Premier Association Sponsor: PDA
April 25 – 27, 2023
Javits Center, NYC

Attendee Spotlight: Norman Goldschmidt, President, Genesis AEC | April, 2021

Genesis AEC helps life sciences organizations conceive, build, and maintain compliant, efficient, and inspiring facilities and processes. They complement the scientific expertise of their clients with consulting, architectural, engineering, commissioning, validation, and construction management services. As President, Norman Goldschmidt leads a team of more than 300 talented professionals who serve clients coast-to-coast from their offices in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and California.

Goldschmidt joined Genesis AEC after 20 years with Bristol-Myers Squibb in numerous capacities from Mechanical Engineer to Executive Director of Global Engineering. He’s dedicated his 30+ year career to pushing the development of scientific principles for the design and operation of the facilities needed to bring therapies to market. That includes presenting to regulatory agencies, publishing, writing design guides, serving as a US expert for ISO and as an adjunct professor of Pharmaceutical Engineering at NJIT, and delivering four patents for innovations in HVAC and pharmaceutical processing.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way Genesis thinks about the customer experience?

Commitment has always fueled the way we think about our clients’ needs, but the pandemic has heightened our appreciation of the importance of collaboration and clear communication. The hallmark of our team has been the way we see ourselves as an extension of our clients. The limited face-to-face interaction has led us to “up our game” on communication. Email isn’t the answer, so we have deployed a host of collaboration tools to keep our teams coordinated and integrated.

Coming out of the pandemic has presented another challenge, as we’ve seen an accelerated pace of innovation in the life sciences industry that has driven us to find new ways to help our customers maximize space, improve productivity, and expedite time-to-market. In that way, it’s further accentuated our commitment and our sense of purpose.

What makes Genesis a unique company?

We are dedicated – committed actually – to making the world a better place by helping life science organizations and the patients they serve…that sets us apart. But our 95% repeat business and client feedback tell a more complete story. Our clients have told us that they love how seamlessly Genesis morphs into their culture. They tell us that they admire our integrity and adaptability, and that we’re different from our competitors because we take time to listen. They tell us that our willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ for them shows in the quality of our processes and protocols. In short, I think what makes us unique is that we really care about the work we do, and our clients can see that every step of the way.

What are the top three trends you see leading the transformation of the industry this year?

The metaphor of the “perfect storm” is overused, but it fits pretty well here. We are seeing the confluence of several trends all hitting their peaks at similar times. My experience is that the big trends are like tidal waves, everyone notices them when they are overwhelming, but if you watch closely, you can see them when they start, long before they have a huge impact.

The explosion of ATMPs – Cell and Gene Therapies – on the market is one of the big trends that I see as continuing to impact the industry in 2021. We’ve been working on these products with the NIH and others for over a decade, supporting dozens of therapies and processes. We see this as an area that will continue to evolve from changing treatment modalities to exciting new equipment options and developing regulatory understanding. These products are forcing us to reimagine biotech.

The second big trend for 2021 is the rapid acceptance of advanced processing; from robotics to isolators and single use processing to fully automated cell processors, a wave of new processing equipment is washing through the industry and displacing the last generation of equipment. Along with this new equipment comes a very different set of facility and utility requirements that is allowing us to, again, reimagine what a biotech or pharmaceutical facility is.

The final trend is in technologies like CRSPR that are allowing the rapid gene editing and prototyping of new therapies. The ease of gene editing and the growth of ATMP infrastructure has lowered the bar to entry and is allowing almost anyone with a great idea to create a biotech startup with much less capital than was needed in the past.

As INTERPHEX launches RECONNEX 365 and pushes out year-round content for the industry, what benefits do you see this having for your organization and employees?

2020 taught us to value virtual content and connections more than ever before. Using the RECONNEX 365 platform gives us another route to connect with our partners – customers, colleagues, strategic alliances, and suppliers – and these connections will only become stronger when we meet face-to-face at INTERPHEX 2021.

Given your experience, what is one piece of advice for those who are interested in growing their careers within the pharmaceutical industry?

Just one thing? Then I’d say, let your curiosity lead you. Learn whatever you can from those around you, seek out understanding of the other facets of what you do. Whenever you get an opportunity to do something new, no matter how off-beat or outside your comfort zone it is, take it! There’s no defined path for anyone’s career, but the skillset you build will be directly related to your curiosity about the things all around you and your willingness to take a chance on something new.

What are you looking forward to most at INTERPHEX 2021?

I’m looking forward to INTERPHEX’s ability to capture the pace and pulse of the industry. Last year I had the pleasure of joining as a speaker for the “Advancements in Cell and Gene Therapy” session and enjoyed interacting with my fellow panelists and thought leaders including Amos Thai, PhD, Principal Scientist at Janssen Research & Development; Audrey Greenberg, Co-Founder and Executive Managing Director of The Discovery Labs; and Diane Blumenthal, Head of Technical Operations of Spark Therapeutics, Inc. Being at the forefront of the discussions that lead to better patient outcomes is priceless and I’ve found that INTERPHEX spurs the dialogue necessary to make those outcomes possible.

Learn more about Genesis AEC