Together We Transform: A Word from Judith Kozak
Director of Commissioning, Qualification and Validation for Jacobs Life Sciences North America Judith Kozak shares how a family health scare serves as a daily reminder of the life-changing impact Jacobs has.
My name is Judy Kozak and I’m Director of Commissioning, Qualification and Validation (CQV) for Jacobs' Life Sciences North American team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I’ve been working for Jacobs for 14 years in total. I always had a desire to work within the pharmaceutical industry and Jacobs has presented me the opportunity to work across a multitude of different projects with the most innovative pharma companies in the world.
I joined Jacobs in 1997 and I quickly progressed from CQV Engineer to Project Manager to Client Alliance Manager. I then took a career break to raise my children and rejoined Jacobs as Director of CQV.
The facilities, utilities and equipment used in the manufacture, processing, packaging and storage of drug products are subject to regulations set forth by the FDA and other governing agencies. My team performs commissioning, qualification and validation services for our Life Sciences clients to ensure that the manufacturing facilities and equipment comply with regulations and that the drugs manufactured are fit for intended use. What attracted me to CQV is that we are involved with every system in the facility –we qualify the rooms, the air handling systems, the utilities and all the manufacturing equipment. There is immeasurable knowledge transfer in this field.
In 2015, my husband felt a lump in his neck and was diagnosed with tonsil cancer. A biopsy indicated that this cancer was linked to the human papilloma virus (HPV.) The cancer had progressed to an invasive state where surgery alone was not an option. The recommended treatment included 35 radiation sessions and three doses of chemotherapy. After the treatments were completed, the scans still indicated residual amounts of cancer cells remaining in the lymph nodes which then required surgery. The treatment has left him with some ongoing medical issues, but he has been cancer free for over seven years and we are extremely grateful!
There now exists a vaccine protecting individuals from contracting HPV, and I strongly encourage everyone to have their children receive this vaccine so no one in the future has to experience this type of cancer or this difficult treatment.
In my role at Jacobs, I have been supporting two HPV vaccine manufacturing projects. Going through this experience with my own family and knowing that my team at Jacobs contributed to bringing this vaccine to the market is very rewarding! It adds another level of realization to the work that we contribute to daily. I’ve also been supporting several COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing projects and have a lot of pride in being able to contribute to the overall effort of bringing these vaccines to the global population. I’m very fortunate to work for a company like Jacobs who has clients at the forefront of developing these life-enhancing products. Looking ahead and seeing some of the potential life-saving drugs in the network right now, I’m looking forward to more milestone achievements in the next 10 years.
We are truly passionate about the projects we take on. That’s one thing that really attracted me back to Jacobs –not just the opportunities that it offers but also our culture. It truly feels great to work for a company that lives their values every day and it’s not just something on paper, I really believe that the people I work with embrace and live these values and we’re all working toward a shared goal.