In the meantime, he continues to expand his skill set as a Business Analyst for WuXi AppTec, a contract research organization that performs testing services for medical device manufacturers.
Merkel began with the organization as a study director, responsible for running dermal sensitization and systemic toxicology studies, analyzing data and generating final reports. He then moved on to become a value stream manager, an operations-focused position. In addition to metrics, he was tasked with leading process improvement projects utilizing the Lean/Six Sigma tool set. “This was a new ‘movement’ in the organization, and so I began teaching my colleagues how to create their own metrics and execute their own process improvement projects,” he says. Currently a business analyst and project lead, he is responsible for ensuring that software is implemented and successfully automated.
“My greatest influence during my undergraduate years was my research PI, Dr. Robin Wright,” Merkel adds. “She taught me an important lesson as a scientist and as a human: never stop asking why, never stop learning, and never fear failure. Failure is one of life’s greatest teachers.”