Stephanie Nilsen
Senior Director, Manufacturing Operations
Thermo Fisher Scientific

“Manufacturing Operations is the engine room. How successful we are in developing high performing teams of engaged colleagues makes a direct impact on how our customers are served, and how profitable and fast our businesses grow. It is a high energy, fast-paced environment that requires embracing innovation and change.”

As Senior Director of Operations for manufacturing in Carlsbad, California, Stephanie serves as the operations leader for Cell Biology and Antibody and Immunoassay Systems businesses for Thermo Fisher Scientific. Prior to her current role, Stephanie helped transform the company’s Manufacturing Center of Excellence for Lab Equipment in Asheville, North Carolina where she played a crucial role in moving the facility towards compliance with 2020 Regulatory standards—all while managing more than 550 employees. In addition to managing several highly technical manufacturing, engineering and organizational efforts necessary for product launch, she championed the Practical Process Improvement business system and multi-shift manufacturing structure to support the company’s TSX products. Under her leadership, the facility transitioned to produce a new product line while increasing year-over-year gross margin.

In alignment with Thermo Fisher’s efforts to be a leader in sustaining zero waste to a landfill, Stephanie helped the Asheville facility win the 2015 Asheville GreenWorks Environmental Excellence Award. Her “safety first mindset” has also been critical to the site, where she worked meticulously to create a culture of safety. Likewise, her direct coaching and strong development planning have spurred learning opportunities and enhanced organizational leadership. Beyond mentoring several individuals herself, she has been active in mentoring individuals in Thermo Fisher’s Operations Leadership Development program, was a champion of the Asheville chapter of Thermo Fisher’s Women’s Employee Resource Group (ERG), and was executive sponsor of the local African Heritage ERG.

Through her work with the Community Action Council (CAC), local schools, Rotarian for Hunger events and more, Stephanie is committed to giving back to the community. While working with Asheville’s CAC, she developed a specific interest in supporting STEM programs, as well as forming strategic partnerships in the community. As a passionate advocate for the MANNA Food Bank, Stephanie has championed annual food-packing events as well as facilitated donations of manufactured refrigerators and freezers to help the organization store its offerings.  

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