Valarie King-Bailey is the CEO of OnShore Technology Group – a Chicago-based company that markets a unique, innovative platform and services designed to accelerate validation and quality processes for life sciences companies. For over 40 years, Valarie has had a remarkable journey in engineering and technology and is recognized as an exceptional leader, who has worked diligently to reach the C-Suite. The following is an insightful look at her remarkable career journey leading to her current role as one of the few black female tech executives leading an INC 5000 company and what the future holds for Valarie and OnShore Technology Group.
Valarie King-Bailey holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Class of 1982. She also pursued and earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Information Systems from the Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago in 1985.
Valarie’s professional journey began in 1981, when she accepted a job right out of college with the United States Steel (USS) Corporation. She was initially assigned as a Management Associate in Environmental Engineering. She was recognized by management as a fast learner and individual contributor and was promoted as Management Associate Design Engineer.
She received her most challenging assignment to design alternate heating systems for over 64 buildings across the plant; in order to decommission several antiquated boilers serving the plant. Valarie developed a computer program designed to automate heat loss calculations and automatically select alternate heating systems for each of the 64 buildings across the plant. She received recognition from the chief engineer for her effort, which saved the company $2 million a day in energy savings.
After 3 years at US Steel, Valarie recognized the potential for a career in high tech so she moved on to Intergraph Corporation, formerly headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama.
Intergraph was the leading Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) company in the world. Valarie was initially hired as a Customer Engineer but quickly progressed through the ranks of Intergraph to become Director of Architecture Engineering and Construction (A/E/C) for the Midwest region. Throughout her 13-year career with Intergraph, Valarie was considered one of the top engineers within the company. Based on meritorious performance, she was selected as one of four Customer Engineers in the United States to travel throughout northern Europe promoting and teaching Intergraph CADD systems to a European audience. She lived in Northern Europe for six months traveling throughout Scandinavia, U.K, France, and Germany. Valarie won numerous awards throughout her career at Intergraph.
Her next opportunity was with Documentum, an Enterprise Document Management vendor based in Pleasanton, California. Valarie was the Director of Industry Development with Documentum. Most noteworthy, she developed their FIRST validation tool kit for their off-the-shelf application. She also wrote the Market Requirements Specification for their first packaged software application. Valarie won Documentum’s Individual Contributor Award for her efforts.
Valarie then moved on to Abbott Laboratories, where she served as Director of Document Management and Quality Systems. Valarie won Abbott Laboratories Chairman’s Award, the highest honor Abbott awards to any employee. Valarie won the chairman’s award for two consecutive years, saving the company $40 million in process efficiencies and regulatory cost avoidance. At Abbott, Valarie led a team of validation engineers. Val and her team validated over 40+ systems for the company.
In 2000, Valarie reached the C-Suite as Chief Marketing Officer for Qumas (pronounced “Q-Mas”) in Cork Ireland. While there, she won the Frost and Sullivan Market Leadership Award and the Irish Software Association Market Innovation Award. Valarie also won the CEO Circle award for developing the marketing strategy that led Qumas to market success within the U.S.
Inspired to do More
While Valarie achieved great success in corporate America, she felt motivated to do more with her career. She wanted to take her career to the next level by developing her own technology company. After successfully serving in progressive positions with three software companies; Valarie founded OnShore Technology Group in 2004 as an Independent Validation and Verification (IV&V) company serving the life sciences industry. Valarie conceived, developed and delivered an innovative software application marketed as ValidationMaster™. She wrote an informal business plan detailing the strategy, market and technology plan for her new venture.
About OnShore Technology Group
OnShore Technology Group presently serves clients within the Life Sciences target market. Typical clients include pharmaceutical, medical device, biotechnology, nutraceutical, cosmetic, vaccine, et al companies. The company’s market position is regarded as the FIRST Lean Enterprise Validation Management and Quality System. The IV&V process is MANDATORY for life sciences companies as well as other highly regulated industries.
Any enterprise software application used in the development and delivery of new drugs, biologics, medical devices, nutraceuticals and other therapies must be VALIDATED using the IV&V process. OnShore markets and sells an application called ValidationMaster™. It is the first Lean Enterprise Validation Management and Quality System on the market.
OnShore is the first company to introduce Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) to the validation process. Its product philosophy capitalizes on the concept of ‘mastery’. OnShore endeavours to not only help life sciences companies navigate the complexities of regulatory compliance vis-à-vis the validation process but to master them with a higher skill set and competency than its competition.
OnShore also has a portfolio of professional service offerings, specializing in computer systems validation. Its most popular professional service offering is ValidationProSM – a turnkey professional services offering that delivers to each client a ready-to-work team to develop and deliver all validation documentation and testing for any software application, equipment, or process. Its ValidationCoachSM professional service delivers on-demand coaching and training. It brings experts to the table with deep competencies in life sciences and validation to help coach them through challenging validation assignments.
True Measures of a Successful Leader
A true leader is one that other people would like to follow.
Valarie measures her effectiveness as a leader by how effective she is at inspiring people to follow her on her journey. She strongly believes that achieving maximum workplace productivity requires a motivated and inspired team willing to follow and contribute to the vision of the leader.
Effective leaders are also good motivators. She also measures her effectiveness as a leader by how many repeat clients and opportunities she has. It is her philosophy that anyone can go out and get new clients, but it takes effective leadership to deliver quality products and services and maintain a satisfied client base.
The most valuable asset of OnShore Technology Group is its employees. As a leader, she treats each employee with respect and courtesy and endeavours each day to make their relationship a win/win situation. True leaders lead by example. She believes in leading with integrity and demonstrates this to her clients and internal colleagues each day.
Valarie has received numerous awards throughout her career. Most recently, Valarie received 2022 the University of Wisconsin – Madison Chancellor’s Entrepreneurial Achievement Award. In 2022, OnShore Technology Group was listed for the 2nd consecutive year on the INC 5000 list. Also in 2022, Valarie was recognized as one of INC’s Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs and ValidationMaster™ was honored as the Best Enterprise Validation Management System.
Dealing Efficiently with Leadership Challenges
The day-to-day challenges of an effective leader are many. In the IV&V industry, change is inevitable. Regulations change. Customer processes change. Macro and micro-economic forces challenge every business. How resilient and adaptive to change is a day-to-day challenge.
“Each day you must organize to ensure that you maximize the time allotted as a leader. An effective leader must focus on the important things but not sweat the small stuff,” states Valarie.
Fiscal responsibility is always at the forefront. A conservative approach to financial management is always top of mind for an effective leader. Providing clear direction to staff members and employees is essential to ensuring that the mission and vision of the company is achieved.
The Mission and Vision of OnShore
OnShore markets itself as the global leader in Lean Validation. Validation is all about effective testing. OnShore’s Mission is to become the “go-to” company for validation and software assurance processes. OnShore’s corporate vision is to pursue excellence in an automated world, where manual validation processes are eliminated and greater efficiencies, software quality, and sustained compliance abound.
OnShore emphasizes MASTERY in the delivery of its products and services, hence the product name – ValidationMaster™. OnShore seeks to hires individuals who are not just practitioners but masters in the field of validation. These are people that go beyond the basic rudiments of validation processes to a higher level of mastery.
Every day, OnShore emphasizes excellence with its team. It’s about being an expert in delivering professional services. Excellence is what makes OnShore stand apart from its competitors.
Ascending to the Peaks in the Upcoming Times
OnShore’s future aspiration is to enhance ValidationMaster™ to make it the platform of choice for current and future markets. At present, the company exclusively serves the life sciences marketplace. It has successfully mastered all of the regulatory and business challenges associated with this market and tailored its products and service offerings to address those needs.
In the future, OnShore will transition to new markets such as Fintech. In each of its future markets, OnShore intends to expand service offerings for clients delivering greater innovation and automation.
From Valarie’s Desk
Today’s world is challenging. We have challenges all around us. We must therefore, lead through change. One thing is clear – CHANGE IS INEVITABLE. One’s ultimate success will be defined by how well you navigate that change and the resilience that your business has to sustain itself through those changes. OnShore has shown resilience in the face of change and over the past 18+ years has built a sustainable, profitable business enterprise.