When it comes to manufacturing reagents, Luminex relies on a team of great suppliers to deliver the raw materials needed. People like Judy Schmitt, Buyer III, keep everything on track by managing relationships between customers, Luminex, and suppliers, and ensuring that all components meet our specifications and quality standards. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of North Dakota and her master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Judy has been at Luminex since 2013.
Q: What are your responsibilities at Luminex?
A: My primary job function is to make sure I keep Reagent Bioassay Operations material flowing in so they can stay up and running. This is broken into two parts: 1) procurement, which involves the purchasing of raw materials used in manufacturing, and 2) sourcing, which is a lot of managing complex relationships with the suppliers who provide these key raw materials. I also support R&D groups across the company related to reagent commodities. I make sure we’re partnering with the right suppliers for our business needs and I have daily communications with our suppliers. We also save the company money—without sacrificing the quality of goods and services purchased. I enjoy that my day-to-day never looks the same, as I get to help others solve problems.
Q: How did you get to this role?
A: Before being a buyer, I was a manufacturing chemist in the Reagent Bioassay Operations team. I was asked to consider the buyer role because I’m science-minded, so I can speak the language of our internal customers and communicate their specific needs to our suppliers. This role has allowed me to champion the Luminex brand by using both my technical and interpersonal skills to improve supplier and internal customer relationships.
Q: What did you do before this job?
A: Prior to Luminex, I was a project coordinator at an independent analytical testing laboratory in Jacksonville, Florida. I was part of a team that generated EPA registration data for global pesticide manufacturing clients. My function was to prepare study protocols, manage the conduct of the projects internally, relay test data to clients, and prepare final reports for submission to the EPA.
Q: What drew you to Luminex?
A: I was really interested in Luminex’s molecular diagnostic technologies and thought it would be a good way to put my background in organic chemistry and problem-solving skills to work.
Q: If you weren’t a buyer at Luminex, where would you be?
A: I’ve always been drawn to the healthcare field and helping people in some way. I envision that I would be in a role where I could influence decisions that ultimately impact patient healthcare experience.
Q: If you could solve any clinical or genetic challenge, what would it be?
A: I would choose cystic fibrosis because it holds a special place in my heart. My brother, Ryan, was the first born in our family. He lost the battle to this disease at the age of 4. Unfortunately, I never got to meet him, but the memory of a happy and loving boy is kept alive through my parents and now my sister and I. Now that I am a parent myself, I am even more aware of how devastating it would be to see my child suffer and lose the battle to this disease.
Q: What is something about you that no one at Luminex knows?
A: I live in a big city, but I am really just a farm girl at heart. Originally, I am from a small town in northwestern Minnesota. It is actually farther north than Toronto. It is surrounded by farmland and you can see the northern lights from there. In the summers, my dad and I would compete against each other in tractor pulls using our 1956 Model “50” John Deere tractor. Whoever lost had to buy supper for the winner, and I like to say my dad owed me many suppers. Oh, and I’m from a place where we say supper instead of dinner.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Austin on the weekend?
A: My husband, Charlie, and I have a 16-month-old daughter named Cora. We love taking her to the park and being together as a family. I also enjoy hitting the trails with Sioux, our 75-pound German Shepherd.