Agilent Technologies celebrates 20 years in life sciences

Next year, Agilent Technologies will celebrate its 20th birthday. Spun off in 1999 by computer pioneer Hewlett Packard, Agilent went public that same year. Its IPO was at the time the largest in Silicon Valley history.

Today, Agilent is a leader in life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets with two facilities in Delaware — one at Little Falls and another in Newport — and has about 1,700 employees and contractors.

“Apart from being a beautiful part of the U.S. to live in, Delaware is a strategically attractive location for Agilent, easily able to support customers across the eastern U.S.,” says Melanie Fitzgerald, Agilent sales director for chemistries & supplies, Americas, and operations manager, Delaware sites. “Residing in Delaware also affords the ability to better partner with industry leaders in technology-rich markets, such as pharmaceuticals and diagnostics and clinical research.”

Newport is a manufacturing site, while Little Falls is headquarters for three of Agilent’s global business divisions — gas phase separation, services and support, and chemistries and supplies.

“The Little Falls site also houses a state-of-the art Center of Excellence,” Fitzgerald says, “which provides customers from around the globe exposure to a wide range of our instrumentation products in a showcase laboratory, as well as [allowing] product and application demonstrations.”

Fitzgerald says job recruitment is not much of an issue. “Delaware is ripe with talent, including top graduates from our local universities [and] the many technology, service and health sector companies we cohabit with here,” she says. “Agilent is perceived as an attractive place to work, and we have had great success with recruitment activities.”

Although corporate headquarters are located elsewhere, Agilent is a very committed member of the Delaware business community.

“In 2016, Agilent hosted Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and the state’s secretaries of Labor and Education at the Little Falls site as the governor signed an executive order continuing the expansion of the state’s Pathways to Prosperity initiative,” Fitzgerald says. “Pathways to Prosperity helps Delaware school districts design and offer specialized technical curricula for students, with help from surrounding colleges.”

She adds that instruction prepares students to participate in paid internships at Delaware companies, including Agilent.

Looking ahead, “Our customers have told us that they need help improving their laboratories’ operations, such as speed of analysis and higher sample throughput, as well as insight on workforce training challenges,” Fitzgerald says.

That includes training a less-experienced workforce tasked with operating complex instrumentation and delivering greater data output.

While Agilent has blazed its own trail over the past two decades, some of the parent company’s character remains. “Agilent’s culture and values stem from our HP roots,” Fitzgerald says, “and have shaped us since we split from HP to become Agilent nearly 20 years ago.”

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