July / August 2018

Time Flies: A Look Back—and Ahead

Timothy P. Howard, PE

I am pleased to have another opportunity to share some thoughts and provide a quick update about the progress of ISPE. It is hard to fathom that we are halfway through 2018, and summer is upon us (at least those of us in the Northern Hemisphere). ISPE had a very busy first half of the year, with three major conferences in North America, a very successful Europe Annual Meeting in Rome, and dozens of training courses convened around the globe.


While attending the Europe annual meeting I had the opportunity to judge the second annual ISPE Young Professionals (YPs) Hackathon. The Hackathon challenges YPs to solve a manufacturing innovation challenge in less than a day and a half and present their solution along with a viable business case. The quality of the presentations by each of the three participating groups was impressive. To all involved with this session, including those who sponsored their YPs, I applaud and appreciate your support of such a successful event. Our industry is in good hands if these sessions are any sort of litmus test. 


The success of our European conferences is in large part a product of the collaborative work of our European staff, European Leadership Team, and European Affiliate leaders and volunteers. This successful cooperation reflects the effective trans-Atlantic work being carried out with ISPE headquarters. Our headquarters manages the marketing, accounting, and educational support that has contributed to these robust events.

As with the ISPE 2018 Europe Annual Meeting in Rome, our conferences later this year in Lyon, France (Biotech), and Vienna, Austria (Aseptic Manufacturing) are being produced in partnership with the local Affiliates. The high level of collaboration has resulted in great programming and increased attendance numbers year on year. We have already started to plan for 2019 events using the same collaborative model and expect our attendance to continue to grow.


In North America we are looking forward to returning to Philadelphia for our ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo. In 2015, we had a record-setting meeting in Philadelphia; we expect 2018 to surpass the metrics of all previous annual meetings. I am very excited about the quality and diversity of speakers we have lined up for our keynote sessions as well as our content-packed conference tracks. Mark your calendars now to be part of this fantastic conference. Here’s where to find out more:

We continue to look for opportunities to collaborate with other organizations.


“Execute with excellence and a sustainable business approach” is a component of our strategic plan that is fundamental to our continued success. In his presentation at the 2017 Annual Meeting, Mike Arnold, Past Chair of ISPE, provided several data points about where we made great progress last year in improving the operational strength of ISPE. We continue to improve in this area.

Our staff has added key resources to support ISPE operations and has fully implemented a staff training program for professional development. Our board is implementing changes to drive better governance of the society. Some of the changes we are implementing include modifying our board agendas to make sure we address long-term planning each time we meet, and adding a board self-assessment process to our annual agenda. We will continue to look for changes like these that improve our operational strength.

Finally, we continue to look for opportunities to collaborate with other organizations. We signed a memorandum of understanding with the Parenteral Drug Association to collaborate on the topics of quality metrics and quality culture. Our society is as strong as it has been in quite some time, and our strategic objective to continually improve the strength of our operation is ever present and evident in much that we do. 

Timothy P. Howard, CPIP, PE, Vice President at Commissioning Agents, Inc., and President of its wholly owned subsidiary Coactive, Inc., is Chair of the ISPE International Board of Directors. He has been an ISPE member since 1993.