Then and Now: Emma Fyfield-Bremner
January 31, 2022
I left university in 1992 with a degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering and was unsure of what to do next. I had thoughts of becoming a teacher before I came across Pall’s Graduate Trainee program. There were a number of trainee programs on offer at the time and I recall looking at Unilever, Peugeot, Rolls-Royce and the Portsmouth Dockyard. I was invited to a few interviews but what struck me about Pall was that it was a fairly large organization but still had a friendly, family feel. The interviewer gave me a picture of what could be a diverse and interesting year, so I signed up. It was a 12-month scheme back then, where you rotated around four different departments in one manufacturing plant. Of course, I had no idea on my first day, that I would still be here nearly 30 years later, and eventually become the Plant Manager of Pall Portsmouth!
I enjoyed that first graduate year and tasted what it was like to work on the production floor, in the design engineering office and the laboratories. I even did a stint in quality which to be honest was what I liked the least, which is ironic because the job I accepted after completing 12 months was as a Quality Engineer! The trainee program was a fantastic start for me.
Despite the friendliness I experienced as a graduate trainee, I remember it was still quite intimidating as a young woman in what was back then predominantly a man’s world. Walking through the engineering office in 1992 I was clearly in the minority. It was different then. It was still common to see colleagues smoking at their desk. Times change. What is accepted in our culture and workplace has changed too. Positive changes I have gradually seen emerge over the years have resulted in greater awareness of diversity and inclusion, mental health and associate wellbeing.
In those early days I worked on porous metal elements supervising a team of about 12, and 30 years on I find myself managing the whole plant, responsible for around 270 people. There is never any escaping hard work, but I have also been fortunate with some fantastic opportunities at Pall over the years. Good support is always essential and when I first took over site lead from Deen Harman, nearly eight years ago now, he mentored me.
When I first started, Pall Portsmouth’s product portfolio was far more industrial. As well as metal elements, there were large vessels for nuclear applications, hydraulic systems and dryers. The manufacturing facility has certainly become more of a Life Sciences plant in recent times, with a strong biotech equipment presence with bioreactors, mixers and biopharma housings. There have always been product changes to adapt to which can often reflect our response to market needs. For instance, we have recently taken over manufacturing of glass fiber elements from Pall Ilfracombe, to give their facility room to expand and keep up with demand for single-use systems. The plant has seen much change, as have I!
Working for Pall has afforded me every opportunity. Allowed me to grow as a person and develop my career. The friendly, family feel I discovered at Pall Portsmouth in those early days is a value I feel very strongly about and personally live in my everyday working life. It is also a value that I believe has been maintained 30 years on. It is a value that has definitely helped us through tough times, and big company changes such as when we became part of Danaher. It helped us with the culture shift. It’s important in life that during times of change there are some constants.
Pall Portsmouth has been my whole working life, it plays a huge part of my life and I love working here – and I don’t think it would be wrong to say many other people like working here too!
To find out more about Emma Fyfield-Bremner or any of our Biotech People please read our biographies page.
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Emma Fyfield-Bremner, General Manager, Life Sciences
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