May 2014

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PS&S Newsletter May 2014
From the Corner Office

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Every business that withstood market and competitive pressures and thrived in the marketplace has a story of accomplishment to tell. Of course, the industry is in transition. Some of the great names of the past are gone, acquired and absorbed by one-time rivals. Mergers and consolidation are a continuous process. Globalization has significantly altered the way drugs and medical devices are made and marketed.

At every turn, PS&S has played an important role. We’ve made significant contributions to the design and engineering of corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities that helped establish these visionary companies as world leaders. That remains true today. Our Life Sciences teams are widely acknowledged as among the best in the business. Our client list features many of the top drug- and device-making companies. We’ve developed strong business partnerships abroad to meet global demand.

Besides technical expertise, it takes foresight, and an ability to adapt quickly to changing market, consumer and regulatory forces, to succeed in such a volatile industry. The May edition of our newsletter explores some of those qualities, and the people and projects that have contributed to our success.

This month, we focus on Emad Youssef, who has overseen the remarkable growth of our Life Sciences group since we handed him the reins more than 25 years ago. Our work with Genzyme Biosurgery (now Sanofi Biosurgery) in renovating a single-product plant to become a modern multi-product manufacturing facility in the Meadowlands has been ground-breaking in many ways. It’s the subject of our Case in Point. Finally, the Employee Spotlight shines on Luis Silvestre, who has been with the firm less than a year but whose talents are already making an impact.

For more information, please contact Anthony Sartor at, or John Sartor at

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FOCUS ON: PS&S an the Life Sciences Sector

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Youssef, who is in charge of the firm’s overall Life Sciences business, has seen enormous changes in the sector over the past two decades, changes that have transformed the industry and increasingly required design, engineering and regulatory advisory services that are innovative and adaptive to client and market demands.

The PS&S connection to the industry was a natural. As Youssef recalls, New Jersey was the “medicine chest of the country” when he arrived at the firm more than 30 years ago. “That was what it was known as at the time,” he said. Many major drug manufacturers had established headquarters and production facilities in New Jersey, and the region continues to be home to the U.S. headquarters of some of the largest and most recognizable companies in the industry, such as Johnson and Johnson, Novartis, Becton Dickinson, Pfizer and Merck.

Over the past three decades, PS&S’s total services capabilities have become a valuable resource for industry clients.

“Not many firms our size can offer the wide range of specialties we have,” said Youssef. Those services, he said, include early site selection and regulatory approvals stage, full design and engineering of complex research and development and manufacturing spaces, and the infrastructure that supports them.

The firm’s reputation for excellence is widely recognized. It consistently ranks among the top firms nationally in the area of pharmaceuticals. The industry accounts for about 30 percent of PS&S’s revenue.

Youssef noted that evolving market and consumer needs have redirected the industry over the last quarter-century. The 1980s and ‘90s were a time of rapid industry growth and expansion. By the beginning of the last decade, many drug companies were facing the "patent cliff" – losing exclusive rights to “blockbuster” medicines and devices they had developed and marketed that are now being produced by generic drug manufacturers.

A wave of major multi-billion-dollar mergers and acquisitions followed, helping companies acquire new drugs in complementary market areas much faster than the time it took to develop them. The biotechnology industry has defined much of the Life Sciences market in developed nations, and the rise of middle-class populations in emerging nations – including the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China – dictated that drug companies should maintain more global operations.

These have provided new opportunities and challenges for the industry, and for PS&S. The firm has established global alliances to serve multinational clients in Europe, Asia and throughout the Americas, Youssef said, while offering the same high level of quality to minimize risks for key U.S-based multinationals. “We’re a presence in every important Life Sciences hub in the Northeast,” he said.

“It’s a highly specialized area, where science and engineering merge to aid in the development of new, much-needed and complex biologics-based medicines,” Youssef said. “We are fortunate that PS&S has attracted some of the best talent in the industry.”

For more information, please contact Emad Youssef at

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CASE IN POINT: Genzyme Biosurgery

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PS&S provided total service capabilities to meet the client’s needs, which entailed process, MEPS, architectural, structural, civil, environmental and other consulting services. The result was the transformation of the facility in Ridgefield, N.J. that featured expansion of 55,000 square feet of LEED Gold/Platinum office and laboratory space, and 80,000 square feet of manufacturing space, including provisions for gowning, warehousing and packaging areas, and upgraded site utilities.

“This has been one of our most interesting projects, and one of our most rewarding,” said PS&S Senior Vice President Emad Youssef, PE, who oversees the firm’s Life Sciences business.

Genzyme (now Sanofi Biosurgery) has seen production grow steadily to meet increasing patient demand for its medicines in the United States and across the globe. The company develops and markets surgical devices and biologics for osteoarthritis pain relief, adhesion reduction, cartilage repair and severe burn treatment.

A multi-year master plan was developed by Genzyme and engineered by PS&S for the repurposing of the plant. Major infrastructure upgrades were undertaken to increase production, and to accommodate biologics and surgical devices production. The installation of new automated process equipment and containment systems increased production and improved worker safety.

Careful planning and execution was required, according to Tom Scally and Gino Nasi, the project manager and HVAC lead, respectively. In addition to working within stringent federal and local guidelines necessitated by the plant’s location in the environmentally sensitive New Jersey Meadowlands location, project designers and engineers had to overcome stifling space constraints to enhance the outdated physical plant.

With program expansion utilizing exceptional strategic planning, manufacturing innovations and an emphasis on product quality and environmentally sensitive design, Genzyme has experienced considerable cost savings in product manufacturing and higher worker productivity, among other benefits.

Lou Cicchese, the client’s Principal Project Manager – Operations, cited the company’s strong working relationship with PS&S for enabling them to achieve a seamless operation that continues to prove effective to this day.

“PS&S is not just another architectural and engineering fim, but a partner in helping us to perform key projects for Genzyme,” he said. “They have a “whatever it takes” approach to completing assignments and programs on time.”

For more information, please contact Emad Youssef at

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His search took him to New Jersey, where he previously had done consulting and design reviews with Bristol-Myers Squibb. “I knew New Jersey had good engineering companies working in pharma,” he said. He wound up joining PS&S in August 2013, working from the Warren headquarters.

“It felt like a perfect fit,” he said. “I liked the way the organization was set up. I was looking for a challenging position, a lead role, and a longer-term relationship.”

Silvestre brought an unusual breadth of experience to his new position. His professional training back home provided a comprehensive grounding in the field and has given him a well-rounded view of the mechanical design trade.

“In Puerto Rico, you don’t have the luxury of focusing on one subject,” he said. “There, we had to carry out our practice to take care of everything. One day I might do ventilation, then maybe piping the next day.”

Among other clients in Puerto Rico, he worked with Pfizer on HVAC and utility projects. Since coming to PS&S, his clients have included Boehringer Ingelheim, BMS and Novartis. His primary areas of expertise with the firm are HVAC systems for manufacturing, R&D and office spaces, as well as utilities.

Silvestre, whose father is a retired Army pilot in Puerto Rico, lives in Montgomery with his wife and two sons. His background in all aspects of mechanical engineering has served him well during his time at PS&S. The variety of assignments, a result of the ever-changing nature of the business and how drugs and devices are manufactured, keeps him busy.

With the pharma industry in New Jersey and throughout the region undergoing a significant makeover as a result of mergers, acquisitions, consolidation and moves toward specialization, Silvestre said the challenges, and opportunities, for PS&S are increasing.

“It’s a more competitive market right now for Life Sciences companies,” he said. “This kind of work is exciting. I like dynamic environments. I’m not one content to sit in a corner, I like to be challenged continually.”

For more information, please contact Luis Silvestre at

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