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URMC / Education / Graduate Education / URBest Blog / September 2018 / Find and Align With Your Mission

Find and Align With Your Mission

Career Story by Tim Bassler, Executive Director of West Point Quality at Merck

The best advice I ever got from a mentor was to develop a mission statement, revisit that mission over time, and use it to help make career decisions.  My mission is:  Work to Live, Enjoy Work, and Make a Difference.  I set this mission statement 20 years ago and have not changed it since.  As I reflect on my career this mission has served as a barometer for my actions. 

My educational back ground is an undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering and Master’s and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering.  All of these degrees are from Vanderbilt University where my father was a professor for 25 years.  After graduation I worked for a startup company (MRI) as the 3rd employee.  We made specialty solders and brazes.  I moved from MRI to a medium sided company, Heraeus, where I invented and commercialized materials for electronic fabrication.    After 3 years at Heraeus, I moved to Lucent to do process development for optoelectronic component manufacturing.  During my time at Lucent I moved to team management and process development.  My team grew to 20 engineers, most of us were let go from Lucent after the “telecommunications bubble burst”.  I was fortunate to get a job with Merck.  That is where I have worked for the last 16 years.  At Merck I have moved between Technology and Quality, leading teams and organizations focused on the manufacture of vaccines.

For each move I made in my career, I can remember the drivers for me to change and the moment the next opportunity presented itself.  As we grow as people it is important that we make our own luck and keep our eyes open to unexpected opportunities.  Each new opportunity aligned with my mission.  This is most true of my work at Merck.  My wife and I have 3 children who we choose to vaccinate.  This means that for the over 40 vaccine doses that help protect my family, I have been a part of manufacturing.  This gives my work personal meaning.  Merck’s vision is to make a difference in peoples’ lives globally thru medicines and vaccines.  This gives my work purpose. 

If you would like to learn more about my career journey and Merck please join me on Thursday, October 4 at 4:00 pm in CEL 2-7534. Kim Sims, a UR PhD Candidate and previous team member at Merck will be introducing me. ​

Global Administrator | 9/28/2018

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