Manufacturing: Company adding dozens per week
April 30-May 6, 2021 • Vol. 22, No. 7
By Amber Hair
Meissner Filtration in Camarillo received a $13.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is hiring extensively to meet a massive uptick in demand for vaccine manufacturing infrastructure and other medical devices.
The grant is from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which is the office in charge of developing vaccines, drugs, therapies and diagnostic tools for public medical emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. Max Bloomberg, the executive director of operations at Meissner, said BARDA was already familiar with Meissner because the company worked with all of the companies involved in Operation Warp Speed, the partnership the government created with several companies to help accelerate the development and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Meissner saw the need to rapidly scale at the start of the pandemic and started doing so last year. The Camarillo-based company supplies the equipment used to make vaccines, as well as the filters that help sterilize injectable drugs and components for the test kits and reagents laboratories use to test for COVID-19.
All of those items are in especially high demand now, when the entire world needs to roll up their shirt sleeves and get at least one shot, if not two. Bloomberg said the grant is helping the company expand faster and further than it would have been able to on its own.
“We need to vaccinate the world,” Bloomberg said.
Meissner is bringing on 25 people a week now and has been on a “torrid” hiring spree the last couple of years, Bloomberg said.
“We’re providing something critical that’s going to end this pandemic,” Bloomberg said. “We can’t be the weak link in the chain.”
The company has hired between 250 and 300 people since March 2020 and has plans to hire another couple of hundred people within the next nine months. The jobs listed on the company’s website include microbiologist, mechanical assemblers, sales specialists and managers in the product, business development and material science areas.
Those jobs aren’t going to disappear at the end of the pandemic, either, since Meissner also works on creating equipment for creating and transporting the medicine used in cancer treatment and respiratory drugs. The company is seeing an increased demand in those markets and expects the demand to continue as people return to pre-pandemic plans, including getting operations that might have been put off to help hospitals focus resources on COVID spikes.
“These are not transient positions,” Bloomberg said. “We’re looking for people who will be with Meissner for a significant amount of time, if not their whole careers.”
Though the company has operations in many areas, those hires have been concentrated at the Camarillo campus, and have included scientists, engineers and production team members.
Meissner has enlisted the help of several recruiting firms to help them find people to fill the positions. Karisa Keonig, the director of marketing, said they’ve also used word of mouth and social media to help recruit, and that they’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm from people who were eager to help out.
“It gave people a chance to fight against the pandemic,” Keonig said.