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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, June 16, 2014, 6:27 am

Facilities Managers Recognition Awards 2014: Jesse Edwards, Direct Flow Medical

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    Senior manufacturing engineer, Direct Flow Medical, 451 Aviation Blvd., Santa Rosa 95403, 707-576-0420, directflowmedical.com

    Age: 32

    Residence: Windsor

    Professional background: Fourteen years working in the minimally invasive medical device manufacturing industry.

    Education: A B.S. degree with a major in manufacturing engineering and a minor in statistics from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, graduating magna cum laude.

    Staff: Historically, 16 direct reports. Currently, none.

    Describe the facilities you oversee: I’m responsible for a 30,000-square-foot medical device manufacturing facility, four ISO 8 Class 100,000 clean rooms, a chemistry lab, a research-and-development lab and common office space.

    Tell us a little bit about yourself: Born in Los Angeles, I came to the North Bay at age 2, when my dad established a welding supply and gas business venture — the first of its type in Santa Rosa. That’s where I later learned complex process piping and facility design. Summer jobs included painting high-pressure gas cylinders and refilling them at his Ukiah facility.

    I was in the first graduating class at Santa Rosa’s Maria Carrillo High School, where I studied drafting using Autodesk’s AutoCAD R13 software.

    I later attended Santa Rosa Junior College and served as a contract draftsman at the S Group architectural firm. My first assignment was at Medtronic AVE, where I converted facility flat files to AutoCAD for document control and traceability purposes. Some practices I implemented are still in use today. While there, I became acquainted with medical device facility construction and management.

    Back at SRJC, I entered the engineering transfer program and attended California Polytechnic University from 2001–2004, graduating with highest honors.

    I worked as an architectural draftsman for a general contractor who built and remodeled new homes, garages, barns, and commercial construction projects. I was responsible for producing architectural plans for engineering approval prior to obtaining permits. I also assisted with construction projects, gaining exposure to concrete, foundation, framing, roofing, and site/utility work.

    After graduation, I worked for several medical-device startups and commercial companies as a manufacturing engineer and process and product development engineer. Being proficient in drafting as well as construction and handling facilities, I assumed the facility-manager role to make the facility run with little to no down time.

    I take pride in doing things the right way, instead of taking shortcuts. This approach greatly reduced downtimes resulting from facility and equipment failures. This work ethic has followed me throughout my career. In the medical-device field in Santa Rosa, I have been employed at TriVascular, Medlogics Device Corporation and, most recently, Direct Flow Medical, where I have worked since November 2008.

    I have a wife and a 2-year-old son who bring me great joy. I hope to pass on my hard work ethic to my son, like my father did for me.

    What do you see as the role of the facilities managers within your organization?: Maintaining compliance with ISO, FDA, OSHA and local regulations and codes as well as creating a safe environment for employees. At the same time, we strive to be as “green” as possible, minimize manufacturing downtime and save operational costs.

    What achievement you are most proud of?: Designing and building two ISO Class 8 clean rooms in less than four months, $20,000 under budget and with no downtime to the commercial manufacturing line. 

    What is your biggest challenge today?: Building safeguards so downtime is minimized should equipment or facility systems fail. Additional challenges involve working in a lean startup environment where responsibilities include medical device design, process development, cost of goods reduction, quality control and commercial production. 

    What the next major project either under way or on the horizon?: I will be developing plans to double the size of our clean room space and to add a dedicated material handling, pack out, pre/post sterile quarantine area in Santa Rosa.

    What product or service would/or is helping you do your job more effectively?: I do all the drafting and general contracting to save money. A fast computer, AutoCAD and a ready reference list of subcontractors I have worked with for years are helpful. 

    How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: I see continued integration of green technologies and compliance with new environmental requirements for facility design. I also see ongoing productivity and throughput gains from our current facility through layout, process flow and material handling improvement projects.

    Most admired businesspersons outside your organization: I’m more of a science, mathematics, engineering and technology guy, so my answer would be Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, and Albert Einstein.

    Current reading: Scientific American, Smithsonian, Popular Science and Nature magazines.

    Person you most want to meet: Any astronaut or cosmonaut who has spent time on the International Space Station.

    Stress-relievers: Classic cars, camping, playing with my son, softball, hiking, swimming, gardening and yard work.

    Favorite hobbies: Classic cars — I have a Volkswagen collection — as well as astronomy and physics.

    Words that best describe you: Dedicated, loyal, efficient, hard working, integrity, initiative, humble, intelligent, determined and a good father.

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