MEET THE TEAM - Michael Duffy

Meet the Team – Michael Duffy, SL Controls Quality and Validation Engineer

What do you do at SL Controls?

I am a Quality and Validation Engineer working on projects for large multinational pharmaceutical companies. My role involves reviewing quality documentation for quality systems and documentation for the validation of facilities, utilities, and equipment. The documents I review include user requirements, design specifications, performance qualifications, etc.

Describe your job without using the words engineer or engineering.

I receive documents from the client I am working for, and I review them for completeness and to ensure they meet quality requirements. I also ensure the documentation is compatible with ISO standards and FDA guidelines to help keep the company in complete compliance with regulations.

What made you want to build your career in engineering?

I didn’t set out to go into quality and validation. Being a validation engineer is not something I chose, but it is something I have become. I started in mechanical engineering before moving to precision engineering and design. I then got an opportunity in validation, and I continued with this area of engineering when I joined SL Controls.

As for engineering, I knew I wanted to use creative skills and my ability to think outside the box. I have always been interested in how things operate and how things are made, and I have always been hands-on. This was even from a young age when I played with Lego, Meccano, and similar toys. I was interested in getting to know machines, equipment, processes, and how they all work.

With validation, it’s as if you are taking things apart in your mind in order to validate them. When I review documentation, I look at the piece of equipment and I take it apart in small sections, section at a time, to validate it. It’s almost like reverse engineering.

What is it about engineering that gives you the most satisfaction or that you are proudest of?

Definitely the creative part and the need to think outside the box. Working as part of a team is rewarding, too, and working with different departments with everyone aiming towards the same goal. But it is the creativity that gives me the most satisfaction.

Also, I like the fact that every day is about learning, and every day is different. I am constantly learning new skills.

What was your first day working at SL Controls like?

That was 3.5 years ago, before the pandemic, so my induction was in the Sligo offices. Within two days, though, I was out in the field, which was great.

With SL Controls, getting settled into the new job was very easy. We had everything laid out in front of us, and everything was well explained. I also got a feeling of the team culture straight away, and I quickly got to meet people from different areas and different sites.

I joined with other people at the same time, so Keith [Keith Moran, SL Controls CEO) came in and did a presentation too. That also made you feel you were part of the family.

Is there anything about SL Controls that makes it stand out from working at other companies?

I like the way they really look after their people. Their number one priority is their staff and making sure everybody is happy. You really are not just a number here at SL Controls. You are always treated as a person. Also, nobody is too big to answer a question or help. Compared to other companies, there is also more of a family feel to working here at SL Controls.

What advice would you give to people interested in joining SL Controls?

My advice would be to take it with both hands and don’t be afraid to ask questions. What you will find is that any concerns you have, most things are achievable, and help is available.

There are also plenty of routes to progress your career, and the company looks after you with advice, training, etc. So, grabbing the opportunity with both hands would be my advice.