Saturday, May 30, 2009

A post from Aaron

The project team in front of the equipment

Documentation- thousands of pages!

Jackie and I moved to Germany to experience life in here and to travel Europe, but we also came because of my career. I have been working at Atec for one year now and last week came a milestone with a project I started last June. We completed a successful Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) for one of the projects I manage.
Atec manufactures equipment for pharmaceutical companies all over the world. Specifically, we build machines used to wash and sterilize stoppers for medicine bottles. Constructing these machines requires a team that includes engineers, computer programmers, documentation specialists, architects, welders, pipe fitters and electricians- and that is just from Atec! For the FAT last week, seven people from the United States came to inspect the equipment before shipment to Ohio.
My role in this is as project manager. It is my job to make sure the equipment we build meets the specifications of the customer. Every Tuesday for the last year, I have had telephone conferences with the customers in California and Ohio to monitor the progress of the project. Also, at Atec I coordinate the work of all specialties needed to make the machines. In reality, my job includes everything from writing documents to turning wrenches. I haven't had to do any welding yet!
You may wonder how a microbiologist at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals ended up in a job like this. Three years ago I came to Atec as a Pfizer employee to perform the same type of acceptance testing that was completed last week. My experience having been the customer brings a unique perspective to the service Atec provides.
The Factory Acceptance Testing last week included twelve consecutive days of working long hours, but was a success! The customer left happy and the machines will be delivered to Ohio soon. I am exhausted and relieved to have the past two weeks behind me.