When Michael Phillips started his new career as the senior manufacturing supervisor at GenMark Diagnostics in January, he had no idea how important his work would soon become.
The company, based in Carlsbad, California, manufactures test kits for many communicable diseases and bacteria. Their ePlex® system test for COVID-19 produces results within two hours.
“When I started this job in January, I had no idea this pandemic was coming,” said Phillips. “We were talking about respiratory and other types of panels we were going to test for and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, comes COVID-19. We were maybe at 10-to-15,000 kits a month; now we’re up to more than 100,000 kits a month.”
According to Phillips, the GenMark test uses a nose or mouth swab to detect “certain cursors like DNA.” The company received an Emergency Use Authorization by the Food Drug Administration for the test to be used in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our product is so critical and the quality level is so high; GenMark is on a path to being a key player in the whole panel test market,” Phillips said. “To be given this sort of opportunity in the midst of this unfortunate pandemic, it really is a sense of pride to be a part of something that is so important to our livelihoods across the world.”
Phillips began his career in medical device manufacturing in 1979. His tenure in the industry, as well as his time as a U.S. Marine, has prepared him for the work he’s doing today.
“You have to be cool under fire,” he said. “I am so happy that the 36 years I’ve put into manufacturing are coming full circle with the energy and knowledge I have, all of that being able to fit with this particular moment in our history.”
Phillips received his associate, bachelor’s and MBA from CSU, as well as a master’s degree in organizational leadership from CSU’s sister institution, Waldorf University.
“When I received my bachelor’s degree, it really enhanced what I knew about manufacturing. It all ties into getting the opportunity I’m in right now,” he said.
When asked what advice he has for anyone on the fence about beginning a degree program with CSU or Waldorf, Phillips says, “Do it ASAP.”
“There’s really no ‘on the fence’ at all, as far as I’m concerned. If you’re serious about moving forward in your career and you want a solid choice in your education, CSU and Waldorf are great choices,” he said. “I’m pleased as punch to be a part of the alumni community.”