One way to judge the fit of a potential new employer is to hear what attracted current employees and how well the company is meeting their expectations. This blog shares employee impressions prior to joining and their experiences being part of the team.
First, Founder and CEO (23 years), Scott Phillips, describes his intent for the company and employees: I created StarFish to be a place where people are passionate about being impactful, really getting to the essence of product development and doing work they love. It was created for people to be happy, basically. We want to be impactful with our clients and for the ultimate patients. But mostly I founded the company to create work, and be the perfect place for people who love big thinking, discovery-based, complex development.
Quality & Regulatory Leader (10+ years): I joined StarFish to do more meaningful work that would impact people’s health and bring products to the market that change the outcome of their conditions or diseases. On a personal level, I wanted to expand my knowledge of regulations and standards. On a quality level, I wanted to bring the knowledge that I have and implement it in a different setting, in a different industry. From my initial conversations with Scott and other early employees, I was attracted to a fast-paced environment where you are never bored because there are different projects. There is something exciting happening all the time: interactions with the clients with new technologies, cutting-edge technologies, just being advanced and on the edge of things.
I was not disappointed. I am never bored, there is way too much going on. I am in meetings with clients and they come up with some crazy idea. And I’m thinking, “How are we going to do this?” Then an employee will say, “Oh, no problem, we’re going to do this and this and that,” then go to a whiteboard and draw something – problem solved. So it is always exciting.
Software Engineer (2+ months): My initial chats with people at StarFish really impacted the way I thought about working for a company. The culture and people were definitely the number one attraction at StarFish. Second was the fact that the work is something I’m passionate about. The fact that you’re facilitating the process of innovation, taking ideas into the actual world outside. That’s exciting. I have hopes and I think that the excitement is going to stay and even improve.
QA/RA Leader (2 years): What attracted me to StarFish was the opportunity to come move to beautiful British Columbia. And it’s definitely come true. It’s been amazing to live in the Victoria area, being so close to the beaches and forests and the mountains. It’s been great working with StarFish. It’s the same role, same industry, same type of companies that I was working in before. I love doing this sort of thing because it’s incessant in a consultancy. You never know what’s coming up next.
Microfluidics Leader (4 years): Five things attracted me. The first one is the teamwork and the culture of the company. I like it so much. Second is the opportunity to work with different clients and a variety of projects which makes it exciting. Sharing my experience and expertise with product development people. Meeting with people – experts and clients all over North America. That’s another thing. And the last one is I meet a lot of crazy people in the company with complex ideas and solutions that they offer to solve problems.
Human Factors Engineer (4 years): StarFish was my first opportunity to be directly involved with product development as a human factors engineer. It’s quite a unique position. I was lucky to be able to find a position that I was looking for as an individual who was quite early on her career at the time. What’s continued to attract me is the type of work and the people. You’re directly involved in the thick of it in the most important times. And the people that I work with continue to amaze me and motivate me every day with how passionate every single person is on each team.
Manufacturing Engineer (2 years): I’ve been interested in StarFish since university. A fellow student did his first co-op at StarFish, then told me all about it. Back then my dream was to do things like robotic prosthesis, so I was really interested in working at StarFish. But they hired my friend before he graduated, so there weren’t really any openings at that time. I left Victoria to work abroad in the electronics industry doing robotic design. When I came back to Canada I heard there was a position at StarFish. It was a no brainer. I wanted to join the team. Through my experience, I’ve changed from the design side to the manufacturing side, so I haven’t fully seen what goes on in the engineering area, but I am enjoying my time here. Like everyone else has been saying, it’s the people, I really enjoy working here with a great team.
Software Engineer (5 months): One thing that impressed me right off the bat was that the interviews became conversations pretty quickly, which felt like great people who I’d want to work with. That was very impressive even before joining up. Moving from academia, it felt great to actually be making a tangible impact, or at least an impact that’s more tangible sooner than several hundred years when working on interstellar travel or something like that. Finally, the fact that it’s a more rapidly changing landscape, we get new projects continuously that always require new solutions to new problems. It keeps it interesting and means that I’m constantly having to learn things or pick up new skills, which is really rewarding.
QA/RA Specialist (5 years): I remember coming to StarFish as part of a tour with the Island Women in Science and Technology Group. The former Director of QA/RA was one of our hosts. I remember thinking – and at that point I was still working for the federal government – here’s somebody with a science background working at a for-profit company, doing really neat things and we have similar backgrounds with plants (biology) of all things. And I thought, “If somebody can be Director of QA/RA with a plant degree, maybe there’s hope for me.” And then we toured the facility. We went through product design and manufacturing. I had no idea that StarFish had even existed. It was such a low profile drive-by in the streets. I thought it was a walk in medical clinic until I came in and saw all the facilities and met everybody. After that tour, I was like, “OK, I’m going to see how I can get involved with this company”. And that has turned out pretty awesome.
Principal Engineering Physicist (15 years) Not shockingly, lots of people have mentioned a bunch of the reasons, maybe all of the reasons that I was excited to work here. One was the super varied work in a multidisciplinary, consulting engineering firm rather than a product company. I also noticed that a lot of the work was from a pretty low level, which was nice. It wasn’t just grabbing bunch off the shelf stuff, it was understanding things and designing things from an appropriate level. I liked the fact that StarFish is on Vancouver Island because one of my goals was to be or stay on the island at that time. And also, I liked that their work is humanly meaningful. It isn’t frivolous. I think everybody recognizes that making medical devices is pretty important.
All of those things were true, as it turned out. Obviously, the company is quite different from what it used to be. There were 22 people when I started, and now there’s a “few” more than that. I still get to do a lot of the same things that I used to do and work on the same sorts of projects, maybe in a slightly different capacity, but the work is still meaningful. It’s still fun and multidisciplinary, and we still get plucked out of our comfort zone and learn new stuff, which is great. I could mention one more thing, because this was one quite unique thing about StarFish compared to anywhere else that I had worked at or interviewed with. They understood what an engineering physicist was. The first time I actually got to call myself what I am, which was kind of neat.
Administrative Assistant (9 months) There were primarily two elements. First, in general is the culture and being able to work in a collaborative, challenging work environment. And the other element is the opportunity to work in a completely new area because my previous experience was mostly within cultural institutions or universities.
Marketing Lead (8 years) What attracted me to StarFish was Scott. He was the only person among the many executives that I met in Vancouver and Victoria who wanted to take marketing beyond just getting the next lead and take it to the next level and the level beyond that, all the way up to thought leadership. I’m happy to say that Scott and the company have made that journey and continue to grow. He’s always looking for how he can do things better and more interesting, and gathering and generating new ideas. That’s a pretty good career for a marketing person.
If you are considering a new job or career change and like what you have read, visit our career page. We are hiring in Victoria, BC and Toronto, ON.
Image: StarFish Medical
Astero StarFish is the attributed author of StarFish Medical team blogs. We value teamwork and collaborate on all of our medical device development projects.