Ulrika Lin, Life Science Business Developer, is in charge of Consat’s new initiative in the field of medical technology and med-tech manufacturing.
Over the years, Consat Engineering has worked on a range of projects with companies in the medical technology sector, with many of Consat’s employees working with related technology at clients. While the company has medical technology experience and know-how, however, life science is a separate sector with its own specific needs and criteria. Consat needs to get better acquainted with the sector to be able to work in it.
Which is why Consat Engineering has hired Ulrika Lin as its Life Science Business Developer. Lin’s mission is to strengthen Consat’s presence in the sector, develop and expand its expertise in specific areas, and make the company the go-to partner for medical technology firms that need help with product or production development.
Lin joined Consat in the spring of 2021, leaving Alten, where she headed a team that was focused on life sciences. She has extensive and broad-ranging experience of both project development and leadership. The road to heading Consat’s new life science initiative has been a multi-country journey. Let’s just say Ulrika has done and seen her fair share.
Traversing the world
As many others at Consat, Lin took the first steps of her technical career at a Swedish university.
“I studied Mechanical Engineering in Luleå before joining SKF as a trainee,” Lin recounts.
“Then I spotted an ad for a position at Ericsson Hewlett Packard Telecommunications (EHPT) that would allow me to travel. I was offered a contract and learnt how to code on the job, so I could tailor EHPT’s apps to different international clients. I did a bit of Java programming, some C and a lot of scripting,” she remembers.
“Our department had an ongoing ‘competition’ to see who had travelled to the most countries. I don’t think I ever won, though. I spent a few years in Greece and travelled to France, South Africa and the Balkans. Sticking to one time zone, really,” Lin says and laughs.
“The job was so much fun!
After moving around for a while, my husband and I moved to Switzerland, where we stayed for four years,” she goes on.
“I did an MBA there and got a job as a Business Support Analyst at Orange. They used the same EHPT products I’d already worked with, so I helped develop and provided support for those applications at Orange.
“When we had our first child, we decided to return to Sweden. I first went back to Ericsson, working in many different roles before applying to join Alten, where I became Team Lead for the company’s Embedded Systems unit. It was at Alten that my journey into life sciences took off,” Lin says.
Experience of the sector
“I formed an inhouse group of 30-35 people at Alten that focused on medical devices and life sciences. We developed several fascinating med-tech devices, including a dosimeter to adjust medication levels – a single project and product that drew on broad-ranging expertise in mechanics, electronics and other fields. We needed to learn about all the different standards and brought together people with a wealth of different skills.”
“But life sciences is a sector, and teams at consultancy firms tend to be skills-based rather than sector-based,” Lin warns.
That disaccord turned out to be a problem at Alten, a major consultancy group.
“All kinds of specialists work in the field of life sciences, from lab analysts to chemical or biological engineers and validation technicians. Quality assurance is crucial, because there are so many standards that need to be respected, both during development and production. And there’s a whole different vocabulary, different terms.
Finding an audience for these highly specialised skills outside of the field of life sciences isn’t always easy, which can be a problem for a consultancy firm,” Ulrika explains.
“The problem was that the organisation, which formed teams based on skills, didn’t quite know what to do with my sector-based team. After endless rounds of discussions, Alten decided to break up the team and assign its members to other departments. At that point, I decided to look for other opportunities.”
The path to Consat
“I already knew Ragnar (Hallgren) from Consat. He had given me a good impression of the company and I was looking for a job that was more closely related to the tech side of things. I really like Consat’s slogan ‘Passion about Technology’,” Ulrika enthuses.
When she met with Orvar (Hurtig, CEO of Consat Engineering) and Ragnar, Consat expressed an interest in life sciences and asked Lin to head a new initiative.
Lin sees plenty of opportunities for Consat to engage with the sector, given the company’s track record and the numerous potential clients and partners in and around Gothenburg and the rest of Sweden.
“Gothenburg is already a life science hub because of Astra [Zeneca] and the startups at GoCo Health Innovation City. And a host of companies continue to develop [Per-Ingvar] Brånemark’s legacy of titanium implants and osseointegration,” Lin adds.
“But we shouldn’t just limit ourselves to Gothenburg; there are plenty of life science companies in the Stockholm area too,” Lin says.
“Since joining Consat, I’ve mainly been reviewing and summarising what the company has already done in the field – which is actually a lot! When I ask them about life sciences, many colleagues who’ve been with Consat for ages say ‘Oh, we don’t know anything about that, we’ve never done any of that.’ But we’ve worked with a long list of clients in the field, from Astra in Stockholm to Cochlear, Wellspect and Fresenius Kabi!” Lin laughs as she recounts the situation.
“Like I said: I’m targeting a specific sector, which needs many different skillsets. I plan on forming a core team to handle the specific needs of the sector itself, but I’ll also be working to help Consat’s other skills-based departments access life science clients.”
“I’ll be the proverbial glue that holds Consat’s life science initiative together. Naturally, I’ll start with the know-how we already have and established products like Consat’s vision system, CQV,” Ulrika adds.
Opportunities aplenty for Consat
“I believe we should focus on three tracks right now,” Lin says.
“First, we need to expand our operations in fields we’re already working in, like mechanics and production or CQV. Next, we need to establish our inhouse capacity to develop medical technology products. I’ll be looking to recruit someone who knows the relevant medical technology standards, to manage the project.
Third, I want Consat to become a household name in the sector, make sure everyone knows we possess these skills and that our consultants are working with life science clients,” Lin sets out her strategy.
“I also think there are a lot of opportunities for us to work with SES here, for example with clients who are struggling with the indoor environment of their production facilities,” Lin adds.