Challenging the Status Quo of Sterile Environments

Terra Kremer, corporate relationship manager at Nelson Laboratories, was interviewed by Foreste Peterson for her series about conversations with inspirational Utah women in business. Peterson writes for the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

What brought you to Utah?

My parents brought me here from California because they loved the seasons.

What’s been your career path? How did you get started in the life sciences industry?

I am someone who has a lot of ideas. I try to think big and innovate. That being said, I spent a lot of time figuring out what exactly I wanted to do. I went to the University of Utah and studied chemistry. While I was in school, I wasn’t able to pay my bills, so I started waiting tables, which introduced me to the wine industry.

After I graduated, I moved to California and worked at U.C. Davis to study oenology, where I got my first glimpse into chemistry in a work setting. However, I realized that working at a winery in reality wasn’t very glamorous and that line of work wasn’t for me.

I then returned to Utah to help my sick younger brother. In the meantime, I started my first job in the health sciences industry at the DNA/Peptide Synthesis lab. I was still not in love with this job so I kept exploring.  Eventually I found myself at Nelson Labs where I joined the Sales Team. Right away, I loved the culture and was passionate about my new position that integrated business and science.

Can you explain what exactly you do and how it has an impact on medicine and patient outcomes?

My job, in particular, is to design test plans for medical devices, pharma and tissues to assure sterility. At Nelson we make sure our clients’ processes are in control and repeatable. As an example, I strive to ensure that there is no bioburden – bugs – on doctors’ tools that could potentially make patients sick. In broader terms, my job is to save lives!

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