solutions has been immensely satisfying. It is so rewarding to have the opportunity to work with the intelligent and talented people you find throughout this industry.
Q. What advice would you give to someone new to the industry?
Mark: Find a good mentor, and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. This industry is constantly changing and there is so much to learn. This can be daunting and it’s a great opportunity. With a great mentor sharing expertise and perspective, you are more likely to challenge yourself and stretch your thinking.
Q. Can you tell us about a cool project you worked on?
Mark: Some time ago, we had a customer with a challenging problem. They had an existing vessel with a butterfly valve. The problem was that the material they were producing was very viscous and had been getting stuck. It was building up on the butterfly. Working with the customer, we evaluated the impact of changing from a butterfly valve to one of our radial diaphragm valves, and we found that the build-up was significantly reduced. An additional challenge was a customer requirement that the new valve be able to mount to the existing bolt flange. We accomplished this by creating an extension of our valve line by designing a new, taller valve to accommodate the flange thickness and maintain full functionality.
This project really opened my eyes to the value of collaborating with our customers, not only to ensure that we provided the best solutions for their unique problems, but to capitalize on the value of the different perspectives everyone brings to solving a problem.
Thank you, Mark, for being our Industry Person of the Week and for your work growing people! We look forward to keeping up with you through the #PumpTalk Community!