Employee Spotlight: Darren Benedick
Job satisfaction describes the level of fulfillment or enjoyment you experience in your job. Every day, Darren Benedick goes to work to develop investigational biological products for Phase I and II clinical trials—a rewarding career that is on the forefront of biomedical research.
Benedick is a Manufacturing Manager for the Biopharmaceutical Development Program and has been involved in in development of two cutting-edge therapies: PVSRIPO, a non-pathogenic version of poliovirus used to treat glioblastoma (an aggressive type of brain cancer) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, an autologous cell therapy line to treat acute myeloid leukemia, a particularly aggressive form of pediatric blood cancer.
“I have been directly involved in some pretty special projects that I hope have had a lasting and positive impact on the patients involved,” he said. Benedick reflects on his 16-year career at Frederick National Laboratory in our interview below.
How did you become interested in your line of work, and what drew you to the Frederick National Laboratory?
I became interested in biotechnology during my undergrad time at Penn State, where I majored in Biotechnology. Science had always been a favorite subject ever since I was a little kid. At the time I went to college, biotechnology was really starting to take off and become a mainstream line of study and work. I found the Frederick National Laboratory operations contractor at a college job fair, and talking to their representatives, got a feeling it would be a good fit for me. It was also relatively close to home, so that played a role as well.
What do you enjoy about working at the Frederick National Laboratory?
I love that we have a tangible impact on the lives of people. Having been a part of some successful trials and work has been extremely rewarding, and when I take a moment to pause and reflect, that is really the most important thing I have been a part of in my time here. Secondarily, it would be the people I work with. Most of us have been together for more than 15 years and they are not just coworkers, they are family. We've seen each other get married, have kids, and see those kids go off to college. We enjoy our work and each other’s company which is something you don't always find in a work environment.
What piece of advice has helped you in your career?
That hard work and good work is noticed and rewarded, even when you think no one is noticing. To pitch in and help whenever you notice things need done, not just look the other way and say, "it’s not my job." And to work hard, but also have balance and remember that family is always the most important thing.