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Letter From The Chairman

Photo of Alan Mac NeiceAs 2009 draws to a close, and the dawning glimmer of 2010 edges towards the horizon, it is worthwhile to reflect on the year past and the year ahead.

2009 was a year of great change. Professionals in our industry, like everyone else on the planet, had to endure the dark clouds of the global economic crisis, a crisis that affected every business. Businesses with weak business models had their weaknesses horribly exposed as sources of capital and credit dried up. Even the most robust businesses with the brightest prospects implemented significant cost reduction programs motivated by the general economic sentiment that surrounded them.

Within our industry mega mergers took place affecting hundreds of thousands of employees. The full effect of these mergers will be felt in 2010 as the new entities deliver on their promises to reduce headcount.

2009 was the year of global change. It was a year in which many of us can say our lives were changed by global events beyond our control. Many of us have yet to understand the impact these changes will have on our careers. It is an environment where many will feel that they have no control over the events shaping their lives.

And they are right. The individual professional is unlikely to be able to control global changes. However, they can influence how these events affect them by positioning themselves to succeed in the new environments that emerge from global change. The key to living in a fast changing environment is to become a nimble and agile professional capable of quickly taking on new challenges and opportunities. A cog in a machine has no future when the machine no longer has a need for a cog, but a part that is adaptable to many purposes is always valuable.

The agile and nimble professional is the one who takes professional development and networking seriously. Understanding that the future is difficult to predict the agile and nimble professional will position themselves for many futures. Constant engagement with new knowledge, extending their knowledge domain beyond their current role, and gaining recognition for their ability beyond their immediate work environment are the hallmarks of the agile and nimble professional.

ISPE exists to develop professionals. For the pharmaceutical professional of today it offers the resources and forum to become the agile and nimble professional who will thrive in 2010. The International arm of the Society has a regular offering of new knowledge through Pharmaceutical Engineering magazine, our Web site resources, and our conferences. Our face-to-face events deliver knowledge and networking opportunities. For those whose budgets don’t stretch to conference attendance, our publications and Web site offer many low-cost alternatives to help the professional build knowledge in their own time.

The International arm is but one component of ISPE. Every Member has access to a local Affiliate or Chapter that will be delivering knowledge and networking opportunities closer to their home. Many Members find the local aspect of ISPE to be the most valuable contribution to their professional development.  The Communities of Practice offered by ISPE offer other forums for building knowledge and networking that are expert, low-cost, and global.

The agile and nimble professional will take control of their own professional development. While some professionals allow their professional development to be controlled by an employer, the smart professional will recognise that their needs for professional memberships, engagement with learning, and networking are normally greater than many employers envisage or provide. The smart professional controls their own destiny by meeting their full set of needs if the employer does not.

In 2010, ISPE plans to deliver even greater value to Members. In 2010, in addition to our regular conferences, we will continue to grow the offerings we have through the web and our publications. New webinars will be offered throughout the new year. The range of past webinars available as recorded products will continue to grow. All of these products are available at low-cost, discounted prices to Members. Some are, and more will be, made available free to Members.

The Society has almost 20 publications in the pipeline. Some are revisions to existing publications, but most are new documents covering new topic areas. These will be published throughout 2010 and beyond. The new publications will cover a huge diversity of subjects, including Manufacturing Execution Systems, Ozonation, Cold Chain Management, and the Practical Application of Quality by Design, to name but a few.

Throughout the Society, both locally and globally, there are many volunteer opportunities as speakers, organisers, or technical contributors. Taking advantage of these opportunities will help build your knowledge, networks, and skill sets beyond any opportunities available to you in your normal work. These opportunities can be accessed by contacting your local Affiliate or Chapter, COP leaders, or the Member Services Department of ISPE International.

Listening to all of the media commentators in December 2009, I hear little consensus as to when the general economic climate will improve. Will it be in 2010, or will it take longer? I don’t know. I do know that the effects of the industry changes that took place in 2009 will reach the individual professional in 2010.

There is a way to control your destiny, take control of your own professional development. ISPE has given you the resources to do it relatively cheaply. ISPE has provided resources that are available to you when you have the time to engage with them.

During 2009, I remember two individuals I met at ISPE events, both senior-level professionals in relatively small companies. Both told me that their businesses grew in 2009. Both told me that their constraint on growth in 2009 was the availability of good professionals who could match their needs. What did they have in common? Both had a policy or culture of extensive professional development for themselves and their co-workers. There is a lesson there.

I wish you every happiness and success in your endeavours in 2010.

Alan Mac Neice
ISPE International Board of Directors – Chairman

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