One way the world of work has changed with the advent of social media has been the immediacy and intimacy of information. Immediate, as the ability to push ‘tweet’ or ‘publish’ sends your message or blog post out into the vast reaches of electronic communication; and intimate, as social media is inherently social in nature. And it wasn’t that long ago that a company ‘rumor mill’ was the source of up-to-date information; now a LinkedIn update pushed out to hundreds of connections broadcasts to the world that your employment situation has changed, without much effort on anyone’s part.
It has been a great five-plus years at Life Technologies (now a part of Thermo Fisher Scientific). When I started in early 2010, I was told two things that I remember still: first was that I needed to look beyond the product (at that time I was recruited to be a Technical Sales Specialist for the SOLiD NGS platform) and see the larger picture of many genetic technologies spanning a wide range of applications; the second was that there were many specialized niches and areas of expertise that I could apply my skills to, so I should not think that my particular role at any given time would be permanent.
Both items turned out to be so very true. Less than two months after joining, at the annual Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting in 2010 at Marco Island, Florida, customers and vendors received the first (albeit private) look at the Ion Torrent PGM system. In October of that year (2010) the acquisition of Ion Torrent by Life Technologies was announced. A year after that, in mid-2011 I was asked to take on a Regional Market Development role to assist with sales training, promotional efforts at trade shows, and assisting with workshops and customer speakers, in addition to being available to give presentations and help with any sales activities. And in early 2014 I was asked to provide the ‘content’ for a content marketing effort, in writing blog posts for a new blog called Behind the Bench in addition to conducting both in-person and remote video interviews.
Now in mid-2015 a new career door for Dale Yuzuki opened up with a small in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) company called SeraCare that makes precision controls for OEM suppliers in an ISO-9001 and ISO-13485 certified environment. With over 25 years of experience selling into this market, SeraCare will be expanding into next-generation sequencing standards as NGS appears in increasing number of diagnostic settings. I’ll be sure to inform you here on this blog with the first products in the coming months.
It was a difficult decision to leave Thermo Fisher Scientific, for sure. There are many excellent people there to work with, and many strong working relationships were developed there. If you happen to be one of my former colleagues at TMO, I’ll take this public opportunity to say ‘thank you’ for all the shared expertise you had to offer. For those of you who may be reading this and thinking perhaps of working at Thermo Fisher Scientific, rest assured that there are many, many people of the highest caliber working there, with deep understanding of the market (or markets) in which they operate, the details of the technology they bring to that market, and great creativity and tenacity in tackling the commercial opportunities within that market. Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Genetic Systems Division is constantly looking for top-quality people – so if you are on the fence about it, let me encourage you to pursue it.
One thing that does come up in these kinds of changes is geography. It is a fact that if you are in a position where relocation is an option your world of opportunities goes up by at least a factor of five. Ten years ago I relocated my family across the country from northern San Diego county to just outside the Capital Beltway, as I pursued such an opportunity. In my recent roles at Thermo Fisher I was able to be effective as field-based personnel even though the business was based in South San Francisco; I knew however that it was going to be a challenge to get to the next level in my career as a field-based employee. There were a few field-based people at that level in such a large organization such as the Genetic Systems Division, but it was more the exception than the rule. With the complexities of roles with higher levels of responsibility, it makes a lot of sense to have people geographically located where the work is.
The new position at SeraCare involves both product development as well as market development and commercialization with their R&D located in their Gaithersburg facility; by the way, this facility includes the manufacturing and customer support of the antibody provider KPL. I’ll be working closely with the R&D group, as well as reaching out to the translational researchers and clinical pathology groups that use NGS for identifying somatic mutations in FFPE samples. This move from the research world to the clinical diagnostics one is a major trend with both huge potential as well as risk.
Once a person told me you can change your functional role, the market you operate in, your geography, or your company, but you do not want to change more than two of these four variables at a time. Come to think of it, changing three of them just doesn’t happen because that involves too much risk for any hiring manager, and changing two of them can happen with a company relocation or with a new employer, as in this case.
I’ll be sure to write about new technologies and instrumentation as time and inclination allows. There was at least one new system from Belgium launched at the recent American Society for Clinical Oncology that was very interesting. And as I learn more about the regulated world of clinical diagnostics I’ll share what I can about it.