Almac Clinical Services Feature in “The Big Question”
July 3, 2007
News Letter – 03 July 2007
Jonathan Calderwood, Global Marketing Manager, Almac Clinical Services
What is your career background?
I studied Biochemistry at Queens and then completed a Postgraduate in Computer Science. After graduation in 1994, I started working at the old CTS division of Galen, which is now Almac Clinical Servcies. My first job was as a Production Supervisor and I did find working full time a bit of a shock to the system. The role gave me a great insight into the operations side of the business and it was also a crash introduction into managing people. I then moved to a Project Management role which was much more customer focused; this position gave me a clear understanding of the size and potential of the markets Almac operates in across Europe, North America and further afield. I was then appointed Business Development Manager for Europe because of my experience across different parts of the company. Since we deal with multi-national pharmaceutical companies its important to have the proper technical knowledge which I’d gained through my early experience at Almac. My new role involved a lot of travel, and as Almac evolved into a fully global business I was then appointed to my current position as Global Marketing Manager.
What was your first job and how much were you paid?
My first job was at the Roads Service in Hyde Bank when I was a student, I worked as a general dogs body and answered the phone. Not too challenging but it paid well!
Have you ever had a job you hated?
I once spent a few weeks working at an amusement park in the US where my role was to stand as a target for visitors to throw rubber ducks at. Thankfully things have improved since then.
What was your first success in the business?
My first break in Almac was when the old CTS division invested a huge amount in a new facility and I was given a crack at writing the procedures for the new operation. I had to think about how the operations worked, how the facility could function to its optimum, even how the people got to their workstations when they clocked in. This sparked my interest in operations and gave me an understanding of how it can drive success and competitive advantage in a company.
What business figure(s) do you most admire?
The people I most admire are local business figures, big and small, who’ve had to put up with so much for so long. I hope that now that things have turned around in Northern Ireland that these entrepreneurs can benefit from their long-term commitment. Northern Ireland wasn’t a stable place and this factor, combined with a small population made it difficult to start a business. Still, many local people still took risks and managed to make their business a success.
Have you ever made a big mistake in business and if so what did you learn from it?
I haven’t made any drastic mistakes but lets just say I’m constantly on the learning curve. In this job you learn your lessons and don’t forget them.
What is the most valuable piece of business advice you have ever been given?
That the most important thing is to think outside our own area and our comfort zones. The impact of China and India will be huge and we now have to compete on ideas which can only be generated by thinking this way. That’s why its always vital that we bring our own concepts to the table to give us that extra competitive advantage.
What one item would you take with you to a desert island and why?
Although definitely not an ‘item’, I’d take my wife Claire with my son Ben in her backpack. And if that wasn’t allowed, my trusted iPod.
What has been your biggest financial extravagance?
My biggest extravagance is my music collection which is currently enjoying a period of unstoppable exponential growth. At the moment it looks like I might have to move some into the attic.
Do you have a business mantra?
There are so many floating around that’s its hard to pick but the most important thing is to be yourself. People may be able to replicate systems and technologies but they can’t replicate personalities and relationships.
What items do you always carry with you?
My Blackberry has become vital. I’ve been totally sucked in and find it hard to believe we ever operated without one.
When will you retire?
Hopefully next year, but that isn’t looking likely. I think most probably whenever the situation presents itself.