Louise Connolly

What does a typical day in your job involve?

The Project Services department is responsible for the overall delivery of manufacturing and distribution of a drug for a clinical trial, each clinical trial is called a protocol. We work with clients to define their specifications and turn these into working instructions for the operational teams to produce a quality product, within the specified time frame. Project Services are in a unique position in that they act as the cohesive group that bring all of the different departments together. We work with Business Development during quoting stages, production and logistics departments and the quality department throughout the whole lifecycle of a study.

When a drug product is manufactured and quality approved we need to deliver it to a patient, wherever in the world they may be. As a PM in Distribution I coordinate this distribution. I manage the generation and approval of distribution instructions for the Almac facilities globally and also for the 60 depots which Almac manage.

I report any potential or actual delays to the Project Leader and work with internal departments to minimise impact to the overall delivery of the study. I delegate tasks to the Project Coordinator, Distribution Coordinator and Depot Coordinator and am responsible for the overall delivery of any distribution aspects of a protocol.

Pharmaceuticals is one of the most regulated products to ship so each country has stringent import rules. I work with clients to ensure the correct documentation is in place to obtain approval in each country where the protocol is conducted.

What type of other skills do you need for your job, other than educational qualifications?

Although Project Coordinators and Project Managers work together, a slightly different skill set is required. To be a successful Project Coordinator you must be hard working with great attention to detail. The Project Coordinator is communicating with many different departments each so should be able to communicate effectively. They must also be able to work on their own initiative.

Good interpersonal skills and customer service are integral to both Project Coordinator and Project Manager roles. A Project Manager must be very organised with good time management skills. Some of the other important qualities is to be a good negotiator and someone who can remain calm and think logically in high-pressure scenarios.

What do you love most about your job?

Every day is different and every day I come across something new that I have never worked on before. I enjoy this element of my job as it keeps me engaged and interested. There are times when we are under pressure and I love the camaraderie amongst the teams. We all help and support each other and still manage to fit in a good laugh too!

There is always opportunity to grow and learn in the project services department and there a clear path for progression which is very motivating.

What great opportunities have you had in your role?

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to spend 6 months in our facility in Singapore. I was seconded there to offer support and additional training to the Project Services staff there. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. The experience I gained during my 6 months was incredible. As a global company there is the chance to travel somewhere new quite often, which is what I love.

Can you outline your career within Almac to date?

I started Almac fresh out of University in 2014, beginning as Project Coordinator. Just under 2 years later, I was promoted to Project Manager. I have worked as a Project Manager for 3 years now and within those 3 years, I spent a 6 month secondment to the Singapore Facility. In Singapore, I provided worked as a Project Manager and provided support to the team over there.

Recently I was successful in the application for Project Leader which I am due to start in October. I am excited for the new challenge that this role will bring!