Representing the largest business sector in the North East of England, NEPIC has deep engagement with industry and training providers. However, NEPIC, along with award sponsor Altrad, seeks not only to promote the industry as a career choice for those leaving school and University but also to recognise the best and brightest young people already working within it.
Open to member company employees aged between 16 and 35, these awards recognise outstanding talent across the industry’s five sectors: Biotechnology; Base Chemicals; Pharmaceuticals; Fine & Speciality Chemicals and Support & Supply Chain.
Born, raised, and educated on Teesside, this year’s biotechnology young achiever, Carmen Heeran, graduated with an Applied Science Degree from Teesside University. Shortly after she secured a role at Fujifilm Dioysnth Biotechnologies, then Avecia, within the downstream development team as a Research Scientist.
Growing and progressing over the course of 12 years, Carmen is now a Principal Research Scientist, leading a team of research and senior Scientists. This role involves the purification, and characterisation of processes for the development and production of novel therapeutic proteins.
Carmen is experienced in cGMP at numerous scales and phases including pre-clinical and early phase through to commercial production – and leads on process development, optimisation, characterisation, and validation using both microbial and mammalian technologies.
Over the course of her more recent projects, Carmon has naturally gravitated toward the Mammalian processes and developed specialist expertise in this area. In June of 2019, she was offered the exciting opportunity to lead the downstream development of novel continuous biomanufacturing platform. A year was spent developing the mAb processing platform to fit the continuous strategy.
In late 2020, this work culminated in a ground-breaking proof of concept operation that successfully demonstrated the continuous production of a monoclonal antibody at 500 L scale in a purpose-built facility. During the proof of concept, Carmen was actively involved in the day to day running within the facility, so was thrilled to see first-hand, 18 months of hard work come to fruition.
Believing it is important to have role models in the science, technology, and engineering industry, regardless of your gender or socioeconomic background, Carmen is a proud STEM and WISE ambassador working to encourage the next generation to take up a career in industry.
Josh began his career with px as a process engineering undergraduate, working with the firms engineering and consultancy service, off the back of a successful six-week placement.
His role involved working on projects for various sites including Saltend Chemicals Park, producing documents such as heat and mass balances, technical bid analysis and data sheets for clients.
Soon after this, Josh moved onto Teesside Gas Processing plant where he carried out various operations, – one having a significant contribution to site safety.
The opportunities just kept coming for Josh, as he intended to join another plant for a similar 6-month secondment in the process department however, an assistant Operations Engineer role became vacant, and Josh was asked to fill it. As a result of fulfilling the role, this extended his placement by a further three months – despite only being in the business for six months.
In this new role, Josh was the operational focal point for the Breagh facility and excelled within this role in various ways. He was responsible for managing a multi-million-pound contract and successfully managed an in-line Inspection programme within the Breagh pipeline.
Excelling in the assistant Operations Engineer role, Josh was offered the position of Graduate Operations Engineer upon completion of his master’s in chemical engineering.
Since returning to Teesside, Josh has expanded his operational abilities and become more involved in wider aspects of the plant, by becoming the Site Operations Lead for the plant’s liquid export project. Not only this but, has also been made the new Commissioning Manager.
Aiden’s career at GSK’s Barnard Castle site has gone from strength to strength, starting out in a Graduate role, to becoming a Team Leader and being responsible for quality-critical inspection and packaging operations across 8 production lines.
Developing a passion for the pharmaceutical industry in his teens, Aiden began working as a Pharmacy Assistant. His admiration for the frontline works and the difference they make on a patient’s life – and their dependence on continuous supply and being at the end of the pharmaceutical supply chain – enthused him.
Aiden began studying Biopharmaceutical Science at University however, it was a placement with Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies as a Junior Systems Technologist that truly ignited his drive to progress.
Off the back of his experience and University grades, Aiden secured a place on the GSK Graduate scheme within the manufacturing operations department. The experience of this role was invaluable to Aiden, allowing him to develop through rotations on the site in a range of different disciplines such as, process support – syringes, new product introduction, dermatological and supply chain planning – and steriles.
Following the completion of the scheme, Aiden has taken on a team manager role for the Vials inspection & packaging area, has a team of 13 and is responsible for quality-critical inspection and packaging operations across eight production lines. Today, his role allows Aiden to coach others and work on developing them to get the most out of their role.
This year’s Fine & Speciality young achiever found himself like many teenagers wondering what to do next as he approached the end of secondary education. Having stumbled across a new course for process operations apprentices being offered by TTE, his journey began.
After an initial 12 months at TTE, the course required a sponsor to support the following twenty-four. Countless emails, phone calls and interviews later, Scott found himself with three sponsor offers, choosing to join Huntsman Tioxide – now Venator – and took the first steps towards building a career.
Two years later and aged just 18, Scott was a validated operator and accountable for the operating and decision making on operation assets, which in his own words “was by far one of his biggest achievements without realising the responsibility he had.”
Four years after completing his apprenticeship, Scott continued to develop, completing internal and external courses to become a multi-skilled operator and shift trainer – gaining experience and knowledge and growing confidence. By aged 24, Scott had successfully become a Lead Technician and a respected member of the operations team.
Since then, Scott’s achievements have continued and today he is a successful White End Plant Engineer – managing and leading production shift managers and day-based support teams. He has led projects to drive continuous improvement and efficiency between operations and maintenance and earning the Huntsman Safety Excellence Award in the process. Scott is also a Mental Health First Aider, supporting individuals with coaching other leaders in mental health and wellbeing.
Always seeking to develop further, Scott has successfully completed 4 years training with IODA and Sunderland University and expects to achieve a 2:1 BA (Hons) Management and Leadership Practice in early 2022. Scott is rightly proud to have progressed from an apprentice to plant manager in such a short career span and proving that age is just a number for those who have the right attitude, behaviour, and capability.
Jon started his career with Houghton International as an apprentice and since then, has skyrocketed to become Assistant Manager. Joining the firm in 2011 as an apprentice Mechanical Engineer, and despite having no previous experience in the field, Jon spent much of his apprenticeship developing his engineering skills and learning from Senior Engineers within the business.
Jon achieved a distinction* in Level 3 Mechanical Engineering and was put forward for a Higher National Certificate, in which he also received a distinction. Soon after completing his apprenticeship, Jon was promoted to Leading Hand, taking on more roles and responsibilities for the business. Putting his extensive experience to use, Jon was involved in the manufacture of two new rotors for a client, despite there being no product specification provided. Jon and his team reverse engineered a rotor and created two brand new ones, showcasing the innovative capabilities him and his team have.
After taking on the role of Supervisor for three years, Jon was promoted once again to Assistant Manager, taking on more responsibilities including overseeing projects, managing the machine shop and more importantly to Jon, being responsible for the training and development of the team. Much like his apprenticeship days, Jon works closely with the current apprentices, mentoring them and showing them the fundamentals of the role as well as carrying out Personal Development Plans on an annual basis.