Searching for More: A Journey to the Leading-Edge of Medical Devices & COVID Testing

Eric Campbell, MSEM ’16, accelerated his career through the MSEM program, becoming well-prepared to play a key role in COVID-19 test production and gaining success in the medical devices industry.

Eric Campbell, MSEM ’16, was looking to get more out of his career when he joined the MS in Engineering Management program. At the time, Eric was responsible for managing a small group of engineers – training them on the ins and outs of the products his company built. 

“I thought I was going to be an engineer for my entire life. About halfway through my career, I wanted to get into management, but I didn’t know how to do it,” said Eric. “That’s where the MSEM program was presented to me as an opportunity to grow my career. I was doing okay in low-level management, but I knew that there was something else out there.”

Since starting the program, Eric has earned three promotions – leading him to become the Director of Manufacturing Engineering at Hologic, a medical technology company that aims to improve women’s health. 

For the industry veteran of over two decades, Eric’s experience and educational foundation have positioned him to address emerging needs in the medical devices field. 

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Hologic received emergency FDA approval for the use of their medical device, the Panther Fusion System (SARS-CoV-2 Assay), in the identification of the virus that causes COVID-19. According to FDA documents, the device tests samples collected through the nose and uses a key component that Eric’s company produces to assist in determining if a patient test is positive or not.

“It makes me proud to know that we’re really fighting a pandemic here that everyone knows about and the chances of getting a test with our devices are pretty high,” said Eric. “I’m thrilled to be able to support that.”

The heightened need for COVID testing comes on the heels of new hotspots emerging across the nation. According to data from the COVID tracking project, the United States administered more than 800,000 daily tests in mid-July. This marks a roughly 60 percent increase in daily testing volume from the same time in June.

In his role, Eric’s responsibilities include developing workflows to bring in new productions from cross-functional partners in research and development, increasing operational efficiencies and managing the procurement team in sourcing materials.

With a wide array of responsibilities comes a need for strong leadership – an area Eric has been well-prepared for. “The Learning to Lead courses and the Humanistic Perspectives on Leadership taught you how to navigate really difficult situations and to be able to come to a compromise with a person, group, or even technical project that benefits both of those perspectives,” said Eric.

He added, “Every day in my world, we’re asked to do all sorts of things. You find yourself having really good discussions on how we can work around different challenges. To be able to lead not only the people we manage, but also the people who we work with – our colleagues, managers, other leaders – teaches you how to navigate all these different situations.”

Life is busy in the medical devices field. Whether it’s handling the day-to-day needs or thinking about the future of the industry, Eric has been building a culture of success along the way. In his progressively bigger roles and areas of responsibility, Eric champions the success of his teammates. He said, “I want people to think of me as somebody they want to work for or work with. It’s that simple. When you provide that type of environment for people, they’re going to want to work hard and produce good results.”

As the years pass since Eric completed the MSEM program, his ascent continues. That journey has been long in the making, but it started with one motivation: “It’s all about my family. I went into the program because of my wife and kids. I wanted to provide something more and I wanted them to know the same opportunities exist for them,” said Eric.

Eric now works with many in the same position he was in before starting the MSEM program. With the perspective of hindsight, his message to them is equally as motivational as it is to his children: Anything is possible.

“My kids can achieve so much more than I did. There’s no limitation for my kids in life. If they want to be the President of the United States, rocket scientist, or just dig the world’s biggest ditch in the desert – go for it. Be exceptional. Don’t just be somebody who’s part of the crowd,” said Eric.