From the lonesome lab to a busy site

Quality engineer Diana Frydendahl Amstrup shares her story on how she went from the lonely biochemistry lab to the bustling life of pharma engineering.

How did you start working at NNE?

I am educated in biochemistry so my degree implies that I would be working in, for example, a laboratory, but it doesn’t suit me at all. I’ve done it and it’s lonely. There is no colleague support. I had supervisors, but I rarely saw them. I wanted to be where there were plenty of people and I could sense that I had made a difference. I wanted to go home and feel that I had accomplished something. So here I am at NNE.

I was hired almost three years ago as a quality engineer. It was almost a culture shock going from the lonely lab to a company with so many employees. It was so surprising to have a colleague suggest I contact another colleague whom I had never met. I was encouraged to reach out for help and suggestions. The company culture is unified and centred on knowledge-sharing.

What other positions have you worked with?

I have had varied positions over many projects. I have helped the process department, I have been out as a tester qualifying production equipment, I’ve worked for almost all packages, such as performing ventilation tests, and more. I find this very interesting because I don’t have to sit and perform only quality tasks. If you want to and you show interest, you can perform many tasks. There is always something to do.

Of course, I have traditional quality and validation as well, such as writing specifications, protocols, and validation documents. I also have some engineering management tasks, including keeping track of documents in the list of deliverables (LOD) for the entire projects as well as some design documents. I enjoy variety and thankfully the job is so cross-disciplinary and you are always learning new things and improving new competencies.

We are a new department in that it’s a merging of two departments (the Computer System Quality team from Manufacturing IT and Quality & Validation). But our managers are very good about building our relationships. At our last department seminar, we had several extremely productive work hours, but still spent the rest of the day exploring Amsterdam as a group. Our seminars have taken place in Latvia and London, as well.

What does it take to be a quality engineer?

To be a quality engineer, you must be flexible and result-oriented. I like to do puzzles and you have to find the correct manner through which to complete them and if it is wrong, you correct as you go along. This position is quite similar. You know the end result, but you have to find out how to get there. You have to ask people and agree on solutions and find the best way.

One of the biggest challenges is getting in touch with the customer. They have their own tasks and their own projects. And once you get in touch, you have to agree and find a common ground with their input. But the better your relationship is with them, the easier the process will be. A good relationship can solve any problem. And I am glad that I can do that now that I am out of the lab and where the action is.

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