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William Mallin
William J. Mallin '98 EMBA
Vice President for Strategic Planning and Program Management, Purdue Pharma L.P.

Using Knowledge and Opportunity to Help Save Lives

Next time your frustration flares while trying to peel off the foil seal on a medicine bottle, recall one of the original reasons it’s there, and give a partial nod to Bill Mallin ’98 EMBA.

Mallin was working for health and beauty company Richardson-Vicks Inc. in 1982 when the infamous “Tylenol Incident” rocked the country. The product-tampering case claimed lives, created considerable concern in the marketplace, and put many companies into high gear to address the problem. While Johnson & Johnson received the attention, virtually no over-the-counter pharmaceutical product – including Vicks’ NyQuil cough syrups and even the Vicks Inhaler – was unaffected.

Mallin and his colleagues were immediately assigned to deal directly with the packaging issues for Richardson-Vicks. The company’s liquid products posed unique consumer and production challenges, but they developed a solution by coming up with the now ubiquitous heat induction foil seals. Mallin and his team became well known within the company and the pharmaceutical industry for developing creative packaging solutions to heath care and toiletries products.

Mallin later joined the research and development team at Purdue Pharma L.P., a privately held pharmaceutical company best known for developing prescription pain medications. While at Purdue, he recognized a need to enhance his academic credentials beyond a bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College, and enrolled in the UNH Executive MBA program. He recalls being impressed with the rigor of the program and the caliber of the faculty, and he enjoyed interacting with the medical practitioners and non-pharmaceutical executives in his classes.

“We had a very good mix of professionals who all had similar business problems and needed to work on solutions,” he says. “While the specific business issues might have been different, often the approach to solutions was similar. Without disclosing confidences, we were able to share experiences, identify what worked and didn’t work in different situations, and conduct sanity checks by bouncing ideas off of each other. For me this was especially true of the interactions with the physicians in the program.” Today, he is vice president for strategic planning and program management and a member of Purdue’s executive management team. He leads a team of more than 100 colleagues, and spends a good deal of effort helping the company manage the complex, multi-disciplinary efforts needed to bring new drugs to market.

His advice to students: “Take advantage of what you can learn that might seem far afield from what you are studying directly. Be willing to work hard not only on your curricula, but also expand your view to things that may not be in your direct line of sight…you never know when knowledge will intersect with opportunity.”

Posted Summer 2010