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Vice President, Lab Operations – North America - Salt Lake City, UT

Quick Facts
Company Name:Nelson Labs
Location:Salt Lake City, UT
Employment Type:Full Time
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Nelson Labs was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1985 by Dr. Jerry R. Nelson and Lynda S. Nelson to address the new market created by the implementation of modern medical device regulations. Beginning with only five employees and offering 40 microbiology tests, Nelson Labs grew over the next three decades by delivering best-in-class laboratory testing and customer service to medical device companies. Jeff Nelson, son of the founders, has led the business since 2006.

In 2016, Nelson Labs was acquired by Sterigenics, a global provider of sterilization services backed by GTCR and Warburg Pincus. At the time of the transaction, Nelson Labs had grown to 570 employees providing more than 400 microbiological and analytical tests to 3,000 client entities across 57 countries. In 2017, the Sponsors rebranded the parent company to Sotera Health to encompass its three core business units: Nelson Labs, Sterigenics, and Nordion, a global provider of Cobalt-60 for the sterilization process.

Under private equity ownership Nelson Labs has made two key acquisitions. As part of its global expansion strategy, the Company acquired Belgium-based Toxikon Europe N.V., the European division of Toxikon Corporation, in 2017. The following year, Nelson Labs acquired Gibraltar Laboratories, a New Jersey-based outsourced provider of microbiology, sterility assurance, and analytical chemistry testing with two facilities in the New Jersey tri-state area. Sotera Health has also made significant investments in the existing infrastructure of Nelson Labs, with a particular emphasis on the Company's Center of Excellence in Itasca, Illinois.

Today, Nelson Labs provides more than 800 microbiology and analytical testing services from 13 global laboratory sites across the US, Mexico, Europe and China. The Company's core end market now has more than 900 global employees, with roughly 600 in Salt Lake City, 100 in New Jersey, 100 in Belgium, and 100 split among the remaining locations.

Job summary:

The Vice President of Lab Operations, North America provides leadership and oversight for all North American laboratory operations including day-to-day lab operations, resource planning, utilization, service, quality, financial performance and other key business metrics. Additionally, this role is accountable for policy and procedural compliance, lab safety, and oversight of technical issues in the assigned region. Harmonizing and optimizing capabilities, procedures, and customer service levels across the multi-site network is essential. Successful integration of M&A entities will also be important.

Reporting relationships and peer set:

This position reports to the President and participates on the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) to determine the overall business strategy, establish goals to execute the strategic plan, and uphold the company values in support of alignment and operational success. This leader will supervise Directors of Lab Operations and other assigned staff to ensure fulfillment of customer needs and achievement of business goals while driving strong initiatives to improve operating excellence and efficiency.

Essential duties:

Organizational Leadership

  • Develop and lead a best-in-class operations function while implementing structural improvements to the organization.
  • Maintain Nelson Labs' customer and employee-centric culture while also creating a high-performance environment focused on operational excellence and management discipline.

Operational excellence

  • Relentlessly drive operational excellence through accelerated process improvement, customer service excellence, commitment to quality and rigorous cost management.
  • Facilitate margin-accretive revenue growth through optimization of capacity and capabilities. Achieve and exceed financial targets.
  • Champion and implement automation, standardization and consolidation initiatives to achieve benefits of scale across Nelson Labs.
  • Implement an operational framework for acquisition integration that drives value creation.
  • Remain up-to-date on commercial knowledge of the laboratory testing space in relation to customer needs, market trends, competitive landscape, and services offered.

Quality and regulatory compliance

  • Achieve safety, quality, service delivery and cost goals.
  • Ensure timely and rigorous execution of CAPA activities.
  • Know and follow applicable regulatory requirements (GMP, GLP, ISO, etc.).
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Competencies of this position:


  • Track record of developing new products and services and growing revenue and profitability.
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively and to develop, prioritize and clearly communicate future business plans and organizational goals across all levels of the company.
  • Results-oriented'strong work ethic, sense of urgency, relentless desire for improvement.
  • Proven track record leading large organizations in delivering against a plan and creating value for shareholders.
  • Strong financial acumen, able to connect operational actions and financial outputs and understand and act upon all available operational levers to achieve targeted business results.
  • Experience in M&A transactions and their successful integration.

Customer Focus

  • Familiarity with Nelson Labs' end markets (pharmaceutical and medical devices) and experience working in a people-driven technical services business highly desirable.
  • Keen sense and awareness of customer service and customer satisfaction drivers and issues and strong experience in driving excellence in customer experience.


  • Proven ability to attract and retain talent and diversity and build a strong team culture.
  • Effective people-management and development capability.
  • Decisive change agent who can build employee morale and gain buy-in while moving quickly.
  • A team player capable of managing relationships across all levels of the organization.


  • Willing to accept no compromises when it comes to workplace safety.
  • Intellectually curious and excited at the prospect of developing new ways to safeguard global health.


  • Holds self to the highest ethical standards and sets a positive tone and example for others.
  • Authentic and credible persona and leadership style.
  • Adaptable management style.

Work Environment:

This job typically operates in a professional office and laboratory environment. May occasionally be required to perform job duties outside of the typical office setting.

Travel requirements:

Domestic and international travel should be expected.

Desired education and experience:

B.S. or B.A. in a scientific field and 10+ years' experience with leadership in a scientific and regulatory environment

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