Pharma engineers at BMS having a discussion by a laptop.
Colleagues at BMS. Image: Connor McKenna/

12 pharma engineers tell us why they love their jobs

5 Mar 2020

A career in pharma engineering is unique, diverse and full of learning opportunities, according to employees at BMS.

We asked 12 different employees at biopharma company Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) the same question – what’s your favourite thing about working as a pharma engineer? From the opportunity to use cutting-edge technology to impacting the lives of patients, this is what they told us.

Hayley Ward, a reliability technical specialist, explained that she had always wanted a job in which she could help others, but didn’t realise that was possible through engineering.

“Before I studied engineering I thought I had to do a nursing degree to help people, but I’m able to do that on my job today,” Ward said.

‘A unique position’ to be in

According to manufacturing science and technology upstream senior scientist Gearóid Duane, pharma engineers are in a “unique position”.

“We get to see and take in a process at lab scale, and we get to optimise and characterise that process and we get to scale it up,” he explained.

Engineers at BMS are also “empowered to make decisions”, site instrumentation SME Neville Doyle added, which allows him and his colleagues to “bring excitement each day when you come in and interact with people and see what challenges are waiting”.

Career progression for pharma engineers

Some of the BMS employees also mentioned the opportunities for career development, both at the company and in the life sciences field as a whole.

Site reliability SME Ciarán Finnerty, for example, described the industry as “going from strength to strength”. And within that growing ecosystem, he said that “BMS offer great development paths for engineers who want to work in a regulated environment”.

Something that helps, according to clean utilities SME Fiona Hegarty, is that BMS Cruiserath is a brand-new facility with “state-of-the-art, cutting-edge technology”, meaning that she has “lots of toys to play with” as she moves forward in her career.

And overall, the “exciting” work that comes with pharma engineering, according to validation manager Vincent Weldon, is what “enables you to grow and learn new skills”.

Diversity and different stakeholders

We also learned about the diversity of the pharma engineering industry, which projects programme manager Johnny Nally discussed.

“The most exciting thing about working in pharma – and especially in the role that I have – is the diversity associated with the role,” Nally said. “We get to engage with lots of different departments and lots of different stakeholders.

“I have the good fortune to work with a lot of skilled individuals and the opportunity to work with them and learn from them is very exciting for me.”

Colm Healy, associate director for manufacturing engineering at BMS, added that he sees pharma engineering as “very diverse compared to other engineering industries”.

To find out more perspectives, check out the video above.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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