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Science Graduates

Frederik Defesche

Frederik Defesche

What I do now: Currently I am working to start up my second pharmaceutical company. This company focuses on the development of generic hospital-based products.

My work/job consists of: Strategic evaluation of products we are considering, focusing on complexity, market size and sales potential. Then we work to reverse engineer the brand products, develop our version of it, tech transfer it to a full scale manufacturing facility, perform testing on the product, and work it through the FDA before starting to sell the product.

Path to my current career position (how I got from the past to the present): This is actually a unique approach. While studying at LSUS, my intention was always to be a doctor. However, I wanted to go to medical school in Texas. While waiting to establish Texas residency, I enrolled in the chemical engineering department at the University of Texas and took some biomedical engineering classes. This shifted my interest from practicing medicine to developing medicines. However, working in chemical engineering at UT was heavily geared toward the oil industry, so I took it upon myself to find a place to work. At that time the internet was in its infancy, so I used it to find pharmaceutical companies all over the US. I was ultimately hired at SuperGen in the San Francisco area. The problem was I was right out of school and the internet industry was going crazy, which made the Bay area incredibly expensive to live in. So, I took a job in more-affordable Chicago where I was first introduced to generic injectable drugs. I took a real liking to this field as it was fast-paced with a lot of variety. Unlike the traditional drug development market where you can spend an entire career working on one product, we work on a new product every 6-12 months. Having grown up in Shreveport, the brutal winters of Chicago were very tough and seeing snow in April was not pleasant. One day out of the blue my old boss from SuperGen called me and offered me a job in Orange County California. I jumped at the opportunity because it would allow me to lead my own department. Things were going great and the CEO of the company sparked my interest in starting my own venture, so at the age of 31 with a wife and two kids, I decided to quit my job and start my own service-based company. Working out of my house, I grew my company to a multiple-facility company with 20 employees and our own products on the market. I stayed there for nine years and sold it to begin all over again learning from my mistakes along the way. Hopefully in another nine years the next chapter will be even more interesting!

How I got to LSUS (or why I chose LSUS): I got a full scholarship and my parents promised me a new car if they didn't have to pay for college.

Fond memories of LSUS: I would say it was hanging out between classes and the intramural sports.

LSUS faculty who helped me: My most memorable faculty were Dr. Cran Lucas and Dr. Michael Brendler (our fraternity advisor).

How LSUS helped me succeed: The small classes and intimate relationships with my fellow students allowed me to develop ways to collaborate with others and seek help when needed.

Advice to college-bound students: Take the opportunity to enjoy college both from a learning and personal development experience. Take in all you can, because it is your last time of freedom before having real responsibilities.

Advice to someone who wants to enter my field: Participate in internships or jobs related to your field whenever possible. It will make it much easier to get your first real job.

Tips on choosing a major or career: Pick something you are passionate about if possible. Life is too short to dread going to work or have no interest in what you are doing. For a major, like I tell my kids, pick anything as long as you can get a job doing it.

My toughest professional challenge: Starting my own business. It can be extremely rewarding, but also the most frightening thing when you see the bank account drop and you have people who rely on you for their livelihood.

My toughest personal challenge: Balancing work and family time.

Successes (honors, awards, etc.) in my life: My biggest success was developing my first company and making it into something bigger than just me.

I've learned this from life: Failures and mistakes are better for teaching lessons than success.

What I'd be doing if I had all the time in the world: I'd learn to fly a plane!

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