By Jennifer Erb
When Jeff came to WVU, he planned on studying Mechanical Engineering, but chose Industrial Engineering instead. “I didn’t know IE existed,” Jeff said, “But I found it to be a better fit for what I wanted to do.”
Jeff’s first semester in college went well, but he struggled in his second semester. From that moment on, he developed a routine of studying at the library. “I looked on college as a time to start developing work habits,” he says.
Jeff had very little money for college. A co-op with Burroughs-Welcome helped a lot with his finances. This was one of the first co-ops in our college. When he graduated, Jeff returned to Burroughs – Welcome. That was the start of a 25+ year career in the pharmaceutical industry.
Jeff has worked for seven pharmaceutical companies. During this career, the pharmaceutical industry went through a series of mergers and acquisitions and most of the job changes Jeff made were triggered by changes in ownership.
Jeff always wanted to be a plant manager. He feels that you have to know the manufacturing process to understand how the business operates.
While at TEVA, Jeff had extended assignments overseas. He spent a year in Croatia and 1.5 years in Poland. Jeff wasn’t married at the time so accepting these overseas assignments was easier for him than it would be for others.
Jeff believes any senior executive’s success depends on the people she/he guides. He spends a lot of time on the manufacturing floor. He tries to give a direct answer to every question asked of him: Yes/No (and Why) or I don’t know but I’ll get back to you. Jeff believes its ok to say you don’t know, but you have to follow up with an answer.
Jeff is especially proud of helping employees in his current operations succeed at the testing they needed to pass to qualify for jobs. This has involved some very basic skills such as reading level and computer literacy. It also shows his concern for his employees.
Jeff has never had doubts about his careers. “I have a goal to make things better every day. I’m always asking the question: Why do we do that?”