ARUP Senior Clinical Product Manager Lisa Skodack Jones, pictured here in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, began her career at ARUP as an Infectious Diseases quality specialist in 1990. Now, she plays an essential role in Business Development.
There’s more to selling reference tests than meets the eye. Behind the scenes at ARUP Laboratories, the Business Development division works with laboratory management to help guide the company’s growth and innovation. Laboratory and business leaders often come from different backgrounds with unique experiences that inform their decisions. These two groups are connected by ARUP’s clinical product managers, who are well-versed in both the medical and business sides of lab management.
One of the first clinical product managers, Lisa Skodack Jones, is well known at ARUP as a reliable mediator between the worlds of business and laboratory science. “She is one of the most knowledgeable people in Infectious Disease,” said Kristen Deem, Marketing Communications Manager, who regularly collaborates with Skodack Jones. “Everyone who works with her knows they can trust her completely.”
Skodack Jones never expected to work in business but is grateful that she landed in her current role. In her decades-long career, Skodack Jones held several leadership positions in clinical and nonclinical laboratory settings. With the trust she gained from her mentors, Skodack Jones spearheaded a completely new department and a new program during her career at ARUP. She stepped out of her comfort zone and brought a wealth of knowledge to each new role she created.
Skodack Jones’ professional journey began on the premed track for her undergraduate degree, but she started to doubt that path after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences. At this turning point, Skodack Jones’ brother, then a medical technologist and supervisor of Hematology at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, inspired her to shift her focus to medical laboratory science and pursue another bachelor’s degree in laboratory science. Later, Skodack Jones pursued a master’s degree in medical technology management at California State University and secured work as a medical technologist at a California reference laboratory.
Skodack Jones found that this new path was a perfect fit. “As luck had it, this was a good choice for me,” she said. “I really did feel a need to serve and help people, but I loved being in the background.”
In 1989, Skodack Jones moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, and soon after brought her talents to ARUP as a quality specialist in Infectious Diseases. Before long, her hard work was rewarded with repeated promotions and leadership positions. As the supervisor of Bacteriology and Virology, she learned even more facets of infectious diseases and management.
In 2001, ARUP approached Skodack Jones with the idea of creating a separate department within Infectious Diseases to process their own specimens, handle exceptions, and manage client interactions. This new department would have the expertise to work with infectious specimens and ease the workload of other Support Services sections, and Skodack Jones would oversee it as the group manager.
Skodack Jones jumped at the opportunity to start this new department, Infectious Diseases Processing, which launched successfully and continues to play a critical role in patient care at ARUP.
“I’ve been very grateful to work for ARUP. They have given me opportunities when I was ready for the next change and didn't hesitate to give me the chance to prove myself,” Skodack Jones said. With ARUP’s ongoing path of innovation and growth, she had the opportunity to flourish professionally and avoid stagnation.
In 2011, Skodack Jones’ husband accepted a job in Texas, which separated her from ARUP. “I was devastated because I absolutely loved being a group manager.” She embraced this opportunity to supervise the STAT lab at Houston Methodist Hospital. Although she initially enjoyed this change of pace, her brief stint working in a hospital lab reaffirmed her passion for esoteric testing. Luckily, less than a year later, life brought Skodack Jones back to Utah.
Skodack Jones sought a new challenge when she returned to ARUP and entered what is now her current position in the Business Development division. With one other colleague, she introduced the clinical product manager role to the company.
Despite her success, she initially struggled with adjusting to the world of business. “That was completely out of my wheelhouse,” Skodack Jones said. “I mean, I can’t even tell you how far out of my wheelhouse that was. With the exception of technical terms, it was all new for me.” Nevertheless, she enjoyed stepping out of her comfort zone, felt inspired by the new challenge, and demonstrated the importance of a technical voice in business.
Ten years later, she still finds satisfaction in her position. In 2012, she moved back to her hometown of Boise, Idaho. ARUP was fortunately able to accommodate a remote work schedule for her as she continued to work as a clinical product manager. By traveling to Salt Lake City once a month to visit the office, she maintained a healthy balance of remote work and face-to-face interaction. She appreciated being able to work from home, something that was not standard before the COVID-19 pandemic.
During her accomplished career, Skodack Jones has been a supportive mentor for many at work and at home. These relationships are nothing short of symbiotic.
“All my mentors have retired, and they’re extraordinary people I’ve been blessed to work with. Now I’m the oldster, right?” she said with a smile. “I watch the people I hired grow and do wonderful stuff for ARUP. I feel so lucky to have been involved in their beginning.”
Her appreciation and mentorship extends to her family, starting with her brother’s advice to join the field of laboratory science. Now, with Skodack Jones’ inspiration, her son is the technical supervisor of chemistry at St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise.
As she approaches retirement, Skodack Jones remains an invaluable asset to ARUP. From her leadership overseeing Infectious Disease labs to her dedication to Business Development, she has supported and maintained the growth of ARUP.