SQA News | Summer 2021

Wins & Challenges

Summer Greetings!

I’m happy to write this as I’m being thoroughly entertained by all the athletes competing for the Gold from countries around the world.  So crazy seeing empty stands while dreams are realized but I must commend Tokyo for a largely uneventful Olympics and Paralympics given the current myriad of Covid distractions.  Tokyo will likely be a model for future competitions held in these uncertain times, they seemed highly organized during a time where chaos has a near undefeated record.  As a side note, I loved watching all the countries represented where we have an Associate and/or client presence.  So many memories come to mind as I see the different colors of flags and hear their respective anthems played as their winning athletes stare at their colors – usually joined by tears that were created by finally realizing their dreams after all the hard work, dedication and sacrifice required to be on the podium.  I have great memories of trips I’ve taken along with other SQA team members to Budapest, São Paulo, Shanghai, Amsterdam and Melbourne to name a few. I have been fortunate to meet different clients and Associates all over the world.  Sports are so important, especially during turbulent times like these – and it was a breath of fresh air to hear newsworthy events that were largely positive, as opposed to many of the other things making headlines these days in less heart-warming ways.

Just like the Olympics and Paralympics, we have had more than our fair share of Wins and Challenges at SQA.  First some wins where we heard our anthem and earned Gold:


Record Number of Audits Scheduled

Following such a rocky 2020, our clients and their suppliers have all found ways to adapt to a post-COVID world and are making up for lost time. This, in addition to our work with the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers, has meant a surge in audit activity to levels we usually only see in the fourth quarter ‘squeeze’. Our awesome operations group has jumped into overdrive, and over the Summer has confirmed 200% more audits that was planned for the period. Take a bow SQA Ops!

Partnership Building Events on the Rise

In addition to the multitude of day-to-day operational meetings we have with our clients, we try to set aside time just to focus on the success and future of each relationship. During these meetings – typically known as “QBRs” (Quarterly Business Reviews) – we evaluate the key performance indicators for the program(s) in place, discuss what’s working well, what’s presenting challenges, and what lies ahead. Over the last few months, we’ve hit a record number of QBRs with clients like Pfizer, Google, L3Harris, Gilead, Church & Dwight, Blue Origin, Johnson & Johnson, Estee Lauder, Moderna, and many more. This tells me that our clients are increasingly relying on SQA as a key part of their supplier quality function, and that they trust and respect the performance and potential of their SQA teams – congratulations all!

 The SQA Family Keeps Growing!

We’ve added 15 people to our team in the last three months to accommodate growth and still aren’t finished.  Specifically, we’ve added three in ADM, four in Content, five in Operations, and three in Field Engineering.  One employee in particular was Stephanie McKay who interned with us for a short time as a Technical Recruiter before she found a job doing the same thing in Austin, Texas which she will start this Fall.  So excited to see her enter the working world, and to see three generations working at SQA at one time!

 Journey of Hope – The Ability Experience

I am proud to tell you about SQA’s sponsorship of an incredible young man on an incredible journey. Julien Maes, a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, joined more than 100 men embarking on a cross-country trip to test their limits, spread awareness, and celebrate the abilities of all people. SQA sponsored Julian as part of his work with a philanthropic initiative called The Ability Experience. Kicking off on the West Coast, Julian and his team spent the summer crossing the country over a combined 12,000 miles with an arrival at the Capitol Lawn in Washington DC to mark the end of a life-changing event. Along the way, the team spread the message of disability awareness through local media and made stops at partner organizations where they delivered joy to their friends from the disability community. We are proud of Julian and proud to get behind such a worthy initiative.

Next are some areas where we failed to medal and/or experienced various forms of disappointments.  These challenges will undoubtedly make us stronger though in future competitions!



California has been a challenging place to have our Headquarters.  Politics aside, there’s lots of controversy with the path moving forward given the confusion that COVID brings to the table.  Clients have asked us why we are wearing masks when on Zoom calls and it’s been tough to keep everyone following the rules of social distancing while in the office.  We have always said safety is our top priority during COVID and even though all headquarters employees have been vaccinated, we still decided to make working from the office an optional activity for the time being.  We know we’re a stronger company when we’re all together, but safety, productivity, teamwork and growth cannot ignore other challenges that arise when we mandate working from the office.  I’m hopeful for more clarity in the future, but until then we will try our best to make decisions that ensure safety and productivity.  We know we’re not alone here as every company is making similar calls on a daily basis, but it clearly has been a challenge to know the best ways to navigate the waters given the various storms at sea.

Finding the Right Associates and Meeting Current Demand

This is one of my favorite challenges, because it means our clients are getting busier and we have more opportunities to get Associates into the field. Over the last sixty days in particular, demand has seen a 30% increase in requirements. And it is not just an increase in volume, but geographic spread, with needs in places like Croatia, Egypt, Vietnam, and travel-restricted EU. So if you know any good quality people – no matter where they are – don’t hesitate to put them in touch with us. I love seeing Associates rewarded with a referral bonus for putting a friend to work!

Thank you for all of your support given these challenging times.  Our product is our people and we’re so proud of how we’ve survived and thrived given the ups and downs facing all companies today.  We’ve been able to do so because of our amazing customers, Associates and HQ employees that are always there with maximum effort to make SQA the best it can be. 


We love some of the answers we’ve received in the past to some key questions; they’ve really helped shape our strategy. Please feel free to send answers/comments to these questions to me directly at mmckay@sqaservices.com.

The creative team at SQA needs your help as the team starts to draft it 2022 SQA Quality CalendarPlease submit ideas that you’d like to see featured during one of the months of next year.  Any takers?

What would you like to hear from the SQA future Newsletters that we are not currently talking about?

What can SQA do better? What are your true feelings about how we’ve done collectively over our 26-year history?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!


Thank you for all of your support given these challenging times.  Our product is our people and we’re so proud of how we’ve survived and thrived given the ups and downs facing all companies today.  We’ve been able to do so because of our amazing customers, Associates and HQ employees that are always there with maximum effort to make SQA the best it can be. 

Thanks again and please contact me with any thoughts, ideas or areas of concern mmckay@sqaservices.com.

Yours in Quality,

Mike McKay


Out & About with Team SQA

On June 17th, SQA kicked off its 2022 Strategic Planning Sessions with the first of three sessions prior to putting pen to paper for the company’s initial draft plan, due October 1st. As you can imagine, the three sessions have been filled with confidence, along with new ideas around SQA pivoting through the pandemic last year and the momentum that attributed to our success with our clients in 2021. Our annual strategic plans start with the voice from industry, asking how we can help our clients improve their supply chain on a daily basis. In the near future, you will see more creative ways to support patient and consumer safety within the stay at home and remote environments. The SQA services for our clients will continue to be more globally accessible, and as we localize these solutions, STEPQ will provide more efficient and effective tools to review performance results. Stay tuned, and as we meet during our quarterly business reviews, we will be sure to share results and strategic propositions that will support your growth in 2022 and beyond.

At the start of 2021, SQA launched “Industry Workshops”, a new program with our global SQA auditors, engineers, and inspectors. These take place on the last Tuesday of every month at 6:30am with a live virtual conference and a 5pm taped showing. In June, the workshop centered around STEPQ and SQA’s systems management. The 30-minute presentation, with 15 minutes of Q&A from our SQA global audience of Associates, focused on the SQA technology landscape. The discussion focused on controls, traceability, access, help-desk, and the amazing tools that STEPQ provides our clients within these critical industries.


Mid-June, SQA HQ went back to the office together. Better, together. Later that month, SQA attended the first in-person Southern California PDA event since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Attending from SQA were Gilberto Jimenez, Global Field Engineer Director and Brad Schultz, Executive VP of Business Development. Thank you to the SoCal PDA, Azzur Group, and Dogleg Brewery for creating the best way to start back to networking in person.  #networking, #biopharma

In the Midwest, they say if the “corn is knee high on the 4th of July”, the crop is going to be big. SQA had a lot of fun leading into celebrating our nation’s birthday as we spent time sharing photos from our past Independence Day remembrances. We also paid tribute to our new SQA home office location by picnicking together in the park across the street, which is only a few blocks from the beach. At SQA, we measure our success through our customers’ eyes. On July 4th, 2021, SQA could say that our customers were excited to partner with SQA in a big way for the rest of 2021 and beyond. Thank you for 26 years!

We don’t talk about the value of a well written audit report enough. There’s so much more that goes into an actionable, well performed audit than just being on-site. The SQA global auditors and Content teams work hand in hand to make sure we deliver world class supplier audit reports to our clients. During our July Industry Workshop session, our 12-person Content department prepared an outstanding presentation around how valuable SQA audit reports are to our clients. The secret sauce can be found at the SQA YouTube channel.

Before the pandemic, the SQA HQ team was traveling on a weekly basis, and one of the highlights of traveling is visiting with SQA Associates. Our industry experts have qualified supplier improvement activities from pre-production through postproduction within life sciences, aerospace/defense, and high-tech industries. The visit at the right took place a few months ago with Gerard Pearce, EVP of Operations at SQA, who spent a delightful few hours with our London Associate, Bisi Odutayo. She’s an absolute rock star; a scientist and quality expert who has worked at or with pretty much all our clients in the life sciences. 

SQA had a team of six at the SoCal PDA 10th Annual Industry Summit, which was the second event networking in person. Our very own Director of Global Operations, Nick Healy, led the voice of SQA at the Summit. Thank you to all the sponsors and attendees, as well as The Grand in Long Beach for hosting the event. #teamSQA #SoCalPDA

“A good Inspection makes a difference” by providing safety to all of us flying around the world, protecting internet data, and going into space. In August, this SQA Industry Workshop theme was a homerun by Ed Snider, Director of Technical Programs for SQA and his team. I would recommend that every quality assurance employee listen to SQA’s years of experience and millions of reasons why commodity experts are extremely important within a supply chain.

A movie favorite for many in Business Development is “The Internship”, where two salesmen whose careers have been halted by not keeping up with the digital age get lucky enough to navigate an internship at Google. The movie, which starred Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn and was also produced by Vaughn, had numerous scenes of the pair enjoying the Google campus. Recently, our EVP of Business Development, Brad Schultz, found himself visiting SQA’s strategic partners at the Google Mountain View campus, riding the same bikes we saw in the movies. #partnerships

Upcoming Events

SQA Virtual, Global Learning Sessions for 2021, LAST TUESDAY of every month- SEE BELOW SCHEDULE
SoCal Parenteral Drug Association (PDA) Chapter 10th Annual Industry Summit (Vendor Night) , August 24 at The Grande event center in Long Beach, CA https://www.pda.org/?aspxerrorpath=/global-event-calendar/event-detail/pda-southern-california-chapter

International Aeronautics Quality Group September 16-17, Annual RMC Auditor Workshop, Charlotte, NC , www.iaqg.org RMC Annual Auditor Workshop

PDA/FDA Joint Regulatory Conference, The Roaring 20s: Crisis, Collaboration, Commitment to Quality, September 27-29   https://www.pda.org/global-event-calendar/event-detail/pda-fda-joint-regulatory-conference

American Society of Quality (ASQ) virtual meeting October 25-26, Quality 4.0: Advances, Adoption and Advocacy https://asq.org/conferences/quality-4-0

Personal Care Product Council (PCPC), Virtual Quality Symposium, October 26, www.personalcarecouncil.org

International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering, (ISPE)  Annual Meeting & Expo, October 31-November 3, Hybrid Conference @ Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA, USA or Virtual, https://ispe.org/conferences/2021-annual-meeting-expo/exhibits-sponsorships

Quality PERSONified

Riana Lorenzen, Program Manager- Critical Manufacturing

Riana Lorenzen graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with a B.S. in Global Business Management. She spent a semester abroad in Barcelona, Spain, where she took courses in international business, international economics, Human Resources (HR) management, and Spanish. Riana began her career in marketing and knew that she wanted to transition to work in a supply chain-oriented field, which is how she found SQA Services! She started as a Program Coordinator on the SpaceX program and now serves as the Program Manager. As Program Manager, she enjoys driving quality in the aerospace industry and working with inspectors all over the United States.

Riana is a Hermosa Beach native and loves everything the South Bay has to offer. Riana grew up taking horseback riding lessons in Palos Verdes and enjoys volunteering at therapeutic horseback riding centers. Most of her family still lives in the South Bay, and she enjoys spending time with them at their family barbeques. Outside of SQA, Riana enjoys skiing, hiking, SCUBA diving, and traveling. Riana’s most recent adventures include Big Sur, CA; Anchorage, AK; and Jackson, WY.

Associate Spotlight

Meet SQA Associate Divine Repollo

I was born in the province of Pangasinan in the Philippines, and my family began immigrating to the USA in 1975. I am the youngest of seven sisters and two brothers. Even though I wanted to be a model, I thought that I was destined to be a nurse, as all of my sisters were, so I studied nursing at the University of the East. I followed my family to the USA in 1979 and initially settled in San Luis Obispo, where I completed my nursing training and obtained a job at a local hospital. There, I quickly learned that I cannot stand the sight of blood, so I changed my career goal to electronics because there is no blood there. In San Luis Obispo, I had the choice of only one company in the field of electronics, PTK (now Rantec), and I applied to it. PTK hired me as a receiving inspector, and I had no idea then that this first job would establish my working career. 

I have been working in manufacturing and the medical device industry for more than 20 years. Since my first job, I have worked as a Quality Auditor, Quality Specialist, Quality Engineer, Quality Manager, and ISO Management Representative. I have guided most of my employers to obtaining their ISO certifications. I have certificates in ISO 9000, QS9000, 13485, TS16949, TL9000, IPC-A-610, A-600, and J-STD-001/Space. I joined the SQA family in May 2018. I love that SQA is so diversified and flexible in its rewards and challenges, and it is a fun place to work, too. I am so proud to be part of the team, and it is the longest job I have had. 

I have two sons, Kris and Jon; two grandkids, KC and CJ; a loving husband; two dogs; and a large contingent of cousins and other loved ones. In between electronics work, I have been a real estate agent, loan originator, insurance agent, and retail salesperson. I love traveling, gardening, and shopping. I take ALL of the pictures for the family. It’s a Filipino family, so we take a LOT of pictures.

Apart from the above, I love being a stylist by personally showing off outfits from different brands. Styling allows people to see different possibilities that they can explore in the way they dress and encourages them to diversify their wardrobe. This is so freeing and fills me with joy because of the confidence it brings to people.

Hey Associates!

Don’t forget to send us your Already Here photos!
Tag us on social media with #SQAAlreadyHere,
or email your photos to media@sqaservices.com.

How can we help you?

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Join us online for a one-to-one webinar
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