Plant Manager, Stonewall Bio/Pharmaceutical Operations
Raul Diaz-Lugo is plant manager at Merck's Stonewall Bio/Pharmaceutical Operations in Elkton, VA. The facility is a state-of-the-art, multi-platform pharmaceutical manufacturing complex that employs more than 700 individuals. Today, Stonewall supports the manufacturing needs of several of Merck, Sharp & Dohme's top 20 products, and plays a key role in the development and implementation of many emerging technologies, as well as continuous improvement approaches. The site is currently undergoing a significant transformation in its manufacturing capabilities. While traditional bulk API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) and oral dose operations are phasing out, the site is growing in sterile, vaccine, and biological processes.
Diaz-Lugo joined the company in 1992 at Merck’s Puerto Rico Operations, as a Microbiologist in the Quality Organization. He occupied posts in Technical Operations and Production and then returned to Quality, as a release manager, before relocating to West Point, Pennsylvania in 1998 as a Senior Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls Scientist.
His areas of expertise include the manufacture and regulation of sterile pharmaceuticals and the control of biological contamination, in addition to strategic planning, development and execution. Prior to coming to Elkton, VA, Raul was Global Leader, Strategy Development and Realization for the Merck Manufacturing Division (MMD), with responsibilities for the development of strategic plans to advance the manufacturing organization's vision, mission and objectives, promoting revenue profitability and growth. In this role, Diaz-Lugo oversaw company operations to insure quality/compliance, supply, production efficiencies, customer service and the cost-effective management of resources, while enabling comprehensive decision-making and fully supporting the organization through complex transformational change. He also provided long-term stewardship to integration-related value capture, synergies and benefit realization activities throughout MMD.
He has been Senior Director, Iberian Manufacturing Operations, based in Madrid, Spain, and has also held positions in the Office of the President, MMD, in Whitehouse Station, NJ (as Director of Strategic Planning), and as Associate Director of Bacterial Vaccine Operations at Merck’s West Point, PA facility, where he supported the production of Merck’s PedvaxHIB line of vaccines. He is a biochemist with degrees from the University of Puerto Rico, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rutgers University and the University of South Carolina’s School of Pharmacy.
In 2002, Diaz-Lugo was appointed to Merck’s Diversity Worldwide Business Strategy Team (DWBST). As part of the team, he was in charge of researching and developing Merck’s “Business Case for Diversity”, was a member of the Management Committee Communications sub-team and co-leaded the Company’s Mentoring Program. Currently, he is active with the Merck Hispanic Organization and a member of Merck's Global Constituency Groups (GCGs). The task of this group is to better understand the “meaning of diversity” throughout the world and formulate action plans to advance accordingly the state of diversity. He speaks frequently on topics pertaining to diversity and the work of the GCG throughout the Company. He is an Executive member of NSHMBA since 2004.
Díaz-Lugo is also an active speaker on technical topics ranging from water activity and its utilization as part of comprehensive quality assurance plans, and the implication of FDA’s GMPs for the 21st Century Initiative, to how to effectively implement housekeeping and contamination control practices in bulk biological facilities, and the successful preparation and filing of novel pharmaceutical compounds.
Originally from Puerto Rico, he lives in Penn Laird, VA, with his wife and the youngest of three boys, a freshman in high school. His two other (identical twin) sons are freshmen in college, attending Bloomsburg University, and James Madison University, respectively. He enjoys cooking, rocketry and collects Gerry Anderson’s SciFi memorabilia.