This month, we are spotlighting Steve Testen, Biosero’s director of engineering and integrated solutions. He’s been with Biosero since 2017. He oversees multiple teams that build and install our workcells. He is involved in planning all our customer projects including setting the budget, estimating labor needs, and drafting associated documentation. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel University.
Q: What do you do at Biosero?
A: I oversee the teams that design, build, and deploy our integrated workcells for customers. I am in charge of the design team that generates the final production design of our automated workcells and custom engineering projects. Our workcells integrate off-the-shelf instrumentation and we design all the ancillary components that integrate everything. I also oversee the automation team that builds the system and tests the components to prepare it for the applications team, who performs the factory acceptance testing. We also then support the field automation team, who execute the installation and test all the components at the customer site. I am also responsible for generating standard project documentation, setting quality standards for the workcells, and estimating how much labor is required for each customer project.
Q: How did you get on this career path?
A: While I did not start out my career in the life sciences, I have always had an interest in automation. My background is in mechanical engineering, and I have had a wide range of experiences in mechanical and electrical design, programming, and automation in general. Prior to Biosero, I worked for a defense contractor where I built automated robotic systems for fabricating and inspecting new products.
Q: What brought you to Biosero?
A: I’ve always been interested in designing and building fully automated systems from the ground up. I moved to San Diego from Philadelphia and found Biosero where I started out as an automation engineer while learning everything about life sciences that I could.
Q: What’s one thing you wish more people know about laboratory automation?
A: Automation makes everyone’s lives easier, more efficient, and more reliable. I want people to get over that fear of automation and embrace the really powerful benefits it provides. At Biosero, our mission is to make automation easy for anyone to use. We do that by helping our customers go through the process of designing and implementing their systems so that they can fully utilize the power of automation.
Q: If you could automate anything in your life, what would it be?
I would automate doing the laundry, particularly the folding part of it.
Q: What’s your best career advice?
A: Learn everything you can and try out as many different things as possible. It’s important to recognize that every good or bad experience is a learning opportunity so give your all to every project you are working on. Even if it seems trivial, there’s always something to learn.
Q: What was the first thing you ever wanted to be when you grew up?
A: When I was young, I wanted to be an architect and design and build houses. I made the pivot to mechanical engineering in high school because I realized I liked physics and math.
Q: What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?
A: I think most of my colleagues know this but I’m a twin. My twin, who is a programmer, is also out here in San Diego. When they see us together, people are sometimes shocked by how similar we are.