Vistakon recruits engineers to support €100m expansion
27 February 2014
Vistakon is actively recruiting engineers in manufacturing, new product introduction, automation, process and injection moulding for its Limerick plant, which manufactures the Acuvue range of soft disposable contact lens, the world’s number one brand. This follows a €100 million expansion of the company’s manufacturing operations, announced in January 2013.
Vistakon Ireland plant manager, Barry O’Sullivan, explains the rationale behind the recruitment drive. “We expanded for two reasons – to meet increased customer demand and to support the introduction of new products. In addition to bringing new production lines on stream, we also invested in strategic automation and platform development to improve product quality for the benefit of our customers.
“Vistakon is one of Ireland’s most highly automated plants. This purpose-built plant was constructed in 1996, close to the University of Limerick. Within Johnson & Johnson, we’re regarded as an engineering centre of excellence, working in close collaboration with our sister site in Florida, USA.”
- Over 90% of employees hold third-level qualifications
- Majority of qualifications are engineering related
- Strong employee participation in private study – 100% supported by Vistakon
Our Track Record
- Over $1 million per week on average has been continuously invested in the plant since 1996
- Over 14 billion lenses shipped to customers to date
Vistakon ships worldwide from its Limerick site, with the main market being Japan. All products are FDA Class II & III devices. The site operates 24/7, with 35 lines operational by the end of last year.
HR manager, Noelette Ensko, added, “We’re seeking energetic, ambitious, can-do engineers with the right skill sets and experience. This is about finding the right engineering talent to support the company’s strong growth and development. As a Johnson & Johnson company, we offer excellent compensation, development and career progression opportunities.”
Why was Ireland chosen for this strategically important investment? Paul Connolly, vice president of manufacturing within the company’s Global Supply Chain explained, “Limerick has a strong track record over many years of providing quality products and excellent customer service to markets around the globe.”
Established in Limerick in 1996, Vistakon is one of several Johnson & Johnson companies in Ireland, employing over 2,000 people. Information on specific career opportunities and how to apply at www.careers.jnj.com.
JOHNSON & JOHNSON
‘Caring for the world, one person at a time’… this inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. The company embraces research and science – bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Employees of the Johnson &Johnson ‘Family of Companies’ work with partners in healthcare to touch the lives of over a billion people every day, throughout the world.
Its ‘Family of Companies’ comprises:
- The world’s sixth-largest consumer health company;
- The world’s largest and most diverse medical devices and diagnostics company;
- The world’s fifth-largest biologics company;
- And the world’s eighth-largest pharmaceuticals company.
Johnson & Johnson has more than 275 operating companies in more than 60 countries employing approximately 128,700 people. Its worldwide headquarters is in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.
CAREER PROGRESSION – KIERAN MCSHERRY
Nenagh man, Kieran McSherry is site engineering manager at Vistakon Ireland, responsible for the delivery of engineering products and services across all disciplines, including injection moulding, software, automation, mechanical, process and manufacturing. He holds a degree in Production Engineering from the University of Limerick. He began his career with Dell as a process engineer before joining Hewlett Packard, where he gained valuable automation experience in a number of roles including manufacturing engineer and project engineer.
Attracted by the unique opportunity to apply his automation experience in a regulated healthcare environment, McSherry joined Vistakon in 2004 as a manufacturing engineer. He was quickly promoted and assumed responsibility for leading a major production ramp and subsequent plant expansion. Immediately prior to his appointment as site engineering manager, he served as project engineering manager, responsible for the successful delivery of major capital retrofits and the development of new production lines for Vistakon.
What does McSherry prioritise as site engineering manager? “Safety comes first and foremost,” he said, “followed by quality and then output. This is a culture where employee teams collaborate across functions to improve products and processes.”
“I’m driven to constantly do better and to work with my team to improve engineering practices. However, at Vistakon, it’s not just about what you do, it’s how you deliver.”
Based on his own career progression, what advice would he share with fellow engineers? “Volunteer for new challenges and assume extra responsibilities. This is about extending your experience and learning new skills,” according to McSherry. “For example, experience in automation was critical for me. In the early stage of your career, it’s important to learn at the coal face – technical experience on the ground, trouble-shooting and solving problems is invaluable.
“Follow your heart – enjoy what you do and keep learning. Some people don’t want to be leaders – they prefer being technical subject matter experts. Everyone has a valuable role to play.
“Finally,” he added, “work for a dynamic, fast-growing company like Vistakon. As the company has grown, so have I. They believe in people investment and professional development. Work with people who believe in you.”
GRADUATE OPPORTUNITIES – ENA DALY
Growing up in Tullamore, Co Offaly, Ena Daly decided early on that she wanted to be an engineer. “My father was an electrician who was very strong at maths and, from a very young age, it was clear that I had the same aptitude.” As she scored in the top percentile in career tests for spatial awareness and maths, Daly’s recommended career options were engineering and accounting.
“I enjoyed physics, so engineering was a clear choice,” she said. “Plus, I never wanted to spend my days in front of a computer screen. I went to an all-girls’ school so very few of my peers opted for engineering, but that didn’t deter me.”
In 2008, Daly graduated in Computer-Aided Engineering & Design from the University of Limerick. She followed with a Master of Arts in Business Management. Luckily, she secured a job almost straight away.
“In November 2009, I started in Cordis, a Johnson & Johnson company, as assistant to the production manager and development manager. Following a three-month stint in the materials & manufacturing planning department, I entered the graduate engineering programme and started in the build work stream, where I planned and executed studies in clinical trials, and submission builds. I then rotated into the engineering department, where I dealt with investigations and cleaning validations.
“When I saw the production lines at Vistakon, I was in total awe. The technology and the level of automation are fantastic. No two days are the same. It is what engineers dream of.”
“I transferred to Vistakon in August 2011 as validation engineer. In April 2013, I was promoted to process engineer, responsible for resolving yield issues on the production line, investigations and project impact assessments.”
Daly advises graduate engineers, “Get experience in other areas of the business. Engineering was always my first choice, but I took opportunities that came my way in other functions. I believe that this has given me a much more rounded view of the business.”
INSPIRING THE ENGINEERS OF THE FUTURE
Vistakon helps employees achieve an effective mix between work and home life and supports their efforts to have a positive impact on their communities.
As part of Engineers Week, 100 local secondary school students from CBS Nenagh and Coláiste Muire, Ennis recently visited Vistakon to tour the world-class facility and experience first-hand what a career in engineering has to offer. Students met with company engineers and participated in hands-on robotics workshops, where they learnt how automation is used for quality checks and how manufactured items are automatically moved around a production line.
The workshop was designed to allow the students to use their analytical and problem solving skills – the core set of skills required for a career in engineering.
These Transition Year students are at a pivotal stage in their lives when they are trying to decide the right career path. According to their teachers, meeting the Vistakon Engineering team, hearing first-hand what they do, seeing the plant in action and participating in the hands-on workshop has given them valuable insights into engineering as an exciting career choice.http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2014/02/27/vistakon-recruits-engineers-to-support-e100m-expansion/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/vistakon-11.pnghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/vistakon-11-300x300.pngNewsjobs,manufacturing