Member Spotlight - Carl McBurney
Where do you live? Minneapolis, MN
What’s the highest academic degree you’ve obtained? From where?
Master’s degree in Chemistry from University of Wisconsin - Madison
Is there a teacher who influenced you more than others? Why?
During my undergraduate education at St. Olaf College, my analytical chemistry professor designed the laboratory coursework to emphasize how chemistry is used in the manufacturing industry and the management structure of a quality control lab. I really enjoyed the experience and in hindsight it was a great introduction to the structure of commercial analytical laboratories that opened my mind to opportunities outside of academic science.
What did you consider your introduction to quality? This might be your first job in quality, or it might be a class, or something else altogether.
My first job out of graduate school was at PPD in Madison, WI. PPD is a large contract research organization with a robust quality system and I was fortunate to work in the method validation part of the business, which exposed me to many of the controls and tools that are necessary for pharmaceutical quality. Working with clients was also a good way to hear many perspectives on quality early in my career.
Did/do you have a mentor who has made/makes a difference in your career?
The two mentor experiences that stand out to me most are internships that I participated in during my undergraduate education. The supervisors at the two programs went out of their way to educate me and put a large amount of trust in me to work with important and expensive projects and make my own decisions. They taught me the value of educating, trusting, and listening to your employees and I strive to live up to their example.
What’s the best career advice you ever receive?
There are two pieces of advice that have helped my career. Listen actively (especially important in science and engineering roles) and don’t be reluctant to delegate.
What is your current job? Quality Control Supervisor at Aurora Pharmaceutical, Northfield, MN
What ASQ activities are you involved in?
I am the membership chair for the Minnesota section of ASQ and I am involved in the planning of the annual Minnesota Quality Conference (www.mnqc.org).
Are you married? Do you have any children?
I am married to a librarian and we have one toddler and are expecting another child soon!
What are your favorite ways to relax?
I enjoy building computers and tinkering with electronic devices. I also enjoy learning about website design.
Do you have a favorite blogger? Why?
I often like the advice on Alison Green’s Ask a Manager blog.
What was the last movie you saw?
What would you like to say as your original quality quote?
I am part of the millennial generation, so here’s a quality quote in meme form: I don’t always generate out-of-specification results, but when I do, I determine an appropriate root cause.
How has being an ASQ member been valuable in your career?
As a young quality professional, being an ASQ member has helped me in several ways. Attending ASQ events (even the virtual ones) gives me a much broader perspective on quality than I would otherwise experience in a small business. The local Minnesota section has been especially helpful for meeting local quality experts who have already been valuable to my career.