Tech Talks: Raymond Reid, Director of Quality
Welcome to TKA’s newest team member, Raymond Reid. We recently sat down with Ray to hear more about his responsibilities with TKA and what keeps him motivated in his work.
Q: What is your role at TKA? Describe what you do day to day.
A: I was hired to assist TKA with acquiring ISO 9001 certification. My primary role right now is learning about how TKA functions, understanding how people do their jobs, and how those activities already align with the standard, then documenting the processes and procedures so they can be replicated, and updating and fine-tuning existing documentation. Admittedly it’s challenging right now because of the coronavirus and not being able to travel to be on-site with the TKA team in different parts of the country.
I also have ownership of a third-party quality management system called ZenQMS. I’ll be managing that system to create, implement, and maintain it in coordination with everyone at TKA. The system will allow us to build a repository for procedures, records inventory, track improvement activities, track training, keep records of corrective action processes, and conduct audits.
Q: How long have you been with TKA and why did you choose this profession?
A: I just joined TKA on March 2, so really new to the group. I’ve been in Quality for 35 years, in both aerospace and medical.
I started out in aerospace as a line inspector at Northrop Grumman. There I discovered I had a knack for inspection and processes, so I moved into a quality engineering role, and kept increasing my overall knowledge of quality systems and activities. I later moved to Boeing, where my team was in charge of the quality of the C-17 final assembly. At Boeing I also worked with the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and Delta rockets. After Boeing I went to Honeywell, where I was a supplier process improvement manager and helped suppliers improve how they built parts for Honeywell — how to build them faster and better.
When I made the switch from aerospace to medical devices I started working for Baxter, where I was the quality manager for production operations including microbiology, supplier quality, receiving, in-process and final inspection departments. I then went to LivaNova, where we were building tube and filter sets used for heart-lung bypass machines. My last stop before TKA was with Nuvectra, which made an implantable pulse generator, where I returned to doing supplier management overseeing the contract manufacturers of components.
What I love about this profession is the ability to make things better, to be the voice of the customer. I make sure everything is working well, so people can use a device safely and properly. We ultimately want to make the patient better, and quality is an important component of that. Quality is the safety check and the oversight. I like knowing what I do makes a real difference in people’s lives.
Q: What are 3 words to describe the importance of Quality?
A: Integrity. Consistency. Accountability.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: The best part of my job is flexibility. I enjoy having the ability to focus on things and switch back and forth between tasks. Right now, I’m really enjoying learning about how everything at TKA works and seeing how all the pieces fit together.
Q: What has been your proudest moment working in your career?
A: I think one of the most interesting things I got to do, which made a positive impact for other people, was being a fact witness for the U.S. government during a grand jury investigation of New England Compounding Center following a meningitis outbreak. I was at Baxter, and I testified about how we ensured the safety of Baxter products for our patients. What made me proud was that we at Baxter had the processes and procedures that gave us assurance that we had done everything in our power to make our devices safe. And the grand jury agreed. The success of the experience was that the grand jury ended up indicting people at NECC.
Q: What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
A: I’m motivated by the desire to always make things better, to make work easier and simpler for everyone involved, from the TKA service tech to the patient. What keeps me motivated is that ability to make things better all the time.
Q: What’s something most people don’t know about you?
A: Many people don’t know I’m very handy. I’m a handyman! I build a lot of things for my friends and family. I do projects like remodeling bathrooms and kitchens. I once added 1,500 square feet to a house, with a new kitchen, living room, and bedroom. I really enjoy doing home improvement projects at my own house and for other people — sometimes my wife contracts me out!
Q: How do you define success?
A: In this job, success for me is first getting the ISO certificate and then maintaining it. In general, it’s making the improvements, getting everyone to understand how everything is a process, and always looking for ways to improve their processes. We all encounter processes every day, which most people don’t think about. That’s what we do in Quality — we think about how to improve those processes all the time. At the end of day, for me to say I had a successful day is knowing that I accomplished something, I finished a project or pushed it into a next phase, I resolved an issue, or I made someone happy — that, to me, is a great day.
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