ISPE New Jersey Chapter History

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By Bruce Eckman

The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering ( ISPE) was founded in 1980 by a group of individuals, a number of whom were from New Jersey. One of the Charter Members, Jim O'Brien is still active in the Society and New Jersey Chapter today. During the formative period, participation in ISPE required travel to locations often remote from the heart of the pharmaceutical industry here in New Jersey.

As 1986 arrived, a member from Merck, John Stefanowicz recognized that ISPE meetings should be more accessible to members near their places of business. Thus the concept of ISPE Chapters was born. New Jersey members created the first ISPE Chapter in 1986 with John as the first president. We had only about 25 Chapter Members that first year. Our total membership has steadily grown over the ensuing 20 years until we now number nearly 2000 Chapter members including 72 student members.

The Chapter's first meetings occurred at the Tower Steak House on Route 22 in Mountainside, New Jersey. The first Chapter meeting took place on September 23,1986. Early steering committee/board members included Mike Sisti, Wayne Sadowski, John Lee and Jean O'Connor in addition to John Stefanowicz. Others who were involved included Elliott Goldberg and Karen McCullough. This author joined the Chapter at the end of the first year of existence (spring 1987).

In January of 1987, we had our most famous guest lecturer, Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra who autographed pictures, answered questions and put in a good word for his son's flooring business. Another meeting that year featured 20 of us having polite dinner conversation as the scheduled speaker did not appear.

Our Chapter, as the first, is proud of the many "firsts" we count among our accomplishments. Based on previous successful table-top shows and seminar programs held by ISPE in New Jersey, the Chapter initiated an annual Vendors Night in 1989 with thirteen tables in the basement of the Tower Steakhouse. Our membership had grown to almost 400 at this point. A few years later, on February 24,1992, Bob Lechich and Joe Manfredi kicked off ISPE's Student Chapter program with the original Student Chapter at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.

Chapter Meetings

The New Jersey Chapter follows a tradition of producing 8-10 local meetings each year. The program year starts in September and now goes through our large Chapter Day in mid-June. Fortunately most of our members are situated within 100 miles of our meeting spot, eliminating the need for extensive travel or overnight stays.

One of our longstanding primary goals has been to serve all of our membership with interesting and timely topics. We cover such diverse topics as validation techniques, facility design, management methods, and clinical supplies, right on through to lighter topics such as Improving Your Memory.

One of our longstanding primary goals has been to serve all of our membership with interesting and timely topics. We cover such diverse topics as validation techniques, facility design, management methods, and clinical supplies, right on through to lighter topics such as Improving Your Memory. The New Jersey Chapter has always been proud to offer guided tours of various types of pharmaceutical facilities in the Metropolitan Area. We have toured locations at Bristol Myers Squibb ( Hopewell and New Brunswick), Merck ( Rahway), Schering Plough (Union and Kenilworth), Hoffman La Roche (Nutley/Clifton), Becton-Dickinson ( Franklin Lakes), Wyeth (South Brunswick and Pearl River, NY), Novartis (East Hanover and Summit), Catalent ( Somerset) and Johnson & Johnson ( Raritan).

We have also observed the operations of such equipment manufacturing companies as Getinge, Cozzoli, Glatt Air Techniques, B Braun Biotech (now Sartorius), US Filter, and A C Compact Press.

Several unique tours over the years include the Waksman Institute on the campus of Rutgers University, and the Pepsi bottling Plant in Piscataway which we toured as part of our first Chapter Day. Visits to several microbreweries along with wine-tasting and holiday parties served to create a well rounded and popular program structure over the years.

Long Term Commitments

We have almost thirty members of our Chapter who predate the Chapter formation (September 1986). In addition to Jim mentioned previously, we have Jim Agalloco, and Vic DiChiara who both joined the organization in 1980. Don Sutaria and past president Joe Manfredi both joined in 1981 and are still active.

Our Leadership  

The New Jersey Chapter, originally named the North Jersey Chapter, has had a total of twenty-four Chapter Presidents. Two have gone on to become Chairman of the International Society and many more have taken on leadership roles in the Society.

The Chapter Presidents with their years of service follow:

Name

Year

Company

Jim Breen

2009-2010

Johnson & Johnson

Dragutin Stoicovici

2008-2009

Quality21

John Postiglione

2007-2008

Spirax Ultra Pure

James Livolsi

2006-2007

Wyeth

Janit Buccella

2005-2006

Omnival

Bob Ranard

2004-2005

TCPI

Jerry Guillorn

2003-2004

Skanska USA

Jenny Wong

2002-2003

Astra Zeneca

Emad Youssef

2001-2002

PS & S

Chris Martinson

2000-2001

Whiting Turner

Dominick Smith

1999-2000

Regeneron

Tom Creaven

1998-1999

Schering Plough

Bruce Eckman

1997-1998

Torcon

Jim O'Brien

1996-1997

Merck

Joe Manfredi

1995-1996

GMP Systems

Mark Milano

1994-1995

Lockwood Greene

Bob Lechich

1993-1994

Hoffmann-LaRoche

Ed Blejwas

1992-1993

Blejwas Associates

Bruce Eckman

1991-1992

Sverdrup

Dick Rooney

1990-1991

Getinge

Elliott Goldberg

1989-1990

Jacobs Engineering

Ernie Rottman

1988-1989

Squibb

Mike Sisti

1987-1988

Syska & Hennessey

John Stefanowicz

1986-1987

Merck