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April 1, 2021

Lab Techs: Our Front-Line Workers That Keep Us Afloat

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Not all heroes wear capes. In our case, they wear lab coats! While COVID-19 has been the curveball of the century, our team of awesome lab technicians has been hitting home runs week after week making sure our client’s studies wrap up on time and that final reports are delivered by their expected date.

Often, the work lab technicians do on a daily basis is tedious. There cannot be room for mistakes, because in the realm of medical device packaging, making the wrong call on a pass or failure could mean putting a patient at risk. At PCL, we pride ourselves on being quality-focused and have always held our testing to a high standard. Because of that, we have hired only the best, most qualified candidates for our lab technician roles.

Since last year, we have transitioned a few of our lab technicians to other departments (yay for movin’ on up!) and have since then hired a handful of new lab technicians to join our team. Because of that, we decided it is a great time to introduce our detail-oriented teammates to the world!

With that, we introduce you to our team of awesome lab technicians. Continue reading to learn more about Alyssa, Carli, Josh, Michelle, Charlie, and Corey!

 

Alyssa Martin – Lab Tech II

I graduated from Grand Valley State University and received a B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Wildlife. I LOVE to go bird watching, whether it is hiking or just watching the bird feeders out my window (Ornithology was one of my favorite classes). Great Blue Herons are my favorite bird, and we love to go to Millennium Park. They have a bald eagle nest we check out every Spring!

Before I worked at PCL, I was a packaging sampler at Amway. Later, I moved onto the microbiology lab testing raw materials and finished goods for food. My favorite test method at PCL is seal strength testing. It’s one of our most common test methods!

One of my favorite things about working at PCL is the variety of work I get to do. I love that we have so many kinds of studies that come through the lab, it makes each work-day unique and keeps me on my toes.

If I had to give any advice to our clients, I’d say that the finer the details they can provide about their study, the more in tune we are and the more we can assist you with what you need for the said study. Communication is key on both ends!

When I’m not at work, I like to relax with my husband, our basset hound Walter, and three cats Barney, Fred, and Ginger. I also like to go shipping and hang out with Devon, one of our Packaging Engineers and one of my best friends. I also love watching anime and playing video games.

My favorite place to get lunch is Potbelly. They have a good veggie sub and mac and cheese!

Alyssa and her dog, Walter.

 

Carli Steinhauser – Lab Tech

I went to Roosevelt University for college and received a B.S. in Biology. One of the coolest experiences I’ve had was volunteering at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. I love the great outdoors and especially marine life.

My favorite test method to perform is seal strength testing, but one of my favorite kinds of studies is one of our newest service offerings, moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR). I enjoy the process and tedious nature of both of them.

My favorite thing about working at PCL is our fun workplace, not to mention my coworkers are awesome!

A recommendation I’d give clients is to send separate samples for destructive tests. For example, using different samples for dye leak and seal strength rather than using the same samples for both kinds of tests.

When I’m not at work I spend time with my 18-year-old cat, Tasha, and play board games. My current favorite board game is Trekking the National Parks. It plays into my love of board games but also my love for hiking! One of the coolest places that I’ve hiked is the East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania.

A photo of Carli hiking the Adirondack Mountains in New York.

 

Josh Sheeran – Lab Technician

I attended Grand Valley State University and graduated with a B.S. in Biomedical Science. Prior to working at PCL, I worked at Perrigo and was a QC lab technician for raw materials. I grew up enjoying loving math and science but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I’m happy that I found Packaging Compliance Labs!

The test I enjoy performing the most is burst testing. My favorite study would have to be 210 shippers of ISTA smalls…kidding! I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. I enjoy smaller ASTM D4169 transit studies the most. Much like everyone else, my favorite part of the job is my coworkers.

On my free time, I enjoy running, grabbing drinks with friends, playing video games, and playing soccer. During the week I will juggle and dribble the ball with myself, but I play in leagues and tournaments with my two younger brothers (one of them works at PCL!) and friends.

I’d have to say my favorite place for lunch is Cheesecake Factory. If I’m wanting to splurge, I’ll opt for the Grilled Rib-Eye Steak.

 

Michelle Kristalyn – Lab Technician

Like many of the other lab techs, I too graduated from Grand Valley State University. I received a B.S. in Health Science. Prior to working at PCL, I was a microbiology laboratory technician. Since I worked in a clinical setting before I came to PCL, I used a lot of the products that we test here which is how I got introduced to sterile packaging. I have always been passionate about health sciences and healthcare in general.

My favorite test method is bubble leak, but like Carli, I really enjoy MVTR studies. Really, any study that has a lot of variety is my favorites.

Some advice for clients is to label their shippers before sending their samples to PCL. This helps us know exactly what we’re working with once they land in our lab.

When I’m not at work I love spending time outside, playing with my dog Theo, cooking/baking, and doing art projects. I like to do traditional style art with graphite or ink on canvas!

The best lunch spot is a PCL favorite, which is Sapporo. My favorite menu item is Ugly Pop, which is another PCL favorite.

 

Michelle photographed with her dog, Theo.

 

Charlie Smith – Lab Technician

I have past experience working in a lab/transportation warehouse setting. In my previous role I was a quality technician for Intertek’s transportation technologies lab.

I’m newer at PCL, so one of my favorite test methods is still one that we used to perform at my last job, which is CAL TB 1633.  What is that you ask? It is the Federal standard for the flammability (open flame) of mattress sets. How it’s performed is using basically a large propane burner and position it on the top and sides of a mattress. It’s then burned for a set amount of time, then there are various pass/fail criteria for things like smoke opacity, total energy output, rate of heat release, etc.

One of my favorite tests is transit testing. In the event that there are failures, I enjoy diving in and doing transit root cause analysis.

My advice to clients would be to ask questions, even if you think they are low-level. Also, the more organized samples are when they are shipped to us, the quicker we can get the ball rolling on testing them.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy flying my drone, taking photos hanging out with my girlfriend, and playing disc golf.

A photo Charlie took of the sunset on Lake Michigan with his drone.

 

Corey Sheeran – Lab Technician

I received an Associates in Science from Grand Rapids Community College. Before PCL, I was a lab technician at a plasma center. I grew up wanting to give back to the community and help people in some way. I have also always found lab positions so interesting, so I’m happy to have found PCL!

My favorite test method is bubble leak, it’s a nice way to cool off when you’ve been moving around in the materials lab. The studies that I like the most are pallet studies with bottle inspections. I would have to say my favorite thing about working at PCL is the community and my co-workers.

I don’t necessarily have advice for our clients but just want our current and future clients to know that smaller businesses, like PCL, take extra time and care while performing client’s studies. Therefore, if you want the tests are done properly and the reports to be easy to comprehend and have all the correct data points, PCL is a great lab to consider if you haven’t already! (We swear we didn’t pay him to say that!)

On my free time, I enjoy playing soccer with my brother Josh, playing board games, and planning future vacations. Last, and definitely not least, my favorite place to get lunch is Taco Bell. The Queserito completely demolishes every other menu item!

 

Have questions about your study or want to learn more about the services we offer? Feel free to contact us today to have a conversation with one of our knowledgeable sales representatives.

 

Looking to join our team of lab technicians? Visit our Careers Page to learn more about our available job opportunities.

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