iSpeak Blog

Member Spotlight: Dave McAlonan

Member Spotlight
David W. McAlonan, BSChE, MBA
Associate Director R&D Global Engineering - AbbVie

Dave McAlonan joined ISPE in 1988 and recently retired from AbbVie, formerly Abbott Labs. Dave has been a Great Lakes Chapter leader and has served on the North America South America Affiliate Council and the OSD Steering Committee, along with several other ISPE volunteer positions. We asked Dave to share with us his thoughts on the industry (then and now), retirement, and ISPE volunteering.

How has the industry changed since you joined ISPE? What changes may lie ahead for the industry?

It has been more than 30 years since I joined ISPE, and I have been active most of those years in both local Chapters and international ISPE. I was also involved in the early 2000s with ISPE Europe while working in Germany. Although the membership numbers were smaller then, there was more activity in local Chapters. I saw significant growth in membership during the 1980s and 1990s since many of the companies sponsored their employees’ memberships and encouraged their activity in ISPE chapters. Almost every other month, the Great Lakes Chapter held many events that were well attended, enjoying a typical turnout of 60 to 80 people.  

I think real growth occurred with the international areas of ISPE during the 2000s.  One of the strong influences that keep members involved has been the ISPE Baseline Standards, which keep many of the focus groups very productive. I have seen great cooperation from consulting groups, equipment sponsors, and owner companies who work very well together within these areas.

I also have seen great progress in the participation and production of the Annual Meetings each year. The people who bring these meetings together have outdone themselves each year with the speakers, educational tracks, and vendor shows.  This is where I see the "Industry Change" that you ask about. The Pharmaceutical Industry has changed much since I began; back then, the focus was on small molecule chemistry. When large molecule biology became part of our future, the industry began to expand tremendously, enabling many more areas of opportunities for management of diseases and even cures for significant unmet medical needs, just in the last 10-12 years. I am glad to see that ISPE has been a major source of help to the industry during those years through education and seminars that bring our members together. Overall, I have seen much growth and progress within ISPE in the last 30 years and have been very happy to have been a part of the work to make it a success. I wish I could attend more of the conferences, but with the financial constraints of companies not paying for registration and membership and taking time from the job to attend these conferences, it becomes more of a challenge each year.  

What does retirement look like?

On a personal note, I miss the activity of everyday work with my friends. I have stayed active within the local Chapter and hope to continue to do so. I am interested in with ISPE on the national level to get more retirees to continue to remain active, such as mentoring Young Professionals.. I am trying to do something local but have not gained any progress in this area; am hoping to get it going at the international level. I would very much like do more to keep our retirees active and interested in ISPE.

You have given a lot to ISPE. You were a Great Lakes Chapter leader and served on the North America South America Affiliate Council and the OSD Steering Committee, among other volunteer positions. What might volunteering look like for you now?

I would like to continue to volunteer my time to help ISPE. I would be very interested in seeing if ISPE would develop a network of senior volunteers to work at the annual meetings or establish a support network to keep active.