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Mark Fritz, BENGM '98 & PhD '04

(Engineering Physics)

Biotech pivot builds a career

The global pandemic that has shuttered many workplaces hasn’t slowed down Mark Fritz’s life.

In fact, as Director of Equipment Engineering for a blood testing device company within Siemens Healthineers, he’s never been busier.

He oversees manufacturing engineering, leading a group of engineers and technicians to produce the medical device that has defined his career.

“Getting involved in medical device manufacturing was an unexpected turn,” admits Fritz, who earned his Engineering Physics and Management degree in 1998 and added a PhD in 2003.

“I worked on semiconductor lasers in graduate school but when the optical communications industry contracted, I took a turn and ended up at a biotech start-up,” he says. “I was fortunate to have been a part of a team that took the company founder’s vision and helped turn it into a bona fide medical product and the company was eventually acquired by Siemens Healthineers.”

Fritz has led the expansion of the production capacity from those early days to today’s annual output of many millions.

“I am very proud of the fact that the product that I have worked on for 15 years is used to treat patients around the world,” he says.

And despite the pivot in specialties, he adds that his work is precisely what he was trained for: managing people and projects, creating budgets and reviewing drawings, planning facilities and coaching new engineering graduates.

He says the range of topics he explored as an undergraduate student still serves him well today and encourages students to be patient with their curriculum and professors. 

“There is wisdom beyond what you might be able to appreciate while you are a student so you need to have faith that the subject matter, however esoteric and challenging, was selected for a reason by educators who know best what needs to be taught.”