Meet Lisa, Qualification Engineer at Roche

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Lisa Fitterling studied biotechnology at the University of Mannheim and joined Roche in 2012.

What is your job title?

I am a quality management and compliance advisor in production engineering, at the department for quality control pharma. I’m currently working on a project that aims to establish a new filling plant in Mannheim.

Such a large-scale project surely requires many engineers. Which qualifications are necessary for an aspiring engineer at Roche?

It’s hard to answer that question in general, as there are so many different application areas for engineers. For my position in quality management, a degree in pharmaceutical or process engineering, chemical technology or biotechnology is a prerequisite. Additionally, knowledge of the GMP regulations that apply in the pharmaceutical industry is crucial.  Experience with the assessment of production plants, validation and processes is also helpful.

So gaining experience on these specific topics is required in addition to an engineering degree?

In a GMP-regulated environment such as pharma, quality requirements are a must. Depending on the position though, it’s possible to acquire the knowledge directly on the job, during the training phase. Some of my colleagues in industrial engineering used to work in plant construction, to give you an example.

Which project has been your most interesting at Roche?

Actually it is the ongoing project. What makes it so interesting is the flexibility that the plant will require. It should offer the possibility to fill different pharmaceuticals in their final formulation, either liquid or lyophilized.  As a team, we have to navigate these challenges. Our responsibility as quality managers is to ensure that qualification and validation processes run according to regulations. The final product needs to pass government review before it can be sold on the market and prescribed to the patient.

Have you gained experience in various areas? How long have you worked for Roche?

It all started in November 2011 with an internship in Penzberg. Then I wrote my master’s thesis at the department for fermentation, where the medical compounds are produced. In July 2012, after completing my degree, I officially joined Roche as assistant to works manager in purification in Penzberg. One of my tasks there was the capacity expansion of the production plant – a very interesting project. I performed a feasibility analysis and a production schedule that was planned down to the hour, to pave the way for the building alterations. Currently, I work in Mannheim on the filling plant. Basically, I got to work with every aspect of production, from compound manufacturing to the final product.

Why did you choose Roche as an employer?

Roche has always been my top choice of employer. I grew up in Mannheim, so I was familiar with the company from the start. During my university studies, I got the chance to get to know Roche at various company events. Additionally, a friend of mine was completing her BA studies at Roche, and through her I also gained some insight into the company. Later, when I started my internship in Penzberg, I felt at home right away. I loved the work environment and made many friends. It became clear to me that I would like to stay at Roche, so I applied. Both my friend and I are still working at Roche today and we are absolutely satisfied.

What appeals to you most about your job?

The variety of challenges. On every project, there are so many different aspects to be considered. It makes me proud and happy to solve these complex puzzles.

What is special about working at Roche?

Roche develops pharmaceuticals that enable patients to live longer and healthier lives. This is my daily motivation to give my best on the job.

Roche is also a modern company that keeps up with the times and is ready to invest a lot into its divisions and employees. There are many opportunities for training and continuing education. It’s also possible to shadow colleagues at other departments to gain insight into their work tasks. You can learn a lot from this. Since it’s a global company, I have the option to go abroad and still remain with the same employer, which is an amazing benefit.
I like that Roche offers all its employees the opportunity to bring forth their own ideas. Recently, I have signed up for a change event initiative where employees can actively participate in the development of the company site.

What about work-life balance?

I have a solid work-life balance. My supervisors encourage me to take time for my personal life. At Roche, we have a company gym and various company sports groups, which is great for getting some leisure time. I love that we have so many events on campus throughout the year, for example the Oktoberfest or the cozy Christmas market.

Do you feel that you have freedom for autonomous actions in your work?

Within regulations, I can work independently and autonomously.

What is the team spirit like at Roche?

I have felt at home in every team I’ve been in at Roche. I always get the feeling that everyone is working together to reach the same goals.

What do you do in your free time as a balance to your job?

I enjoy traveling and getting to know different cultures and countries. This is the most relaxing thing to me. In my spare time, I like to bike, swim, and do TRX and yoga.

In closing – describe Roche in three words.

Variety, innovation and security.

You would like to learn more about what engineers do at Roche? Please visit the website fascination technology for more information.

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