Five Questions For: Head of Project Management and Engineering James Lee - MediPharm Labs
Operating out of our Australia-based facility, Asia-Pacific Head of Project Management and Engineering James Lee plays a vital role in managing, leading and mentoring engineering project and maintenance teams. James holds a master’s degree in Project Management and professional accreditations from both the Project Management Institute (PMP®) and Australian Institute of Project Management (CPPP®). He brings 15 years of experience in GMP pharmaceutical manufacturing environments to our team and recently played a major role in the construction completion of our Australian facility in Wonthaggi, Victoria.
We reached out to James to learn more about his experience at MediPharm Labs Australia and to hear about his achievements and challenges so far.
1. What made you decide to join the MediPharm Labs team?
I was inspired to join the MediPharm Labs team because the company offered me an opportunity to be a part of a business that can genuinely make a difference in peoples’ lives. This desire was amplified by the chance to make a positive impact on the MediPharm Labs Australia start-up.
2. What’s your favourite thing about your job?
With where we are at in the evolution of the Australian business, it really is never the same from one day to the next. Being a part of the Australian subsidiary start-up is chaotic, exciting, challenging, fun, and extremely fulfilling all at the same time. I love it. It’s not every day that one is entrusted to deliver a first-of-its-kind, world-class cannabis manufacturing facility - and then get to build a dedicated and skilled team from the ground up, so it really is a privilege to have the opportunity to create a working environment that everyone wants to be a part of. I love engaging with people and getting to see the excitement generated from the successful completion of our new Australian facility was incredibly rewarding.
3. If you were to describe the nature of your work to someone who doesn’t know you, what would you say?
Put simply, I place an emphasis on people and nurture relationships to execute on deliverables. I am a big believer that project charters, plans and programs are great best practice project management tools and developed with the best of intentions. However, at the end of the day, it is people who deliver projects and add value, so that is where I channel my energy.
4. What have you learned since joining the MediPharm team that you didn’t know before you started?
I never realized how exciting and inspirational it could be to be a part of a start-up. In addition to this, I personally underestimated exactly how much interest and support is out there for the cannabis movement here in Australia and around the globe.
5. If you could have coffee with anyone on Earth, who would it be? Why?
If I could have coffee with anyone on Earth, it would be Trent Cotchin, Australian Football League Brownlow medalist and Premiership Captain of the Richmond Football Club. I’ve been a life-long Richmond supporter, so to see how his personal leadership completely transformed the club’s culture and on-field performance after the 2016 season was truly inspirational. I would have a lot of questions I would like to ask him about that.