Eric Meissner

Eric Meissner ’15 M.S. Biotechnology

By Pamela Dean

Camarillo-native Eric Meissner never planned on working at the business his parents founded in 1984, Meissner Filtration Products. 

“I was in the same position many high school and even undergraduate college students are commonly in,” Meissner recalled. “I had no idea what I wanted to do after college.” 

In 2009, he earned dual bachelor’s degrees in Information Technology and Supply Chain Management from Wisconsin’s Marquette University and set his sights on a position at Harley Davidson or Miller Brewery. When the struggling economy put a damper on his plans, he ended up fixing computers and troubleshooting IT systems at a fortune 500 financial services company. But the corporate culture was a shock to his system and after a year he realized how special a family business can be. 

“I always knew the family business was an amazing place, but I didn’t realize how unique it was until I spent time outside the company,” Meissner said.

He headed back home to Camarillo and began working as a Procurement Coordinator at Meissner Filtration. The company specializes in making filters that physically remove particles such as bacteria and virus from liquids and gasses. The single-use systems they design and fabricate are essential to the manufacture of medicine. 

A few years into his new job, Meissner realized he needed a deeper background in science than his undergraduate degree provided.

“I found myself visiting a customer pharmaceutical manufacturing facility and entered a meeting with engineers and scientists who wanted to discuss technical details. Although I knew a fair amount about our filters and systems, how our customer used our products was completely foreign to me,” Meissner recollected. “I realized if I wanted to grow in the company and avoid embarrassing situations, I would need to build a foundation in bioprocessing.”

Meissner didn’t have to look far to find a university that offered the exact master’s program in Biotechnology that he was looking for. 

“Most science programs I had looked into focused on academic research which would help me little at my work, but the program at CSUCI focused exactly on what our customers were doing – the process of making medicine. It was a bonus that classes were less than a 20-minute drive from my house. On top of all that, I could continue working full time since many classes were offered at night.”

Meissner believes the degree he earned at CSUCI was essential to his success at the company.

“Obtaining my M.S. in Biotechnology enabled me to understand how my customers use our products. It gave me the foundation to communicate on an equal level, but more importantly it empowered me with the knowledge I needed to work confidently with the brilliant scientists and engineers of our industry.”

Since graduating from CSUCI in 2015, Meissner has gone on to become the organization’s Supply Chain Operations Manager. 

The company’s products are critical to many pharmaceutical processes including the rapid development of vaccines, and Meissner Filtration has played an essential role in the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines.   

“When COVID-19 turned the world upside down and the race for vaccines and treatments began, we were armed with the fastest lead times and a brand-new Camarillo facility which opened in January 2020 with space in our massive cleanrooms,” he said.

In fact, Meissner Filtration was the only major manufacturer with the capacity to not only respond to the wave of demand but also to accommodate its existing customers, many of whom make life-saving medicines and therapies. Today they are suppliers to nearly every COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer, filling an unprecedented need.

In addition to assisting with his company’s efforts to inoculate the country against the deadly disease, Meissner continues to stay involved with CSUCI, serving on the Alumni & Friends Association Board.

“I loved my time at CSUCI and truly have a desire to contribute to its growth,” he said. “Also, the graduates will become professionals who I want to hire. Many CSUCI alumni have become Meissner employees.”

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© Spring 2021 / Volume 26 / Number 1 / Biannual

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