Alumni Focus - Dr. Dave Engers
Dr. David Engers (2006) lives in West Lafayette and is the General Manager for SSCI, a division of Albany Molecular Research, Inc. SSCI was co-founded by IPPH Professor Steve Byrn and his wife, Sally Byrn over a quarter-century ago to provide comprehensive cGMP solid state chemistry research and analytical services to the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr. Engers attended Purdue during a period when many of his fellow graduate students had previous professional experience. This very unique and “experienced” group managed to cross the Office of Student Activities and Organizations (SAO) frequently, as they set out to found the student chapter of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS). Despite having many IPPH professors as fellows, most notably Drs. Dane Kildsig, Garnet Peck and Gilbert Banker that had a guiding influence in creating this professional organization, Purdue University did not (in 2001) have an AAPS student chapter. One of first orders of business in creating a student organization was to draft a constitution, “to which we took the ill-fated step to apply the Purdue Seal (ninth design introduced in 1968 by Al Gowan) as a watermark. Needless to say, that watermark innocently used “to make it look official” required approval (that we did not get). We were eternally grateful for the outpouring of support and encouragement from IPPH alumni for this new student chapter. That generous financial support helped provide programming and grow our membership (as 6 graduate students does not make a sustainable chapter); however, the pace at which that support came (e.g., fund raising) also drew SAO scrutiny … all before crowd funding was a thing,” says Engers.
“Another grand distraction to getting research done was recasting IPPH 562 (Manufacturing Processes). On my arrival to campus in 2001, I came to Purdue with process and product technology transfer experience at Pfizer. IPPH 562 at that time was devised as merely a demonstrative laboratory, meaning teaching assistants set-up, demonstrated different unit operations, and cleaned up. This classroom dynamic did NOT work for me or my partner in crime, Dr. Peter Wildfong (now a professor at Duquesne University), who came to IPPH with his own deep knowledge of pharmaceutical science and love for teaching. From this collaboration, a student-led laboratory format, with a laboratory manual fashioned after a master batch record was born. It is extremely gratifying to see this format continues to be used today as part of the regulatory affairs degree program and the programming for the Kilimanjaro School of Pharmacy in Tanzania, Africa.”
Today, much of his free time is spent supporting two active teenagers (Sam, 16 and Julia, 13), with Sam now gearing up for college. “As an aside, Sam was very much part of my graduate student experience. Born in 2001, he was 2 years old, when he started attending Morris Group Meetings. While learning his ABCs, he learned to recite the Ideal Gas Law AND name each of the variables. That was his contribution to group meeting, which coming from the mouth of a 2 year old, always brought down the house!”