January / February 2017

We're Getting Younger - ISPE Membership

Michael A. Arnold, RPh

Happy 2017 and welcome back from the holiday season! I hope you all enjoyed some quality downtime with family and friends.

2016 went out with a roar around the world: the ISPE Brazil Annual Conference, the Nordic Affiliate Annual Conference, ISPE’s first Facilities of the Future conference in Bethesda, Maryland, and first Biotech conferences in Frankfurt, Germany, and San Francisco, California. I will say, however, judging from the feedback I received, that our “firsts” were well attended and well received. As chair, this pleases me because it means that first, our team did a great job bringing together the right content and presenters; and second, that our strategic direction is on target.

When we set the 2016–2019 strategy, you’ll remember we identified biotechnology and facilities of the future as areas of strategic focus. We have been thinking hard about how to define ISPE’s imprint in these two areas of great importance to the industry and, consequently, ISPE members. The Biotechnology Steering Committee, led by Britt Petty, past ISPE Board member and an executive at Biogen, decided to hold both European and North American events as a first step in building ISPE’s presence in this exciting space. Feedback from the conferences will be guiding the committee, which is fine-tuning its plans for the coming year (more on that in a future column). The Facilities of the Future conference, with its stellar lineup and international scope, offered a glimpse into what our Facility of the Year awards may well look like in the not-too-distant future. Good thing we introduced a Facilities of the Future category award last year! Manufacturing and innovation are common to both strategic areas, and are in many ways ISPE’s strengths. Yet as we look ahead, we know that the roles technology and regulation play in the design, development, delivery, and access to both, will be top of mind among our members.

Certainly, our Young Professionals, in particular, are familiar with the mounting role technology plays in innovative design of quality delivery systems, facilities, and, ultimately, medicines. Both John Bournas and I made the point at the Annual Meeting in Atlanta that we want to better represent our Young Professionals, the association’s future, within ISPE. We’ve established a Young Professionals Task Team to look at opportunities for engaging and collaborating more frequently, to determine how ISPE can be an integral component to YPs’ developing careers, and how we might leverage their skills and insights in developing our strategic plan. The team will be led by Brody Stara, International YP Chair; Dr. Michael Ku, Vice President, Global Clinical Supply, Pfizer; and ISPE Board Director Antonio Moreira, Vice Provost, University of Maryland. The Task Team is planning two events: one in Boston, Mass in August 2017 and the other in San Diego, CA at ISPE’s 2017 Annual Meeting. Watch this column for more information.

At the 7 December 2016 Board meeting, we approved updates to our governance documents that will allow the International Co-Chair of the Young Professionals to join Board meetings as an invited guest. Throughout 2017, Brody Stara will represent the Young Professionals at each of our Board sessions, and share updates from the Young Professionals community. Welcome Brody!

Additionally, efforts are underway to identify opportunities for enhancing the Annual Meeting poster competition, so that we may increase Young Professional participation and attendance. If you are an interested Young Professional, and want to get involved, please contact Brody Stara ( or Ciara Durkin (

This year will be an exciting one for ISPE and its members as we begin to reap the benefits and rewards of the strategic plan we set in motion two years ago. The steps we took last year especially have helped us develop a strong foundation upon which to grow.

I look forward to sharing more exciting news with you in future issues.