People at Sartorius: Meet Thomas Kivela
The first year as a Single-Use-Technology Expert
Thomas Kivela wished for more freedom in decision-making processes and a culture of outside-the-box thinking, when he joined Sartorius in early 2020. What he found were both expected and unexpected new ways of working.
This article is posted on Sartorius Blog
After working for large biotech companies supporting labs, process development projects or manufacturing campaigns for 18 years, Thomas Kivela decided it was time for something new. "At that time, I was ready for a change of pace", he explains. So he switched sides and started off as Single-Use-Technology Expert at Sartorius. "I wanted to develop further professionally, tap into new fields of knowledge and collaborate on constantly new challenges", he recalls.
During his time at biotech companies, he gained first-hand experience with stainless steel systems and flexible technologies in biopharmaceutical production. He was fascinated by the latter so the job at Sartorius was a perfect opportunity to further explore the possibilities of easy to use devices for bioprocessing.
Getting up to speed while working from home
In the first weeks on the job, Thomas visited sites and biotech customers. In order to assist them in implementing and harmonizing flexible manufacturing solutions technologies, he needed to see where and how they do things. "I was very happy my manager encouraged me in going where I needed to go and seeing who I had to see in order to get the job done. This freedom and support are exactly what I had been looking for and that had drawn me to the company."
When the pandemic struck, like many other colleagues and customers around the globe, Thomas started working from home, meeting customers on camera instead of on-site. "Getting up to speed was tough. Meetings and trainings got cancelled. What surprised me though, was how helpful everyone at Sartorius is. If I don’t know an answer, I can just call someone who may know it, or who gives me another name. Thanks to the engaging culture, everyone is well-connected and information can be found easily."
Making a difference at the customer's production site
Thomas’ colleagues involved him in ongoing projects from the very beginning. In one of his first projects at Sartorius, he helped a customer to increase the robustness of their complex biopharma manufacturing process. "The operators on-site had difficulties with the handling of the mixing bags they were using then. We introduced another mixing bag series with a more robust film, which would gave the operators more confidence working with the material." Several sizes — from 50 liters up to 2,000 liter bags — were identified for the phased conversion. However, when the customer’s management recognized the advantages, they requested to speed up the implementation process. "That experience motivated me even more", Thomas says.
He sums up his first year at Sartorius like this: "From day one I was given the chance to make a contribution with my everyday work. Within my first year, I have actively managed multiple projects. Everyone at Sartorius follows a very hands-on approach to get things done. That’s a very satisfying feeling — it doesn't get any better than that."