January 12, 2023

From Lab Tech to Director of Operations in 5 Years

Most young professionals have a rough idea of where and how they want to launch a rewarding career. Accounting and finance majors seek the investment and banking worlds, and marketing grads seek agencies or companies to sharpen their skills. Tech school grads connect with industries for their special skill sets: automotive, aeronautics, nursing, hospitality, and the like.

Meet Ian Brennan, a Grand Valley State University biology major who started as a Lab Technician five years ago and is now on the leadership fast track as Director of Operations.

Ian is an example of an energetic lab tech who found a company that actively promotes developing career paths for their employees. “Something was different at PCL; I saw an opportunity here,” he says.

Below are the aspects that Ian would want newly graduated biomedical science majors to understand, or who graduated with a similar degree in the life sciences looking for meaningful work, about what it’s like to work at PCL.


The Work You Do Makes an Impact

IB: I was one of 1,400 employees at my previous job. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle when you work for a large corporation, you sometimes feel like a number. When I was hired at PCL, I was the 10th employee. Because our team is smaller, each person here plays a major impact on our company’s success and growth.

It’s great to be able to think back on projects that I was leading years ago and can see how the outcomes of those activities affected future processes.


Room for Growth  

IB: For someone who is recently graduated, or someone looking for exciting and new work, I would tell them about the growth opportunities we have at PCL; especially if they want a place to work in the long term.

After working at PCL for about two years, I was promoted to Operations Supervisor because of regular discussions with my supervisor during my quarterly reviews. PCL utilizes Professional Development Plans (PDP’s) to help our team grow, this way we are able to grow in the ways that we want to and PCL helps support us in that effort.

It’s surprising how quickly people start to move around in the company. We have grown from a few quality technicians to a whole department, and are growing our engineering team, as well. There is a spider web of possibilities. It’s not just one set path.


Always A Challenge

Some people graduating from college might like the pursuit of a challenge. One of the many positive aspects of working at PCL is that there is always something new to tackle, which is constant with a rapidly growing company. There are many opportunities to continue learning and challenging yourself here.


I’m always happy to share my story about the path I took. It may not be the path you want, but it’s helpful to learn how an entry-level role at PCL can navigate you toward leading a department. This is done by having leadership that understands the importance of building and nurturing their team, providing them with the training and tools to learn that ultimately lead to their end goal.

Interested in seeing which positions are currently available?