Cleaning Validation Technologies

Destin A. LeBlanc-Technical Consulting Services

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


  • Why do you include so much useful information on your web site? I thought consultants were supposed to charge for information!
  • Can you explain your master’s degree in communications? Isn’t that a bit unusual for a technical consultant?
  • Why don’t you do cleaning validation for the electronics/semiconductor industry?
  • Any recommendations for someone considering becoming a consultant with a focus on cleaning validation?

  • Why do you include so much useful information on your web site? I thought consultants were supposed to charge for information!
  • Much of the information (other than the Cleaning Memos) is information that you could get elsewhere on the web, albeit with a lot more work. I try to provide information on basic concepts and practices to help you better appreciate what really is involved in a cleaning validation program. I am relying on the fact that at least a certain percentage of you benefiting from this web site will have more complex issues or pressing needs, such that a higher level of expertise is needed. When that happens, I’d like to be considered as a consultant.


  • Can you explain your master’s degree in communications? Isn’t that a bit unusual for a technical consultant?
  • Well, it’s not a simple explanation. When I was in college, I thought I wanted to teach at the university level. Halfway through my undergraduate degree in Chemistry, I decided that, although I liked to teach, I wasn’t sure academic research was for me. My interests began to shift to the academic study of Film – and the production of student film projects. At that time I was what was called a “film freak”. I was accepted into the master’s program at the University of Iowa with a teaching assistantship. My emphasis was actually Film Studies rather than Communications per se (although the Film Department was within the Communications Department). Some people attribute my speaking skills to this degree work. However, it was actually training I received from my father when I worked for him in the early 70’s that developed my speaking skills. I think my success is due to this unusual degree and job experience combination. Searching for knowledge in a non-technical discipline has significantly broadened my perspective on approaches to problem solving and, thereby, provided innovative approaches to helping customers solve even such mundane things as more effective and efficient cleaning.


  • Why don’t you do cleaning validation for the electronics/semiconductor industry?
  • The electronics/semiconductor industry is sufficiently different from the pharmaceutical/medical device industry such that it is difficult (at least for me) to maintain sufficient expertise in both to adequately serve clients. One example of the difference is that cleaning in the medical area is driven by safety and regulatory concerns, while cleaning in the electronics/semiconductor industry is driven by production efficiency. Therefore, my focus will stay with pharmaceutical and medical device cleaning and cleaning validation.


  • Any recommendations for someone considering becoming a consultant with a focus on cleaning validation?  There are several considerations:
    • Get some experience with a variety of companies. There is no one way to perform cleaning validation, and having the experience of different approaches to the same issue can make you more valuable as you have to deal with a new situation (which is what each consulting job involves).
    • Read everything that is out there on cleaning validation, as well as related subjects (such as quality risk management). Yes, a lot of it is repetitive, but you may be able to pick up new variations, or you might be able to pick up pitfalls to watch out for.
    • Publish regularly. I know this can be difficult in a corporate environment, but it gets your name out in print. When you write, don’t follow the traditional guidelines of writing scientific papers in the third person. I’ve benefited (I think) from reading and trying to put into practice an old book, How to write, speak and think more effectively, by Rudolf Flesch (who was not a native English speaker, but who developed many of the formulas for “readability”).
    • In any situation, try to understand the other person's objectives, and what his/her constraints might be. This can certainly help you design a better approach for them.
    • Luck may have something to do with it. When I was considering venturing out as a consultant, I was told by several people that I would have to offer cleaning validation and “something else”, such as process validation; that I probably would not be able to support myself with just cleaning validation consulting. Well, I guess this was told to other people, because I am one of the few people who focuses exclusively (at a relatively high level) on cleaning validation. I’m fortunate that perhaps others were discouraged from doing this, because I have never been at a loss for work.
    • Give something away. My web site is an example of that. Part of my strategy was to give away free stuff so that when people had a paying job, I would be at or near the top of their list. I think it has worked. Finally, do an excellent job in your current position. Don’t just see it as springboard or preparation for being a consultant. This is the right thing to do. And besides, you might find that you enjoy the corporate world after all.
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