iSpeak Blog

ISPE Communities of Practice Leaders – Nik Krpan

Marcy Sanford
Nik Krpan

As one of the founders of Cheme Engineering, Nik Krpan was instrumental in the start-up of the company. He became president of the company in 2012. Nik says that leading the company through continued growth has been an exciting aspect of his career. “We started with five people and now we have more than sixty. It’s been really rewarding to be part of a creating an environment where people can maximize their potential and being able to do something creative that is benefiting humanity.”

Nik earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and master’s in environmental biotechnology from the University of Waterloo and initially thought that he would have a career in environmental engineering but quickly realized chemical engineering was his true interest.

“I love chemical engineering as a discipline because you have so many different ways you can go with it including water. Within pharma, I think water is a great place for people to start a career in process engineering. When you're designing water systems, you're interfacing with all kinds of other systems and to be an effective water engineer, you need to develop an understanding of all of those systems.”

Nik Krpan

Based in Canada, Cheme Engineering oversees projects from all over the world primarily in the biotech and pharma industry. Some recent projects include upgrading a biologics manufacturing process facility and expanding manufacturing capabilities at an oral solid dosage facility. Nik says that no matter what the project, everyone at Cheme Engineering embraces the concept of knowledge sharing. “Within the business we insist that everybody is going to actively participate in sharing knowledge with their colleagues. I want to make sure that culturally that continues with us as a business. One of the great things about being a member of ISPE’s Critical Utilities CoP is we have members from all over Europe, the Middle East, and North America. I have a network of people I can call to chew over wicked technical problem when they arise.”

In addition to sharing his knowledge with colleagues, Nik has been able to also share his experience through his association with ISPE. Nik helped to create ISPE Guidance Documents and training materials including a Critical Utility GMP Compliance Training Course based off of the ISPE Good Practice Guide: Critical Utilities GMP Compliance – How to Be Compliant and Ready to Prove It. He is passionate about educating and mentoring the next generation of pharmaceutical engineering professionals. “One of our founders was my mentor and he taught me so much and I just want to be able to pay it forward and cultivate the next generation of leaders so that they can continue to have a positive impact in the world. When you're applying your practical knowledge and teaching it to someone else, you clarify things in your own mind about what that practice looks like when it's done correctly and you're actually making yourself better at it as well.”

Nik encourages anyone entering the pharmaceutical industry to recognize opportunity and capitalize on it. “The first big project I worked on there was an opportunity to take a leadership role and it was a lot of hard work. But I think that experience is a lot like money in a bank account: if you put a whole bunch of money into that bank account early, it starts to collect interest. If you have somebody that's willing to teach you and you have that opportunity to fully engage, do it, because you're not going to get those opportunities every day. And like money in a bank account, that experience goes into an experience account, and it starts to compound because now you're going to start to get more opportunities.”

Nik has been a member of ISPE since 2004. He is Past Chair of the Critical Utilities Community of Practice (CoP) and member of various other CoPs. He was a Team Member of the ISPE Good Practice Guide: Membrane-Based Water for Injection Systems and Co-Chair ISPE Good Practice Guide: Critical Utilities GMP Compliance – How to Be Compliant and Ready to Prove It. A resident of Ontario, Canada, outside of work Nik enjoys fishing, hiking, and hunting for mushrooms.


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