Justin Li's Engineering Career: Exploring New Horizons in Shanghai
Within the cosmopolitan metropolis that is Shanghai, China, Bristol Myers Squibb employee Justin Li has experienced both career growth and incredible job satisfaction since he first joined BMS 12 years ago. Among Justin’s many responsibilities as engineering director with Global Product Development and Supply (GPS) is the oversight of highly sophisticated equipment used in the manufacturing or processing of hepatitis B, hypertension and type 2 diabetes products, among others. Justin's interesting story highlights how an engineer with a background in automotive, consumer goods and operational management can successfully transfer his many skills to the transformational work found in GPS at Bristol Myers Squibb.
“There are, of course, many differences between the good manufacturing practices in these different industries, and the processes may be very different, but for me, the focus is on engineering and maintenance, so it feels very comfortable for me,” said Justin.
Continual Learning and Growth
Justin’s first role at BMS was as maintenance manager, which provided ample opportunity to get acquainted with the GPS machinery and processes, then learning and growing to a production manager role before ascending to director of engineering, where he continues to pay it forward.
“Many of the people who report to me now come from many different industries as well,” he said. “We’re focused on the advanced technology, where the basics – the mechanical and electronic automation – can be somewhat similar, or especially learnable, across multiple industries.”
And that learning and development Justin mentioned are widely available in multiple mediums, offering the same amount of growth opportunities for every level of BMS employment in China.
“BMS provides a multi-dimensional offering of online, offline, customized and standard courses,” Justin continued. “They focus on everything from corporate hierarchy and talent training to supervisory and management skills training. I had the privilege of attending the first Advanced Leadership Program. Eighteen months together with 12 colleagues and we traveled to six BMS sites globally. It was a valuable learning journey with great memories.”
With Ambition Comes Support
When one hears Justin relate the BMS opportunities afforded and the ones he took advantage of, it becomes crystal clear how his career projection took shape. Forever a lifelong learner, he continues to progress. “BMS has supported me as I recently completed my MBA program,” he said. “And I’m currently studying for a master’s degree in law. And for everyone that reports to me, I encourage them to be lifelong learners as well. Individual growth means team growth. Team growth strengthens the company.”
Strengthening the company is imperative for GPS since certain drug manufacturing can be a labor-intensive process. The BMS Shanghai manufacturing facilities work around the clock in multiple shifts to meet demand, and Justin’s team is there to manage both the strategy and the technology needed to keep the process flowing smoothly. And in Justin’s case, it’s not just a matter of the day to day but being able to look into the future.
“We need to understand what we’ll be needing to do in the next 10 years,” he said. “My team is involved in manufacturing and engineering, but we’re working with everyone – marketing, sales, people upstream and downstream – to intimately know the whole supply chain, the whole process, and come armed with the knowledge and input to make the right decision – whether long-term or short-term.”
Inspiring Teammates with His Passion
Having developed the skills to make those decisions and be involved in ongoing corporate strategy highlights Justin’s passion for his work at BMS and serves as an inspiration to his teammates. “The opportunity to work in this industry, to help people overcome disease and contribute to the overall health of mankind, was and is my dream.”
He expresses the same passion regarding his latest learning adventure – his law degree. An engineer getting a law degree emphasizes the big picture outlook that got Justin to where he is today. “The law is about regulation, and we need to know and understand all the rules to be compliant; to do the right thing at the right time,” he said, adding, “It also helps with corporate governance and cooperating with different departments and partners outside of BMS.”
When speaking of his coworkers, Justin said in recent years many have come from outside of Shanghai. “The team come from a variety of education backgrounds, different cultures and even different languages,” he said. “They bring a wonderful diversity to the workplace. It makes BMS that much stronger, and making the workplace inclusive for all is very important to us.”
That diversity is also apparent in metropolitan Shanghai as one of the world’s major centers for finance, business, research, science and technology. The largest port city in the world also has the largest metro network of any city. “A lot of people come together and work together in Shanghai,” added Justin. “The many different cultures make it a vibrant and inspiring place to do the transformational work that we do at BMS.”
If you’re as inspired as we are by Justin's story, perhaps a career at BMS Shanghai, China awaits you. Look through the available positions and imagine your skill sets put to use in the meaningful and interesting work done in Global Product Development and Supply. Learn more here about open positions in China and sign up for our Talent Network to stay abreast of openings that fit your skill sets.
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