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October/November 2011

Diversity/Careers October/November 2011 Issue




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Diversity In Action

Life Technologies "looks through a diverse lens"

The company makes systems, consumables and services that help researchers accelerate scientific exploration to benefit people's quality of life


For an IT techie, Life Technologies is "an innovative company with interesting opportunities," says Joe Beery, SVP and CIO. "It's very easy to have a personal connection to the company: the work we're doing is very meaningful in terms of tangible benefits to improving life."

As a global biotech tools company, Life Technologies designs and produces systems, consumables and services that help researchers accelerate scientific exploration. Life Technologies customers do their work across the biological spectrum to advance personalized medicine, regenerative science, molecular diagnostics, agricultural and environmental research and 21st century forensics.

Life Technologies has work for IT pros in three high-level categories. There are jobs for people that run infrastructure, like systems analysts, managers and developers. There are jobs that align the company with the customer, like business analysis; for those jobs the company looks for people with domain experience in a particular application like finance or ops. The final category is IT pros who execute critical new projects.

"We're still a growing company and we're deploying new opportunities," Beery explains. "There's a specific group that does nothing but large-scale deployments: higher-end project managers, project leaders, program managers. We employ all kinds of IT folks who code to system and are project management and functional professionals."

In the next year the company will need a combination of techies in the three categories, Beery says. "In fact, a good solid IT pro could be in all three categories. If there's one area that will get more emphasis it would be large projects. It's growing the business and growing the capability within IT."

Life Technologies deploys large-scale programs globally. This year the company launched a major project system in Japan, so all Japanese customers were switched to a new ERP portfolio. In other parts of the world the company is working on projects like warehouse bar coding and master data management.

"We look at everything through a diverse lens. We're a large global company, and multi-language skills are important to us," Beery says. One of his senior directors speaks fluent Mandarin and is currently on a regional assignment, living in Singapore and spending time in Japan and Shanghai. "We have people going the other way, too," says Beery. "We had someone in from our Scotland office for an assignment here." Life Technologies has "a very well-engineered talent acquisition and talent management capability" to help the IT group find staff.

The company calls its big IT pods "IT centers of excellence." The largest center is at Carlsbad, CA HQ, where the IT leadership team partners with local universities and others.

The IT group casts a wide net for diverse talent, working with the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition (www.stemedcoalition.org), NSBE, SWE and SHPE.

Beery himself is half Hispanic. The involvement with SHPE is particularly important to him because he was born in Alamosa, CO and grew up in Albuquerque, NM, "a very Hispanic environment.

"We work to maintain and create an environment where we think globally, and our diversity and inclusion training is a global program," he says.

The formal inclusion training program is part of Life Technologies' corporate goals. Employees learn about differences in the workplace; managers are committed to inclusion. This year Beery's team held a global IT leadership meeting where "We had seventy-six leaders from IT go through the training together," he says.

Beery is executive sponsor of SHPE for the company, which also works with the National Black MBA Association and WIN (Women's Influence Network) International.

The company has a mentoring program, the Knowledge Network, which "lets people grow, learn and see new things to create an opportunity for problem solving and getting career advice," Beery says. Senior leaders volunteer as mentors.

Life Technologies encourages its people to volunteer through its annual global volunteer day, coordinated at a local level. Technical employees participate in math and science programs like FIRST Robotics at local schools. Others take speaking engagements or give guided tours through facilities and arrange hands-on activities.

The company has a long list of opportunities for work-life balance, Beery says. There's adoption assistance, backup care, dependent care, a gym fitness center and a healthy living program to encourage an active lifestyle. There's also the "cardio conference room:" "It's a conference room except no chairs," Beery says. "Instead of a conference table they have treadmills.

"What we do at Life Technologies is a meaningful endeavor. It's fulfilling to have a great career and also see the benefits that your company has on life and on people's quality of life.

"It's inspiring," says Beery.

D/C




www.lifetech.com

Headquarters: Carlsbad, CA
Employees: 11,000
Revenues: $3.6 billion in 2010
Business: Global biotechnology tools

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