Last November, BioSurplus’ VP of business development, Dawn Hocevar was interviewed by Ed Miseta, chief editor of Outsourced Pharma. The piece was part of a series of interviews with women executives in the biotech and pharma industries sponsored by the organization Women In Bio (WIB).
Hocevar, in addition to her role at BioSurplus is also currently serving as WIB’s national chair of programs and development, where she works with local chapters to execute programs that promote careers, leadership and entrepreneurship for women in the life sciences.
Over her 20-plus year career, Dawn Hocevar has developed a deep knowledge of laboratory equipment and the needs of researchers and facilities managers in the industry. She got her start as a bench scientist, and went on to work for Thermo Fisher in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was a corporate account manager and senior sales representative focusing on area biotechs and universities.
She’s been at BioSurplus for six years and has a wealth of information to share with current and future clients when it comes to buying, selling and maintaining valuable research laboratory equipment. In the Outsourced Pharma interview, she touches on some of the most important topics and best practices.
What Should Biotech Companies Look For In A Used-Equipment Supplier?
Buying used lab equipment can be a challenge. There are numerous small businesses in the market that sell equipment from their garage, warehouse or on eBay. It’s hard to tell if they’re reputable or will sell you equipment that’s in working order.
In the interview, Hocevar provides detailed information on what to look for in a used-equipment supplier. Among her recommendations are:
- Do some research: find out how long the re-seller has been in business, and look up their Better Business Bureau rating
- Make sure the company has a return policy and offers a warranty; also find out where the equipment came from—was it in a working lab, or had the equipment been in storage for many years?
- Keep in mind that the purchase price might not be the full cost of the equipment you buy: Will professional installation be necessary? Will you need to purchase a software license?
What Should We Do With Our Surplus Lab Equipment? Best Practices.
Hocevar states that researchers tend to hang on to equipment they’re not using, in case they need it later. Unfortunately, the longer that equipment gathers dust in a warehouse or storeroom, the less it’s worth to another user. She recommends that companies establish a plan to regularly identify unused equipment and dispose of it quickly, while the technology is still current.
As a rule of thumb, companies should sell surplus equipment within ten years of the manufacture date. It’s also important to keep service records on hand. Customers like to know that the equipment they’re purchasing has been kept in good shape by its previous owner; equipment with this documentation will command a higher price.
Women In Bio
Women In Bio was founded in 2002 by Robbie Melton in the Washington, D.C. area. Melton wanted to create a forum where women in the local life sciences industry could come together and celebrate each other’s successes. The group’s footprint later expanded nationwide, and now WIB counts 11 chapters and more than 1000 members.
In the interview, Hocevar talks about the importance of WIB in the professional development of women in biotech. Its programs and events offer advice to women in all stages of their careers, from students to C-level executives. She says that one of the things she loves the most about WIB is that, “members and the women who come to the events genuinely want to connect, share their stories, and help young women explore a career in biotech.”
Although much has changed since Hocevar began her career, women are still grossly underrepresented in corporate boardrooms. In order to break through the glass ceiling, women must learn to assert themselves in the workplace; she also believes in the power of mentorship—WIB provides women with many opportunities to seek out mentors that can help them move up the corporate ladder.